It is hard to communicate what I am feeling about the terrorist attacks and their aftermath because it still feels like a bad dream. The more details that come out about the "how" and "why" actually serve to further add to my disbelief.
I live blocks away from the White House and can walk to the Capitol. I chose this neighborhood to live close to my school and my job (off-hill advocacy). To think that some individuals see these locations as simply targets and have no regard for the people that live and work in and around these areas is inhuman.
The terrorists did not hit the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. They hit thousands of people, a few of whom I know intimately. They are my family, my friends from schools, and my colleagues. It is hard to believe someone you have never met can kill you so easily.
This morning [Wednesday], as we attempt to get on with our lives, our landscape is changed. On the path of my habitual 10-minute walk to work, there are Hummers, military police, firefighters and ambulances waiting to avert any possible future attack. They are there to protect us, but their presence serves as a reminder that it can happen again.
To the terrorists, we are no longer residents of these cities who live, work and enjoy our lives; we are strategic targets. How insane that someone can strip you of your humanity by virtue of your work address!
Today, I will again attempt to locate family and friends. To my knowledge, all communication has resumed in both D.C. and New York City. Yesterday, I tried to reach all my friends and family but had only marginal success. I made a particular effort to locate my friends in D.C.
Most of the people who live in the federal district are from all over the country and the world who came to work in the nation's capital. Few of them have family here, so close friends have to serve in that capacity. I have accounted for everyone I wanted to reach except for two individuals.
Although, it is the people of D.C. and N.Y.C. who felt the close impact of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, it is all of us who have been affected. For those of us who live in this great nation, a sense of security will be hard to restore, even after we rebuild.
Editor's note: Kris Benjamin, a Washington, D.C., resident, is the daughter of Cheryl Thomas and Elmo Benjamin, both born and raised in the Virgin Islands. She attended the Dober and Sts. Peter and Paul Schools and later took classes at the University of the Virgin Islands; she returns to the territory as often as she can.
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