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.
Katrin Denise Rode is a spunky gal who is always up for a good time. The 25-year-old was born in Reutlingen, Germany, and today lives in Mainz, Germany. Katrin currently studies French and political science and works at a public relations firm in Frankfurt. Her interests include friends, dancing, books, movies, political discussions, music and sports, especially jogging and skiing. She has traveled to Tunisia, France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Denmark. Last year, Katrin and her friend also visited Venezuela, which she hails as a beautiful country filled with kind people. When terrorists struck America Sept. 11, Katrin was at work. She wrote her essay Dec. 30.
I was working at the agency in Frankfurt on Sept. 11. When we learned what had happened, we stopped our work, all went in front of the TV and could not believe the horrible pictures we saw.
You know, I think for us in Europe, the USA is quite far away, but when I saw this, it was so close to me. I saw the people there just one minute ago thinking their world was as secure as mine. And I felt, how easily my small world can be destroyed.
I think we never pay attention to the ordinary things. Everything is normal for us when perhaps it shouldn’t be! I felt with all the Americans, there is nothing more cruel and horrible than losing someone you love. Only one question remains: Why?
After my dad’s death – one year ago now – I always told my mum not to ask this question. But there are some things in life you will never understand, and so you have to ask. But what are you doing? I think it shows there are a lot of people that care about those small things I’m talking about, and they do “small” things that are so big: showing that there are people all around the world who have the same feelings and that one is not alone with one’s questions in general!! This gives a lot of power! Thank you!
I know, it’s a little late writing this, but at this special time of the year, those questions become stronger for me. And I absolutely wanted to tell you about how I might know how people feel when they lose someone.