A letter from Charlie on the events of September 11, 2001

18 september, 2001

I know you have all been upset and concerned by recent events here and have asked me for my thoughts. The truth is that for the last 96 hours my thoughts have been too scattered and contradictory to make any sense to myself, let alone anyone else. Feelings of rage, confusion, fear and profound sadness have swirled with horror and despair in constant flux. The horror and grief at what these people went through, the alive and the dead, is, at times, literally too much to bear. One's brain resists this flood that threatens to overwhelm it and protects one's sanity by letting it in in little dribs and drabs. This evening I coached my daughter's soccer team practice and for the first time I actually forgot for a few minutes. Driving home the image of that plane suddenly played uninvited in my head. For a split second I casually tried to remember which movie or TV show I had been watching. Then the truth brutally reasserted itself and my grief was back like a black toad sitting on my soul. To any of you reading this who might have lost someone you know, I can only say that my thoughts and prayers are with you while my soul screams for your pain.

After the mourning, after the grief, after the shock we will continue to live and work and play and laugh and cry as we always have because we are human and we are built to survive. We will never forget and we will never be quite the same again, but we are resilient and tenacious, and it is what we do. What comes after is a lot more difficult to decide.

Of course, at the moment, the rhetoric is all about War and retribution. I feel, along with every civilized being on the planet, that such a crime cannot go unpunished. But exactly whom do we declare war against? It seems the country that has been harboring these criminals most recently was the USA. They were eating in restaurants, drinking in bars (yes, apparently one of them had developed a taste for Stoli and orange!) and living in our houses and hotels. We were even, albeit inadvertently, training them for their mission in our flying schools! Most of them appear to have been Saudi, but there are others connected with these cells that are from Algeria, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc. etc.

So, do we declare war against their religion, which seems to be the source of their passion? As we know, there are millions of Moslems in this country as patriotic and dedicated to the USA as any one of us, so clearly that wont work. We need to take a moment to regain our senses before we declare war on anyone. It is becoming abundantly clear that there has existed for some time an elaborate, complex, and global network of Islamic Fundamentalist believers who see the world as locked in a titanic struggle between Good and Evil. (It's somewhat ironic, but very important, to note that in their scenario we are the Great Satan, the force for Evil, and they represent the Good! ÉMoral absolutes get us into a whole mess o' trouble.) You see, the real difference between a Fundamentalist and you and me (and I mean ANY Fundamentalist) is that he dictates a fascistic way of life: a way of life strictly dictated by religious doctrine, without any room for freedom of thought or action. Much like the Christian Fundamentalist, the Islamic Fundamentalist believes in a total adherence to God's Law: no sin, no choice. They see our open, free society as a threat to God's Kingdom, much like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. They see us as corrupting and corrupted and want to stamp us out. If you had read the Washington Post's reporting on a recent 700 Club meeting, you will have seen that this is precisely the view taken by Falwell and Robertson, who clearly have more in common with Bin Laden than they could have imagined! THEY, these Fundamentalist warriors, (I'm talking about the Islamic ones now!) are our enemy. I do not believe it useful to see them as either "Evil", lunatic, ignorant or desperate. They are simply The Enemy. They are dedicated to opposing and eventually destroying our Gods, our societies and our way of life, all of which they see as decadent and repugnant. This is nothing less than a struggle between two opposing civilizations.

I'm not sure if it is useful to see them as terrorists either. Spreading fear in the enemy is a well-established tactic of war. Everyone knows that the people who really dictate whether a country has the stomach for war are not the soldiers, but the civilians. Let's not be disingenuous about this: think, Cambodia, Dresden, London, Coventry, Hiroshima. We have also participated in our share of "terrorist" activities against the people of Nicaragua, Chile, Cuba and so on. Hello, we even trained, supported and encouraged Osama Bin Laden himself to be a terrorist!! Don't get me wrong. This is why these are tough questions demanding tough honest answers. I condemn outright what these people did and I want them to suffer a hundredfold for every life they took or ruined, I just want us to calm the rhetoric and take a good, clear look at what and who we are up against, before we rush in to bomb some third world country and thereby escalate the violence into a cycle that could, literally, bury the planet.

