Question of the Month

SATURDAY MAILBOX

April 27, 2002

Q:

Now that more than six months have passed since Sept. 11, how has your life changed? Has daily life returned to its normal course or been transformed by the "war on terror"? Or has the meaning of what is "normal" changed?

Terror's toll

On Sept. 11, my husband and I were enjoying a much-deserved vacation on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. As we were heading out to the beach, we passed a group of vacationers who appeared to be watching a CNN news report.

Our curiosity aroused, we wandered over only to discover that many of these people were visibly upset, many to the point of tears. As we turned our gaze to the television, we watched as the second plane tore into the World Trade Center.

We were horrified beyond belief to watch our homeland attacked while we were thousands of miles away on a beautiful, tropical island.

We didn't know it at the time, but our "normal" lives were soon to be transformed.

Exactly three months after the tragedy and two weeks before Christmas, I was downsized from my job of 15 years. It has now been nearly four months and, despite my solid work and education background, I have yet to find work

I was lucky. None of my family members or friends was killed or injured by the attacks. I simply lost my job, along with thousands of my fellow employees.

There will be work for me eventually, but there isn't a day I don't think about how Sept. 11 has affected me and the world. I worry about the possibility of another attack and whether our country can regroup as quickly the next time.

I am very much an optimist and believe that good always triumphs over evil.

But I also know the normal lives Americans enjoyed prior to Sept. 11 have forever changed into something that is yet to be defined.

Denise Hoffman

Baltimore

I was in class when I found out about the Sept. 11 attacks. It was shocking news to hear that our country had just been attacked.

I went home early that day, wondering why someone would do this to us. I watched the news the whole day and cried.

To this day I think about our troops and hope they are OK. But I have also moved on with my life. Sitting around and worrying won't make things better or fix what happened.

Moving on with our lives is OK, as long as we remember where our hearts belong and we don't take our beautiful country for granted.

Jessica Dix

Towson

The writer is a student at Towson University.

Has life changed since Sept. 11? Yes, it has changed forever, and normal will no longer exist.

I awakened Sept. 11 as on other days, wondering how busy work would be and thinking of the kids' activities after school.

I was already at work when the attacks started. My husband was on an airplane heading to Boston, and for quite a while I didn't want to think or breathe. But I am one of the lucky ones. My family was not touched by tragedy.

I grieve daily still for America's loss of life and innocence. And my routine has changed. I get up earlier to see the news. My first thought is: "What is going on in the world?" And I go to bed every night praying for peace, and for the leaders to keep the peace for every nation, every faith and every people. Life is so short. God help us.

Mary Kay Walsh

Mount Airy

I was en route to a business meeting the morning of Sept. 11 when I first heard radio newscasts about the terrorist attacks. Immediately, I drove off the interstate to listen.

I then called my family on my cell phone to tell them I love them. Perhaps many people reading this made similar calls.

Sept. 11's surreal images still linger in our hearts, which now beat differently than they once did.

The Sun asks: "Has life returned to normal since the terrorists attacks?"

No, it has not. For the sake of the men, women and children who died - as well as for the sake of our nation - let us hope it never does.

Normalcy is no longer good enough.

Mel Tansill

Catonsville

Escaping a constant reminder of tragedy

Sept. 11 changed my life drastically.

I have been a professor of Information Systems at Loyola College for 15 years. My role is to help students explore the Information Systems major and encourage them through their studies, to teach rigorous courses and to help with internships and jobs.

Loyola students are wonderful, but my best student didn't come from Loyola.

My brother, Steve Poulos, had been an opera singer for 20 years. He had international success but drove his voice too hard in his desire to be the best.

I saw his intensity and other characteristics as assets for the field I know best. Over protests, I took a computer to his New York apartment, taught him enough to get started, then got out of the way as his drive and remarkable intelligence took over. Later I helped him get an internship in Columbia and then a job.

When the planes hit, it had been five years since I gave my brother his first computer. He had become a vice president at Aon Corp., working on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center.

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