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.
Marie-Odile Beauparrain is a warm-hearted and inquisitive woman who’s determined to live life to the fullest. The 47-year-old nanny was born in Vourles, France, a small village outside of Lyon where she continues to live today. She and her husband, Andre, have two children: Pierre, 26, and Sophie, 23. Marie-Odile’s interests include the English language, reading, writing e-mails to her friends, traveling and meeting foreigners. Marie-Odile loves London and recently spent a year there working for a family with three children. Beyond her European travels, Marie-Odile pops over to North America from time to time. She has dear friends in Montreal and North Carolina, and her son and his family live in South Carolina. Marie-Odile is Catholic. She was at a friend’s home when terrorists struck America Sept. 11. She wrote the following letter to a friend Sept. 14.
Bien Chere Carla, … Who used to live in France. I thought you would like to know how the French nation is reacting to the attentat (murder)!! Would you?
You can’t know how people here are also in shock and how they feel involved in what happened in New York and Washington. I can also ensure you that all of Europe feels involved and united with the American nation.
Today, throughout Europe, we had three minutes silence at noon.
It is amazing how everyone feels concerned about this tragedy. Everyone stopped in the street, even the cars (sur les Champs Elysées á Paris), in the malls, at work, at school … The children are informed by their teachers about all that happened. This evening, Lorraine came back with her weekly school news. She was able to tell me all about the process of these events and why. She even told me: “Can you imagine Carla or Pierre could have been there!” It’s the first time everyone from children to adults feels so much concern.
It is terrible. I feel so upset. I can’t keep my eyes or ears off the TV, and I feel more and more disturbed. How will these people be able to keep going!! They are scarred for life. We can just keep praying for them. I know other nations have been affected by free murder before, and we don’t talk as much about them. Unfortunately, religion, war and power always exist. Centuries go by, and nothing has changed.
I just wanted to let you know how we feel here.