As I have said, this is a fight between two civilizations. The one, wrapped up in a fundamentalist view of religion that would turn the clock back hundreds of years to a time when education was in the hands of the few and free thought was limited by the "spiritual elders." The other, a civilization that celebrates the human spirit and it's pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Of course our way is not perfect. Our Founding Fathers fashioned a Politic so powerful and enlightened that we are still struggling to live up to it's meaning. We celebrate diversity and the freedom to chose how we wish to live but that is a heady freedom and with it come responsibilities. When we fail in those responsibilities we have abuses like decadence, greed, selfishness and discrimination. When we rise to the Olympian heights that they inspire, you get the kind of heroism, selflessness, sacrifice and Humanity you have seen over the last few days in the rubble of New York and Washington. That is the contradiction of America and the contradiction of being human and it is a contradiction that we are proud to struggle with on a daily basis. We do not need anyone to tell us how to live or dictate our religion or decry our lack of zeal.

One final thought. A lot of what I have been talking about seems to come round eventually to one word, and I want to be clear about it's meaning. RELIGION comes from the Latin: religo, religere which means "to tie back." Religion is the means we use to tie us back to that state of grace and innocence that existed before The Fall. Some place The Fall at the garden of Eden, others at the moment we became self-conscious as a species and thereby "separated out" from our natural environment. Whichever you choose the meaning is the same. Through religion we are trying to re-connect with our "oneness", our Godliness, our sense of belonging to replace the profound loneliness of the human condition. I should like to propose that in this time of fracture and uncertainty, we practice a second religion alongside our own chosen spiritual path. That would be the Religion of America. The promise that is this great Nation, indivisible, connected, equal for all, fair and just . If we can re-dedicate ourselves to our Oath of Allegiance and treat each other as brother and sister as we promise to do. If we can celebrate the diversity that is America as enriching us and making us stronger, if we can hold as examples the selflessness and sacrifice of the last weeks, then I believe we will find ourselves as individuals and as a country in a way that we could hardly dare dream of. God Bless America!

Charlie

* a note from the webmaster. . .

Charlie and I have had many discussions over the last few days and in addition to what he has said, I had written to him about some of my other thoughts. He asked me to include them on the website, so I am. It is in our nature and best interest to move forward out of our grief, however I fear that we will all too soon, no longer remember what this made us feel like, that we will forget the tremendous impact of this heinous act, go back to our old ways and stop doing the things that we need to for good to prevail, united. I don't know what the answer is for our country, but I believe that we must practice our lives implicitly with unquestioning compassion and humanity toward each other. We need to be passionate, but not impulsive. We need to think with our minds and our hearts and not race to judgement. We need to be good to one another.

Didn't someone say that the only way that evil can triumph is if good people do nothing? So we, as good people, have to do what we each do best, and continue to do it without complacency. We would all be in New York helping, if we could be, but we can't. It would be impractical, so we give of our hearts, our money, and our encouragement but most importantly, to me, we have to change ourselves before we can change the world. Entertainers will continue to entertain, but more mindful of what they put out there for the world to see. We have to find the balance between caution and living our lives with compassion and heart. We have to learn to not judge others without fact, not to judge on emotion, not to act out of impulse, but to change the way we treat each other and live focused with purpose and meaning, instead of contented self-satisfaction.

We need to practice kindness from the deepest part of our being, loving ourselves, and not at the sacrifice of how we treat others, yet still being on guard and cautious. We need to feel the power of our spirit in unity, and not dissention. This was not just an act against America, but an act against humanity. Our country moves forward with a heavy heart. Through our tears and our sorrow, we are so staggeringly heartbroken that at times it is almost too much to bear. We need to hold each other close in our hearts with a united courage against evil. We need to give each other strength, wipe away each other's tears and live with the faith that love will conquer hate. Good will triumph over evil. We need to be kind to one another. We need to go forward with the blessing to each other of peace and love and kindness from within each of us, to each of us. All the time. Not just now in the wake of this terrible tragedy.

We need to believe that the sun will continue to shine. I hope that we will all be blessed with the strength of faith, love, hope, kindness, courage and unity. And that God will bless us and keep us all and grant us peace. . . .

a.j.

How to help

A lot of people have asked, "What can I do?" Here are some ways to help.

Give blood:

The Red Cross or call 800-GIVE-LIFE
America's Blood Centers or call 800-BLOOD-88
New Yorkers can also make blood donations at St. Clare's Hospital and Health Center (153 W. 11th St., Manhattan) or at Citibank (310 E. 67th St., Manhattan)
INOVA (for DC area residents)

Donate to help victims:

The Red Cross: 800-HELP-NOW
Catholic Charities USA
National Organization for Victims Assistance
Salvation Army: 800-SAL-ARMY
The September 11th Fund or call 212-251-4035
Feed the Children: donate supplies and funds.
AOL has joined together with five other leading Internet companies -- Microsoft, Cisco, Yahoo!, eBay, and Amazon.com -- to create the American Liberty Partnership. In a Rose Garden event on Tuesday, President Bush announced the partnership and launched a web resource called libertyunites.org to connect people who want to help with the relief organizations that need it the most. The web site also has a special How Kids can Help section that offers ideas and tools for younger Americans to get involved.

