On the day of the tragedy, I went into a church and tried to pray. Having been raised without religion, I found myself unable to summon the necessary feeling, or at the very least to channel it in that direction.
In the weeks following, I was also moved, uncharacteristically, to carry around the flag. Not a flag, so much as a red, white and blue ribbon a neighbor gave me several nights following during a brief candlelight vigil. I stopped wearing the ribbon when I read of the Arab shopkeepers in the Midwest who were covering their store windows in flags in a desperate attempt to keep xenophobic thugs from attacking their stores.
I run a large corporation’s local branch. The branch is located in lower Manhattan near the site of the disaster, but not so close that it was affected by it or that we could apply for a compensatory loan, though our insurance company, which charges us too much as a rule, called soon after to find out if we had in any way been affected. Having ascertained that we had not, they quickly removed certain provisions from our next policy and jacked up the price. I assume much of this was to be expected, though I have of course never experienced such a tragedy before, nor do I hope to again, ever.
To read more, please download a pdf of this story here.