11 years and a few months ago, in response to a small item in the local newspaper, I made a sign and went down to walk along Moody Street, at Waltham Common, to protest the Desert Storm war. In a freezing December wind, I weathered the car horns, upturned fingers, and curses of passersby, as America became involved in a war which divided our nation. I saw a lot more of the group of 10 or 12 individuals I met that night, and for the first time in my life felt connected to people devoted to thinking globally, and acting locally.
Tonight, 3 days after a suicide attack killed thousands of Americans, and wiped a landmark of our largest city from the map, most of those same individuals were among a crowd of 300 or more holding candles, saying prayers, and singing songs in a show of unity over an event etched into each of our minds. 2 days ago, this night was just an idea, maybe we could attract a crowd of 50 or more, for a simple, somber expression of sorrow, and hope for a world without hate. The internet and a television mention brought people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from the spectrum of religious beliefs to an event that was defined by a spontaneous sharing of feelings. It was a beautiful hour, and makes me feel closer to my community, as we share in our recovery from this shocking wakeup call.
I'd like to believe that this experience was shared by Americans throughout our nation, and hope that in our coping with this disaster, we can come to better understand each other, and to better understand a rapidly shrinking world. Diversity has been a constant in our country, and it makes me proud to know that Americans are together in their embrace of people of all kinds.