Thanks to all of you who shared your thoughts. You can read them here.

Greetings to you and your guests. Love what you’ve done with your site. As an educator I can say you have great communication skills.
Cynthia
San Diego, Ca US - Wednesday, July 10, 2002 at 00:55:28 (PDT)
Dear mR.Shaughnessy,I have just found your Website and your thoughts on Sept 11th.I agree with you. My grand father once said "religion is poison for mankind" and I think if it used in a fundamental way he was right.How many wars in the past were fought in the name of God. On Sept11th I was watching TV. waiting for Wall Street to open (approx15.30 in Germany) when suddenly pictures of the WTC towers on fire were shown.Thes peictures still haunt me , as just at that time my son was about to visit a company there, but thank the Lord to this day he missed the Underground train and was saved.Trauma remains with me as I had already lost a son aged 16 by suicide ( what a coincidence) Now as I reflect8 months later and "Ground Zero is just about cleaned up,the pain and suffering is still going on, except that it now is in Afghanistan and in other parts of the world such as the Isreal and Palestine conflict.I must at this stage critisise your President how he treats his Allies, the British, Aussies and germans etc. His policy of "we`re the best" is bringing in a lot of critic in Europe.He never mentions for instance the Aussies who have a very special troop there and who have lost youn g men in Duty( I«m an Aussie living in Berlin).I thinkhe should think about this an realise that the US despite all it`s Democracy etc. is not infallible.He is just lucky to be President of a nation in which patriotismis so profound:I think that needs praise, but to some outsidersit gives the impression of a religion.Unfortunetaly Mr.Bush has come upon a lot of hostillity in the way he is fighting terrorism and this coming week he is visiting Berlin where I live. We are living in fear here because of demostrations which have been announced but most of all we faer a terror attack.All Jewish and US facillities are like fortresses and no amount of security personel can guarantee 100% safety.I am wrting this all to make the follolwing point,that not only The US has suffered from the Sept 11th attack but the whole World..I think this gives "food for a thought" as a saying says. I myself am too far in life and also too worn out to alter things, but you with your voice could.I have wondered if you have had any problems with your carreer for beeing so open in your thoughts.I know Hollywood can be difficult if someome swims against the current. I believe you and your partner are of different religions , how do you arrange yourself? Both Religions can be rather orthodox. Iwas born a jew baptised a Catholic ,educated at boarding school in Australia after spending my early years in Hitlers Gemany.I survived because there were good people around.So my hope is that there is still some goodness somewhere around, and that my son who is grown up and your little girl will have some peace in the future. I wish you all the best and I think it is marvellous that you keep in touch with "normal" people and although one only hears from you through the autmatic return messaage, it speaks for you and your fine schoolingand British courtesy. and courtesy doesn`t cost anything even in times where everything is meassured by what one has. Regards and Bless you Liane Walta

