15 September 2011

Reflections 10 Years After and Counting

On September 11th I was in Chicago at my job as a development book editor. The CEO closed the office early and we all went home to be with our families. I spent the afternoon with my husband witnessing the devastation and feeling my life transform. It was a day of great tragedy as was (and is) it's aftermath.

Looking back, it was on this day that I began to ask myself the question "What difference was I making in the lives of others"? This day propelled me forward on my journey that first led me to be against something but as I spent time with the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh and then the military families who feared for the well-being of their sons and daughters, I realized that it was much better to be FOR something than AGAINST something. So my question then became "What positive difference can I make in the lives of others"?

I believe the Vet Art Project grew out of these events--helping others give voice to their experiences from war and service. Introducing or strengthening artistic languages to connect with and convey buried feelings for self-revelation, to communicate these feelings to other family members so they may know what you experienced whether during service or on the homefront for the spouses and loved ones left behind, and to learn from the experiences of the children and their losses. Sharing these stories with others, to build bridges of communication and community, reconnecting the veteran and civilian populations to help us understand the enormous impact of war and service on us all, this is but one of the many Phoenixes that arose from this tragedy.

I regret the events that started me on this path--my thoughts and prayers are with those who sacrificed so much on that day--and I am grateful for every step thereafter.