Editor’s Note: The essay below was written in 2001 and appears in the self-published book, Through Our Eyes: A Tapestry of Words and Images in Response to September 11. Printed and distributed in 2002, the book was the result of an independent, volunteer documentary project organized by a journalist and several friends. The author’s bio was written in 2002 and has not been updated.
Desiree L. Busby, 44, is a sweet and caring woman who makes the best caramel apples you’ll ever eat. Desi was born in Massachusetts but has spent most of her life in Frankton, Indiana. She works as a guidance secretary at the local high school and also does bookkeeping for the donut shop she runs with her husband, Garry. The two have been married 26 years and have a son, Ryan, and daughter, Betsy. “We are just your average mid-west, mid-class family,” she writes. Desi enjoys her family, growing flowers, antiquing, scrap booking and counted cross-stitching. She attends the Florida Station Church of God. She has traveled throughout the United States and last summer went to Haiti on a work project. She plans to soon visit Brazil. Desi was working at the high school when she first heard about the attacks. She wrote her essay Sept. 27.
I was at a small school where I work in the Guidance Office when I was told to turn on my television. I turned it on in time to see the second airplane go into the tower. I remember feeling such disbelief!! This is the United States, the strongest country ever. How could this happen to us? How could someone have so much hate for us that they could harm and kill so many innocent people? How could they feel so strongly that they could take their own lives? I know I don’t know a lot of what goes on internally with our government, but we have helped so many people and countries. I don’t know how many hours of television I have watched. I can’t think of other things, my heart hurts so badly for all those people involved and for our country. I have been so fortunate because I don’t know anyone who died, but I still feel such grief and sadness for those who have. How are those who are left functioning? How would I handle losing someone I loved, not having a place of employment, losing my home, and seeing sadness, destruction, confusion every place I looked.
Our son came home from Brazil the day before all this happened. He was at both airports – Dulles and New York. He could very well have been involved had it been a different time. I feel so selfish because I am so thankful that he was home. I couldn’t wait for the weekend when both my college kids would come home and I could have time with them. Time seems so much more precious now.
I try so hard to be positive and I keep searching for what good has come with this tragedy. Certainly the renewed love for our country is a big improvement from our days before. I cannot believe how many flags and ways people are showing their love for where they live here in rural Indiana. There’s one person who has painted a humongous flag in their yard on the grass. They have put a light on it and it looks awesome at night. There also seems to be a new attitude among people. It has made us realize that a lot of things don’t mean much and aren’t worth getting upset about. People seem to be more accepting of other’s differences. Our church numbers have grown as well. I think for a lot of us that is the only answer. God is the only one who can help us now. I have asked him to be with all who are hurting, that they will feel his arms wrapped around them and let them know they are not alone. I also pray that he gives the answers for how to handle the terrorists and what we need to do to protect ourselves. I worry that more will have to die and we have had way too much death now. The numbers are mind-boggling.
I am so impressed with the strength I see from the people who are left. They have amazed me. I pray for all of them each and every day, several times a day.
So what do we do now? I think we have to appreciate each day we have with who we have. There is nothing more precious. We have to be sure we are right with God and rely on him to help those who are hurting so much. Our country will be rebuilt. Maybe we were too lax and thought we were too strong. We will not be the same ever again. None of us. For myself, I will continue watching those in New York and Washington. I will try to become stronger and be more like them. They have been challenged in many ways and had much taken from them, but they are far from being broken.