Berlin, Germany - Monday, May 20, 2002 at 09:26:01 (PDT)
I know I'm a little late with this, but I just found the website and I was reading the letter that Charlie wrote and all the other comments about the diaster that happened on September 11th. I would just like to share a short poem that my younger sister and I wrote. It's entitled Freedom. Here it is: September 11th, 2001, Is a day we will remember for years to come. It started out to be a normal day. We went about things in our normal way. Around mid-morning a cry came aloud, The Twin Towers were tumbling down to the ground. You could see the fear in each eye. As we looked at their faces, they began to cry. There aren't any words to say, But we all feel the same way. We remember those who have passed, With our vote that has been cast. Our colors are RED, WHITE and BLUE, Show them together because they are so true. Freedom is our word! Say it loud and clear so it can be heard. For those families that were torn apart, They will be in our mind and in our heart. I hope you like my poem. Thanks for reading it. Keep everyone in your prayers and help pray for Peace.
Ambie
PA USA - Friday, March 01, 2002 at 21:11:33 (PST)
Dear Charlie, I was very moved by your letter, and not a little surprised that someone in the entertainment industry could speak so openly about this very emotional topic, considering how such statements might affect their professional image. Bravo! I agree with you in all points save one: the last thing this world needs is another religion. My understanding of your suggestion isn't so much a new way to worship, but rather a revived sense of love and respect for the wonderful nation that God has so generously provided for us. Today is February 28 and I regret that much of the emotion that held us together during the end of last year has waned considerably. Perhaps the reason lies in our leadership, but more likely it is simply our selfish nature that causes us to forget. A relative of mine expressed this sentiment in a profound way over the near death of my mother: Why is it we only get together over tragedy? God bless you for your bravery and candidness. You are refreshing. Tracy, CA USA - Thursday, February 28, 2002 at 18:23:36 (PST)
"Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy." The Eagles. My favorite quote.
Catherine Lake
Los Angeles, CA USA - Wednesday, February 20, 2002 at 05:08:01 (PST)
As we start a New Year we should all stand to thank those who are serving in the armed forces. As I spent the day with my family, I thought of you all, so far away from home, from your parents and your families. Thank you & God Bless you for your efforts to defend our country and our freedom!!
D
USA - Monday, January 07, 2002 at 22:42:29 (PST)
Here it is Christmas Eve, and almost 4 months have span since the attacks on America. Much of the rubble has been cleared and our loved ones have been recovered but I find that my own personal grief over this tragedy has not lessoned. I had never seen nor experienced such horror in my lifetime and the 'safe America' I have called home looks differently to me now. I watch the news, I listen to the planes fly overhead and as I kiss my daughter goodnight I pray that we will all be safe once again, and begin to heal. Which leads me to my final thought each day.....HOW do we heal our torn hearts and our fractured sense of security? We get up and go to work each day, we still bake cookies, and celebrate holidays, and laugh at jokes.....and we talk about war....and we wonder if our mail is safe to open....or if we can safely fly on a plane to see our loved ones. :::sigh::: I am deeply saddened. God Bless America. ~Sierra
Sierra
USA - Monday, December 24, 2001 at 05:39:11 (PST)
Dear Charly, the day the attacks occured I was simply shocked, and even today I still canât really believe what happened. Itâs unbelievable and terrifying that such a huge terrorist attack was so łeasyă to fulfill, and itâs even more unbelievable that people are capable of giving their lives away to kill thousands of other people, in the name of religion! Since these attacks, I -like many other people, I guess- thought a lot about this situation. Reading your letter, I felt to have to write down my thoughts here too. I remembered the Midieval Age with the Crusades, I remembered the situation in Israel today: Often religion is misused for political goals. And this became important to me: Itâs always wrong to mix politics with religion. It was wrong that a roman Cesar forced his people to be christians, and it is wrong that in some countries today you have no other choice than being a moslem because itâs a łstate religionă. As a government, you can force people living in your country to follow laws in order to ensure a functioning łTogetheră. But God (the God of the Bible) gave human beings their own will, they can decide on their own whether theyâll follow him or not. This fact of free choice of religion is contained in the constitution of Germany, and as far as I know in the constitution of the United States, too. Nonetheless, people often try to make a law that their Faith has to be the Faith of everyone. For a better understanding of my opinion: I am a christian, and I do think that Jesus is the only way to God (Joh. 14, 6), other Faith directions are only religions. Religions are, in my opinion, łtry to come to God/Allah/Buddah... with your own human poweră, you have to do something for your sake. But you canât be victoriuos. Only Jesus can bring you to the Father. Iâd tell everyone he should turn to Jesus, but the difference is, I wonât force anyone to do so, in no way. They will be lost in eternity, but they have to decide themselves. So far my opinion. As far as I know, the Koran only talks of the łHoly Wară in connection with łcleaningă your soul, fighting to free it from bad influences. Thereâs nothing said of killing other people (not to say youâll be in paradise for that!), even more itâs -generally- forbidden. In my opinion, there are some charismatic leaders talking of war in the name of religion, theyâre supported by some governments because their political goals sometimes match with these of the leaders. And as we saw, you donât need more than a few men to turn the whole world upside down, like it happened on Sept. 11th. And in the future, there will sure be more terrorist actions. The last thing I wish is to be in the position of Pres. Bush. To decide how to deal with this situation and whom to pursue and to punish and with what means is very, very hard and difficult. Iâll pray for him and for everyone who lost friends or related people or was harmed in any way in these attacks, this all is so unnecessary. But in one point, Charly, Iâd like to contradict you. We shouldnât call for a second religion called America. Donât get me wrong, actually, I love America and what it stands for. This what America stands for is probably the reason why the terrorists chose America as a target, their intention was more than attacking America. It was an act against the łcivilizedă world. They donât think in nations, and we should stop thinking only in nations. The Preamble of the U.S.-Constitution says łWe..., in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ...ă. Letâs do this worldwide, every person supporting AmericaÎs ideas founded in itâs constitution in any way should be included. No question, attacks against humanity have to be fought against, but letâs try not to make on our part a łHoly Wară out of this situation. To understand some actions, it is necessary to understand the religious background (especially focusing the Israel/Palastina-Conflict, which isnât unimportant for the current situation) and probably try to work on reducing problems occuring because of different religions, but as you said Charly, it shouldnât be a war between religions. But as long as religion ist mixed with politics in any part of the world, things wonât change much worldwide. God bless you all!
Felicitas landree
Germany - Thursday, November 08, 2001 at 01:42:24 (PST)
To Debbie and all the brave men and women who fight for our country: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends John 15:13 My thoughts and prayers are with you!
Carmen
Ky - Monday, October 29, 2001 at 12:21:56 (PST)
Dear Debbie, Thank you for all the nice notes you have written to me in the past and thank you on behalf of all of us for doing what you do. We are all proud and grateful that, in times like these, you and your brothers and sisters-in-arms step up to the plate so unhesitatingly to keep America safe and strong. Wherever this takes you, you can rest assured that the hearts and prayers of millions of Americans are with you and support you night and day. Good luck and come home safely. Best Wishes, Charlie

