“There’s a hole in the world tonight; there’s a cloud of fear and sorrow;

There’s a hole in the world tonight, don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.  

They say that anger is just love disappointed, they say that love is just a state of mind, but all this fighting over who is anointed, oh how can people be so blind?

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There’s a hole in the world tonight; there’s a cloud of fear and sorrow

There’s a hole in the world tonight, don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow...”

The Eagles wrote this song after returning from a successful tour of Russia and Eastern Europe. They started the composition on the evening of September 11, 2001. Their message? Love is the ultimate savior in a world damaged and corrupted by evil and hatred.  It also conveys parents’ dreams and hopes for their children in such a troubled society.

My very first column for The Somers Record,  “What have they done to my city?,” was published September 13, 2012. Because it captures the horror and deep personal feelings of this never-to-be-forgotten tragedy, I have rerun it each year since in memory of our fallen heroes, family, friends and strangers who perished that day and who are still sacrificing their lives years later from 9/11-related illnesses.  

I share a few excerpts from that column:

“On that bright, clear September 11, 2001 morning, I was in our office cafeteria getting coffee when the cafeteria manager came out and said that a plane had hit one of the Towers at the World Trade Center.  

By the time I returned to my desk, my co-workers told me it was the North Tower that was hit and that the South Tower had also been struck.  I then knew that these strikes were not accidents, something terrible and horrific was happening.  

“Who could hate us so much?”         

Little did I know the horror and devastation wasn’t over, that the Pentagon was targeted by these terrorists and that another plane would go down in a quiet field in Shanksville, PA. I did the only thing I could: pray.

Later, our vice president called me into his office and asked that I go to each member of the staff and quietly tell them to pack up and go home.  The stillness and disbelief was palpable.  No one spoke.  We were in shock.

A few weeks later, a dear friend returned to New York from Louisiana where he’d been caring for his terminally ill dad.  His apartment was a block from Union Square which became the unofficial center for public mourning. It was there that my friend sent me a heartbreaking email:

“No matter what anyone has read in the papers or seen on television, it is even harder to fathom in person. My flight back took us directly over the site—flood lights illuminating the billowing smoke coming from a huge black hole in the ground. Then, it really became true. I had tears in my eyes as I thought:

‘What have they done to my City?’”

He continued:

“At Union Square there were literally hundreds and hundreds of candles burning and on every possible surface there were colored papers with pictures of lost people and telephone numbers to call in case you had any information about them.  There seemed to never be less than a thousand people gathering in that park—some speaking, some singing, some just there because they couldn’t bear it alone.  Everyone seemed to know someone whose husband, wife or father, mother or son was murdered in that attack.  I knew the City would never really return to normal—we had truly lost our innocence.”

My son-in-law was a police officer with NYPD—now a detective—and worked traffic and crowd control during the weeks after 9/11.  He wouldn’t speak about or discuss the tragedy.  One evening my husband asked him directly what his thoughts and feelings were.  

‘I will remember the sights, sounds and smells for the rest of my life.’  
Our freedom is precious! We must never forget!