New York State of Mind

by Buky Campbell

It happened early on that fateful morning, like a thief in the day. It showed up unannounced, uninvited and certainly unwelcome, like the mother-in-law who shows up and tells you she has come to stay.

No it is worse than that.

It has to be because over 3000 lives were lost that day. Over 3000 people who left their homes that day and told loved ones they would be back, made plans for lunch, made plans for dinner or even just for a walk in the park. In one act, all those lives ceased to be. In three different cities, the devil visited the USA and is staying for a long time. We have read many times in the bible that the devil comes to kill and destroy but I guess we never thought we would see that so graphically illustrated in our lifetime.

What happened on that day? I know some still wish that they would open their eyes and realise that it never happened. This is a wake up call. Hello there, It did happen. I know because I have seen the fire houses that lost men on 911, I have seen the widows who lost husbands and wives, I have seen children who lost mothers and some who lost fathers on that fateful day, mothers and fathers who lost children and brothers and sisters who lost a sibling…

Above all, I have seen ground zero. I have seen the place where those 3000 plus people died and I know that I will never be the same again. I will never take another plane ride without thinking that this may be my last hours on Earth, I will never go into a high-rise building without looking out the window, checking and maybe even ducking if I see a plan anywhere near. I know that I will never ever leave my home again or let my son out of the door without hugging him and telling him all those things he just does not care to hear from me (cause he is such a big boy now).

I felt something else that fateful day. I thanked God for my country, Nigeria. I thanked God that my country is so “Third World” that we have not been able to make an enemy big enough to plan this kind of terror. I thanked God because I could imagine what would happen if this kind of terror visited my country. In the first place, there would be no fire trucks and fire men to rush to the building because we have none. If by chance one fire truck did make its way to the location after about two hours, it will be without water and there will be no hydrant to hook up to for water supply. There would be no police to rush there either because if they receive a call (after the 20th try) about it, the police would request for you (the one in the burning building) to come get them because they have no vehicles available. And the grounding of all planes and immediate start of an investigation, that would never happen because nothing starts until some palms are greased. I thank God that we are “Third World”.

Back to this country I now call home. That fateful day of terror has come and gone but the effect still remains with us and will stay for a long time. Things will change. We will endure endless checks at airports and even on the streets as we go about our daily buisness. There might be war and they may even rebuild the towers that collapsed. All that may happen but I know for a fact that the people who died that fateful day will never come back. They will never get a chance to say and do those things that they may have been saving to do another time. Their families are without one person, some families even two or three. Thier positions at work will be filled by others and they will live only in the memories of those who loved them.

That is the harsh reality and that is why I must say now that you never know how much time you have so make the best use of your time because there may be no tomorrow in your future. Today is all we are sure of and when you wake up in the morning and take that first breath, know that you are lucky because on 911 it could have been any of us.

Forgive me if I rambled a little. I can’t help having New York on my mind.


You may also like

Leave a Comment