LIVING WITH TERRORISM
By Karen Harribine, August 16, 2006
Forwarded by her Dad, YNCS Don Harribine USN (Ret), a frequent contributor of articles to Keeping Apace
Mom & Dad:
I woke up this morning and wrote this. I wanted to share it with you both. It is a bit long but I appreciate your taking the time to read it:
I was born in 1955, the youngest of three girls. Some of my fondest memories are my Mom and Dad’s Parents. Going to my beloved Aunt Josie’s house on Sundays playing with my cousins, and dancing all the time. Nana cooking with her apron on in Aunt Josie’s kitchen. Eating three bowls of spaghetti with milk at my Grandparents house in Rhode Island. Playing with our kitties and my sisters in our back yard in Peabody.
I was happy.
I learned how to drive and got my first car. I worked two jobs because I wanted to and whatever we wanted we had to obtain ourselves.
The 70’s were a great time for being a teenager. I hung out with my two sisters all the time. We would go to the beach and just be teenagers and have fun. We were “Flower Children” that wore bellbottoms and Nehru shirts. I moved into my first apartment when I was 18 with a roommate. I was growing up and becoming independent.
I was happy.
I fell in love and got married in 1984. I experienced the joy and contentment of marriage until it fell apart. It hurt for awhile, but I moved on. I continued to work hard and move forward as my parents taught me to. I started to travel a lot, made many beautiful friends and life was good.
I was happy.
I became a flight attendant in the early 90’s. I was in training for one month to learn my duties. What stood out the most during this time of training was the classroom session on Terrorism. I was fascinated, intrigued and scared. I went on to fly for three years and saw a great deal of this beautiful country and many parts of Europe of which I loved dearly.
I met my second husband and married in 1995. The Lord called my beautiful sister home in 1997. I felt the pain of grief so deeply for the first time in my life. I was in shock and tried to move on in my first home that I bought.
I was sad.
Then came the day that changed my life along with every other American. On September 11, 2001 I was driving in my car and heard on the radio that a plane had hit one of the twin Towers in New York.
As I got to my destination, listening carefully to the radio alone, I felt an emptiness like my sister’s passing away. As the hours and days moved on, I would never be the same again. I look up at every plane now when I hear them. I thank God more each Sunday at church for giving me life and my Parents. Since that day, when I drive in my car, I listen to news radio now. Terrorism is everywhere. They hate us and want to kill us.
I am scared.
I listen to the news with fear. What will they do to us next? Will our leaders be able to keep up with them and keep us safe? My second marriage ended and I felt more fear not having someone in my life.
We try to live our lives through hurricanes, pain, high cost of fuel and still fear the Terrorists are going to make their next move. What color of the day is it today? Orange, red? This is not what I thought my fifties would be like. Sometimes, I wish I was still a child and not able to comprehend the fear.
I am scared.
Last week in England, British police arrested 21 people with a terrorist plot to blow up aircraft flying from the UK to the States. Their intentions were to use liquid explosives hidden in their carry on luggage and blow up the aircraft, randomly killing all aboard and people living their everyday lives on the ground. They were going to just “pick a spot” and kill.
I am having the dreams again. The ones I had for months after 9-11. I wake up and sometimes I cry.
I am scared.
I had another dream last night. I dreamt I was in my home with my Parents, my animals and we were happy. Then in my dream I saw a gigantic fireball outside my window heading towards my house. Someone screamed it was an act of terrorism. My home was burning and just as I thought I was going to see my beloved sister. I woke up. I cried for awhile.
Then I prayed and thanked the Lord it was a dream. I fell back asleep for awhile but the dream lingered on. I woke up, cried some more and prayed some more and thanked the Lord for this day and my Parents still in my life.
I felt the need to write this.
I am petrified.
EPILOGUE: (Received on August 24th)
When Dad asked me if he could forward my words to his mailing list and friends I said “Yes Dad, I'm sure many people will understand.” What I never expected was the tremendous response from all of you that has given me a different perspective of my fears.
This started out as a dream that literally was still lingering in my head when I wrote those words full of fear. I am sure many of you have had them, as a child and as an adult. My initial response was to share it with my parents. Both of them responded immediately and we talked about my dream. When I started to read the emails from all of you, I felt the conversation continuing although you were not my parents, I felt you were. I cannot thank you all enough for sharing your kindness, compassion, patriotism, and the insight you have bestowed on me.
As the fifth anniversary approaches for 9/11, I will read each an every one of your emails over again. This will indeed ease the sorrow. It will also remind me of the beautiful country will live in and how many of you contributed to it! May God Bless each and every one of you.