- Saturday, October 27, 2001 at 17:44:09 (PDT)
Mr. Shaughnessy, I serve this country in the USAF and I would like to thank everyone in the US for helping us by praying for our loved ones overseas and those of us serving stateside. It means a lot to us to know that the people and the country we are sworn to protect is on our side and in their prayers. Thank you all and God Bless America. DEBBIE--Proudly serving the United States
Debbie
MHAFB, ID USA - Wednesday, October 24, 2001 at 17:02:49 (PDT)
Dear Mr. Shaughnessy, I was driving car pool with my youngest son when I heard about the attack on the WTC. When I got to work, I am a teacher, I took my students, who are 10th and 11th graders inside to watch the events unfold. They watched with such concern on their faces, asking me if America was going to war and whether or not they were going to be drafted. I knew that for the first time in their young lives they were facing the same fears that so many generations before them had faced. I later went home that day and hugged my 15 year old son, he asked "Mom what was that for." I told him that I knew that I just need to love him a lot more. I think we need to all hold on to each other and especially our children. So many people now have lost so much. How blessed we are. We should not take anything or anyone for granted. God Bless America
Spring Daniel
New Orleans, La USA - Thursday, October 11, 2001 at 18:59:59 (PDT)
Dear Mr. Shaughnessy, on Tuesday the 11. September I was in a plane from the Continental Airlines on the way from DŸsseldorf to New York. After 6 hours we landet. The captain declared us, that we are in Stephenville in Newfoundland, because there were terror attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We had not get more informations. Than we must wait into the plane for 14 hours, without eat and drink. The only activity was looking videos. (The highlight was "The Nanny" - "Sunday In The Park With Fran.") When we could leave the plane, the Canadian Red Cross supplyed us with eat and drink. Then we went to Corner Brook. I«ve got a room with two american women in the Holiday Inn. Here we saw the horrible pictures on TV. Because the airports in New York was closed for a long time, we stay in Newfoundland for three days. In the night from the 14. to the 15. September we went to New York. On Saturday I visited Manhattan. At all the buildings were hoisted the American Flags. Many pictures of the missing people with flowers and candles are all over the parks. Many people are crying. At a fire brigade I saw the pictures from the victims unter the firemen. It was very hard to see this sorrow. On Sunday I went back with the Continental Airlines from Newark to DŸsseldorf. I will never forget this pictures. (Excuse for my bad English) Best wishes from Anne
Anne
- Sunday, October 07, 2001 at 20:48:47 (PDT)
Hello Charlie, It's hard to start this e-mail saying something new about the events of the 11-Sept. I've tried, but everytime I managed to write a paragraph I found myself repeating the same things people from all over the world were saying or thinking, no matter the country, religion or culture they were living in. And then I realized that maybe I was going the wrong way and instead of lamenting we should ask ourselves why in a civilized world things like that could happen...Well, I'm still finding answers. I'm writing from Barcelona, Catalonia, and sadly we've lived a lot of dramatic experiences with terrorism involved. We are a small nation inside Spain and along with the Basque Country we want our freedom from what we consider a foreigner government. We are 2 sides of the same coin: we (Catalonia) renounced the armed fight and chose the political and constitutional way to achieve our objectives.But in the Basque Country some people lost their faith and trust in words and went for the easiest way: arms. But not always the right choice is the easiest one, and that's why in Spain and in Catalonia too, of course,we're suffering the ideological and political terrorism of ETA. No matter whether it's political or religious, terrorism is ALWAYS the wrong choice. Paradoxically, that 11th of September in Catalonia we were celebrating our National Day. In spite of what should be the most reasonable thing to do, we don't celebrate a victory or memorable event, but a defeat. Yes, we celebrate that we lost a battle, but the day after all Catalan people got up, went back to work and started to rebuild our great nation. The Catalan pride is what we celebrate. So when I turned the TV on and saw those moving images that stroke the world of the firemen of NY working restless in the 0-zone the day right after the tragedy to find survivors I couldn't help thinking that, from now on, at least for me, America and Catalonia would be sharing their fate