New Year 2014

Starting a new year with new aspirations, new hopes and dreams can be challenging.  Here we are, one and a half months into the year 2014 and already so much has occurred.  We are experiencing severe weather across the nation, even around the world; snowstorms, floods, severe droughts and fires, intermingled with earthquakes and record-breaking negative cold temperatures!  Added in for good measure, something called a tsunami — a Noah sized flood washing out entire cities in Japan!! Will this be the new normal? I certainly hope not.   In addition, hearing the news and current events makes me long for the days of old.

In the year 1967 at the age of nine and ten, my sister and I calculated how old we will be in 1977 and 1987.  Then we calculated how old we will be in 1997.  We will be in our forties!  We could not imagine being that old, nor the year 2000!  How could we say January 1, 2000?  Just didn’t sound right.

With all the dramatic and traumatic changes occurring in the new 21st century, I agree with Stevie Wonder’s song, “I Wish” (I wish those days would come back once more.  I wish those days never had to go.) Stevie wrote this song in the seventies.  Since he is only five years older than me, I gather he was singing of his, or should I say ‘our’ childhood in the sixties.  The lyrics captures the way of life growing up during that time on a personal level.

I am in no way glorifying the 1960s.   What I am emphasizing is the innocence of the time.  In some sense, those were years of constants.  We walked around oblivious of unthinkable and unimaginable harm that may befall us.  No one ever thought of someone walking into an elementary school and shooting all the little children and their teachers; or someone walking into a mall and shooting innocent shoppers; or a person dressed like his hero on a video game shooting up the theatre.  In fact, we felt safe going to these places.

My sense of security quickly vanished when my place of employment was bombed.  In my mind, the first attack on the World Trade Center, the deaths, black smoke and the big crater in the ground, only happened on the news, someplace else, far away.  I was trapped in an elevator between the 53rd and 54th floors in Tower One, praying for God to save us.  Believing this to be the action of one misguided kook, I became fully aware of the level of hatred that exists in the world when an airplane rammed into Tower One on 9/11.  I was sitting at my desk on the 61st floor in Tower One when the first plane slammed into the building.   You can read my account of both events in my memoir, “My Life At The World Trade Center”.

I am keeping the faith for 2014.  I pray for peace, believing within myself that with the help of God, all things are possible. I pray for the return to innocence.  A return to a day children can attend school without getting killed by a deranged person with an automatic machine gun or any gun. A day where toddlers can play without rival gangs shooting across the playground.  I pray to return to the time when people can walk the malls and movie theatres without the fear of becoming victims of a mass shooting.  It may be that my aspirations, hopes and dreams are for a bygone era. Nevertheless, I am holding out hope my prayers will be answered for even this day and time.  As for the weather, well, truthfully, I am just grateful for heat, hot water and electricity; and pray none of those blessings are shut off.

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