Today. Hmm. Yeah.

I don’t know about today. I’m going to the commissioning ceremony this morning aboard the USS New York, the ship made from WTC steel. I’m looking forward to that, but at the same time I anticipate feeling liking an alien there.

This is not at all a judgement of anyone else, but here’s the story I tell of where I’m coming from. I volunteered down at St. Paul’s Chapel during the recovery period. Whenever the word went out that we needed anything for the workers, by the next day the chapel would be filled to the rafters with whatever we needed. For instance, the workers boots kept melting because the fires burned below the wreckage for months. We said we needed boots, and I don’t even know how the word got out, but the next day we were buried in boots. From all over the country. So we were always getting stuff.

One day we got boxes and boxes from Japan. I was working at the chapel that day and going through the deliveries, deciding what would go where. I opened the boxes from Japan and they were filled with tiny, paper origami cranes. I didn’t know what they meant then, but I do now. They are a symbol of peace and also a gift that is meant to grant good luck, health and recovery. They were also made famous by Sadako Sasaki, a little girl who lived near Hiroshima and died as a result of the bombing. She folded paper cranes, trying to save her own life, but she died after making 644.

Inside all the boxes of cranes where cards from the people of Nagasaki to the people of New York, expressing sympathy and hope for our healing and recovery. I started crying. That was my first and only time crying down there. What happened was wrong, and continued action like that must be stopped (in some way) but I don’t have to hold hate and anger in my heart. If the people of Nagasaki could do it, I could do it. Again, not judging anyone who approaches what happened differently. Everyone heals in their own way.

And thank you people of Nagasaki. Your gift made all the difference in the world to me.

But that is why I anticipate feeling l like an alien on that ship today.

Another roof shot. I should have some great pictures later, though.


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

9 thoughts on “Today. Hmm. Yeah.

  1. Stacy, I appreciate you going to the commissioning of the USS York. 9/11 was too horrendous to ever be characterized in words.

    As you know, Texans are saddened and outraged by the Islamic radical who went on the killing spree yesterday at Fort Hood. He was screaming Allahu Akbar as he was gunning to innocent victims.

    And you know that very recently a very young Islamic terrorist was thwarted as he attemped to blow up a skyscraper in downtown Dallas.

    The weird thing about it was that this terrorist had lived for quite some time in Corsicana, Texas. It’s a small community, and the people there really liked this guy. Many knew him intimately. Invited him to dinner at their homes. Enjoyed his company.

    I agree, life is too short to be filled with hate, and yet at the same time we cannot weaken our resolve or delude ourselves. I love dogs, but I’m not going to stick my hand into a pit bull’s mouth.

    Last I heard, dozens of attacks have been thwarted across the country by the FBI and other agencies since 9/11.

    Right now people are amazed, because a murderous psychiatrist was one of the last things on anybody’s radar.

  2. Pit bulls get a bad rap!! I’ve met many sweet, sweet, sweet pit bulls! They can be incredibly loving. If there’s a bad one it’s the owner’s fault not the dog’s.

    I think that psychiatrist was motivated more by being insane than anything else, but I’m just guessing. I’m so glad he wasn’t killed so we might one day know the story behind his actions.

  3. (Actually, I’ve known some sweet pit bulls as well. One almost killed me, but that was by trying to lick me to death.)

  4. History is filled with irony.
    The A bomb exploded over the Urakami part of Nagasaki. This was the area filled with Christians. Not usual Christians. During Tokugawa period, the Shogunate banned Christianity as harshly as that of Rome before they were Christianized. Christians lied that they are Buddhist and hid Mother and Child inside Buddhist alter, taught oratio mouth to mouth.
    When Japan re-opened their ports to the world in the mid 19th century, a catholic priest came on mission to this “new” country and he choose Urakami, Nagasaki to start with. He’s built a church and one day he found a group of people coming into church so alarmed. They approached him quickly and asked “Are you a padre? We are Chirisitan.” That was the day when hiding Christians of Japan so deformed but still held their faith were found.
    A bomb destroyed this Urakami area of Nagasaki. I have no word.
    But people of Nagasaki must have come over deep troubles in their hearts for many many years and I think it was this experience that made them send you cranes.
    People of Hiroshima choose to remember their anger and keep fighting. People of Nagasaki choose to pray. I am glad that a very good part of Christianity was brought to the people of Nagasaki and then it was passed to people of New York. No wonder it made you cry, I think.
    I am sometimes skeptic even to authentic religion but sometimes feel the power of faith.

  5. I’m not religious and I am sometime skeptical too, but for me things like this transcend religion.

  6. Lovely story about the cranes. I didn’t know that one.

    I have faith that this is the purpose of the internet – to spread the word of good people who believe there are other good people and that we outnumber the bad people.

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