in a way and as it once meant for us, a 11th of September would always be recalled by the American people as the first day of the rest of their lives.Just a few hours ago I was watching CNN live. It has finally happened, we were all wondering when but America strikes back. A time of uncertainty lays ahead, and all civilized nations must be together now.I won't fool anyone. I'm not a great US supporter. I disagree with most of US national and foreign policy, and part of the hostility America feels from the world is most due to these two factors. But NOTHING can justify the actions that took place that 11 Sept. and suddenly, those differences looked tremendously insignificant compared to the magnitude of the tragedy and, today, I'm proud to say that "Ich bin ein American!!"(using the words that precisely a great American once said.)We will win, that's for sure! Love, Eli
Eli
Barcelona, Catalonia - Sunday, October 07, 2001 at 20:47:21 (PDT)
Lots of love, and thoughts of everyone in your country. Please remember that practically the entire world is supporting you.
Jessica
Sweden - Friday, September 28, 2001 at 06:52:43 (PDT)
Dear Charlie thank you so much for sharing your feelings with us about this horrible Terrorattack. Like so many I am mourning with all the people who have lost their Lifes or a loved one in this, but I am not mourning with the USA because I think the State deserved a lesson. Since Years the USA attacks and dictates other countries how to live, work and anything else. Who was mourning for the innocent people who worked in this chemicalfabrik who was destroyed by the USA ( untill today the USA has no evidence of chemical weapons beeing made there). Whos is now mourning for all the foreign people who died in the WTC? All we hear are the USA over and over again, it is all what counts, but also almost every country in this world has lost someone in this WTC. The USA interferes with everything that is not their business, in every country and every little Fight they have to give ihren Senf dazu. Without beeing asked and with the absurd excuse of selfdefence they attack and destroy other peoples Life and in countries who are not able to rebuilt or defence themselfes. And you never hear anything about them in the News or anybody mourning them. A little example: The USA tried to dictate Switzerland how big the hole of our Cheese has to be, sorry but this is more than ridiculous this is crazy. Since the last election I know many people who don«t take the USA serious anymore, this was more than a shame. Another Thing is Bush not taking any respect for the Natur and Polution Control because of Industry, but at the same time we (and I mean all rich countries) dictate poorer ones to take care of their Natureresorts so we can enjoy them. I think the USA has very much to reflect up on and maybe take themselves on their own noses, clean for once before their own doors and think more about modesty. They are not the only living Creatures on this Planet and maybe it is the time to realise this. May God bless us all!!! vreni
Verena Jauch vreni <vrenijauch@freesurf.ch>
Muttenz, Basel, BL Switzerland - Sunday, September 23, 2001 at 00:56:56 (PDT)
Dear Charlie, It was wonderful reading your letter. My husband Louis works a few blocks from the WTC. He left the office at 9:45 am, as he was walking toward the Williamsburg Bridge to walk home, he looked behind him and saw the Tower collapse. He'll never forget it. Took him about five hours to get home. Only to return to work at another location and worked through the night. He works for Verizon (Telephone Company). He's now at his usual location and working almost around the clock. And happy to do it. He says it's the least he can do. So many people still do not have telephone service. I used to work across the Street from the WTC and remember when they broke ground. I watched them grow and loved how beautiful they looked. Our hearts and prayers go out to every victim and their families. We love NY and we love America. May God keep us all safe.
Diana and Louis
New York City, - Saturday, September 22, 2001 at 06:33:09 (PDT)
How can anybody be so heartless? Islam means Peace, so if they were muslims they did not loved Allah, beacuse they did«nt follow the Koran(their Bibel). In my School we were quiet in 3 minutes beacuse of the terrorist attack. If my english are bad then let me explain, I«m only 14 years old and my english goes bad when I«m upset. I love playing on the Piano at home, I wrote a wordless song to people in USA. Unfortelly they will never, ever hear the song. I«m not a very faumus girl, but my dream is to play piano together with Robert Wells(swedish piano player, have the consert "Raphsody In Rock"). Sometimes I would like to move to the moon, there is no terroist over there... Love Sandra

Gothenburgh, Sweden - Friday, September 21, 2001 at 11:15:12 (PDT)
I«m still shocked. But the only thing I can say is, "You can«t remove fire with fire", that means that you can«t make peace with war. A third World War would be wrong. Just a note: 12th September it were a earthshake somewear in India, over 1000 died. Did anyone care? Well, no one wrote about it...
Sandra
Gothenburgh, Sweden - Friday, September 21, 2001 at 10:57:22 (PDT)
Dear Charles,
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and feelings on the attack with all of us. I have always respected you, and your willingness to go public with your thoughts has only added to this respect.
Im still numb from it all and probably will be for a long time to come, a part of me died on that terrible day, and as much as I know that I will have to continue, I have to go on living, I also know that I will never, ever forget this terrible day in history. I will carry the pain with me always.
Yesterday, in an attempt to come to grips with the emotional chaos I experience, I sat down and tried to put my feelings into words. I wanted to forward it to you. Whether you decide to put it on the website or not is entirely up to you. It is copied into the message below.
All my prayers for you, your family and the rest of America.
Respectfully,
Pia

Coming to grips with the tragedy of September 11th 2001

So many souls lost, so many dreams shattered, in an instant.

America is crying, and the world is mourning with her silent screams, and a

Yearning for the world we used to know.

Aching. Devastation. Sorrow. No words - nothing to say. All there is left now are

Prayers for solace. Prayers for the lives lost and for the ones forever altered; prayers for the world.

Respect for the values of democracy and freedom is essential and must never be compromised.

Anger. Rage. Helplessness, feelings of utter powerlessness. How will we go on, how can we? And

Yet, we know we have to, and that, in time, we will. We will never forget, never, but we will go on.

Every day in the coming weeks, months, years, we will take a step out of the darkness into the light.

Roses will bloom again, the sun will shine again, we will love and laugh, we will live again.

Forgive? No, not ever. But we must act with consideration of consequence, must remember that

Only God has the power to judge; we must put our reverence of humanity ahead of our need to

React with force and swiftness. Reacting is crucial, but

There has been too many deaths already; too many lives have ended too soon. It is time for peace.

Here and now, we have to unite, as Europeans, Americans, as citizens of the world that we treasure.

Every one of us, in his or her own way, have been touched, shattered, by the truth of terror in our

World; in our lives. Too many have lost loved ones because of the insanity that is terrorism, and

Our world will never again be as it were before the 11th of September, before the Twin Towers fell.

Remembrance and respect for the victims, and those who, in search of survivors, made the ultimate sacrifice.

Light a candle. Say a prayer, as we mourn the dead and walk down the path of hope to recovery.

Democracy and freedom will prevail. We will stand united, and we will prevail.

© Pia Pedersen, September 18th 2001
Pia Pederson

- Wednesday, September 19, 2001 at 17:29:48 (PDT)


I was very moved when I read your letter and I think it's great you share your thougths about the tragic events with your fans. What happened on September 11th will be engraved in our memories forever. I am not American and I was lucky enough to have not lost someone beloved in the attacks. But something died inside me that very day. The belief in a myth I had grown up with for years. It is the myth of an unbeatable supermight with nothing similar of its kind. The USA has been like the Rock of Gibraltar for me ever since I was a child. Strong, steady, sure, powerful and mighty. And not even in my worst nightmares I could have dreamed that two planes would crush into the World Trade Center, right into the middle of Manhatten, the heart of New York. I remember that day clearly although it's been now more than one week. My father picked me up from hospital and scarcely I was in the car he told me what had happened. And I laughed and said "Dad, did ya watch Independence Day yesterday?" And he said no and we listened to the radio and heard about the crash in the Pentagon. When we got home the first thing I did was turn on CNN and that was when I watched the first tower explode and fall down. I kept staring at the TV thinking 'Come on girl, wake up. You've been reading too much Tom Clany' And I closed my eyes and opened them again hoping it was all a dream. But the picutres were still there and worse the second tower fell down. It was so unrealistic so unlikely. I mean how can one be prepared to see such a thing? Over and over I thought that can't be true, that's just some scene from a bad Hollywood movie. Never ever in my short life I thought someone would dare to declare war to the United States - and if that wasn't a declaration of war, then what was it? I mean that's sheer suicide. Nobody dares to start a fight with America overtly...and yet they did. I can understand that a lot of Americans demand "eye for an eye" now but as a European I hope the government of America will keep their heads cool. I know the terrible pictures of war from the Balkans. I know what war does to people. I hope sincerely that those responsible will be taken into account and prosecuted by the law. Still as much as want that I hope that it can be done without war. I have been never as much aware of the consequences of war as I am now, not during the Gulf War and not during war in Bosnia. For the former I was too young to take in the full meaning of it and for the latter I thought the nations involved were to insignificant to provoke a thrid world war. But now... Nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons...I don't even want to think of how high the rate for the overkill is at the moment. The eleventh of September changed many lives, some more affected, some less; but it sure did. Life will never be the same again. Even if we take up our daily routine again and try to let our lives be not too much affected by the past events. On the one hand we say we mustn't give in. We have to take up our daily routine again and show the terrorists that they can't win over us. The western world supports the USA in every way imaginable, nations stick together and promise to take revenge. But we mustn't do this by lowering ourselves to the enemies' niveau. We have to show the terrosrists we are above them. And yet it's easier said than done. Life goes on, even after such tragiv events. But the images remain. One picture haunts me all the time, namely that of a man, jumping from one of the towers in despair. I can't forget it. It sends cold shivers down my spine every time I see it, for it shows how howpeless the situation inside the buildings must have been. One more thing was shattered by the events of the eleventh: my belief in the essential good of mankind. What kind of immense hatred must those people have to commit such a crime? What kind of sick twisted brains must they have to do such a thing? Those poor victims of the plane crashes didn't do anyone any harm. They were loyal, honest citizens. They were loving fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters and daughters and sons. They were taken the chance of experiencing the full meaning of life. They were robbed a life full of wonderful things and miracles they had yet to find out. And they died in the certainity that sometimes evil wins over good. They died in the doubts where God was at such a moment and why he didn't prevent it. And they died a senseless death, for up to now we have no idea who commited this crime, why they had to die and what for they had to die. Most of them died without being able to tell their families how much they loved them. But in their thoughts they were with them. And it is in those hours of darkness and despair, of sorrow and grief, of mourning and helplessness that heroes enter our lives. Heroes like the hundreds of firefighters who left their lives while rescuing and were burried under the rubble of the trades center. Heroes like the other firefighters who risk their lives recovering dead bodies and parts of corpses. Heroes like the memebers of the Red Cross who work day and night to help the wouned ones. Heroes like the doctors and nurses in the hospitals in Manhattan who give all their energy to save the lives of the injured ones. Heroes like the passengers of the plane that crashed in Somerset who put up a fight against the hijackers and sacrificed their lives for the lives of further hundreds of innocent people.«They will never know what unbelievable generous and unselfish deed they did. And we will never know what unbelievable generous and unselfish people they were. Thousands of innocent people have died in the tragic events, they will never come back to us. They were forced to sacrifise their lives for something they didn't know yet understand. To me they are all heroes, silent heroes, for they will never be able to tell us what made them give their lives for others. But... Cum tacent, clamant. >
darknight
Vienna, Austria - Wednesday, September 19, 2001 at 07:12:33 (PDT)
Dear Charly,thank youfor your statement in case of terrifying attacks to innocent people.It is the best I haveheard and read about it.The first days I had no words to say what I felt.I am 71Years old and remember the last war when we sat every night in our cellar crying when bombs where falling.I hope and wish that something like that will never again happen to men ,women and children.at any place in the world.But what to doto stop insane men like Hitler and this fanatics?I am full of compassion for the poor people in USA.and full of fear for us all.Thank you Karin

Karlsruhe, Germany - Wednesday, September 19, 2001 at 06:33:47 (PDT)
Hi Charlie: It is a pleasure to sign your guestbook,and drop a line,your words on last Tuesday's tragedy were very moving.My sister who works in Manhattan and ate lunch regularly is someone living daily with the aftershock as she cries when she calls me and tells me how the smoke goes into her bedroom as she sleeps at night and wants to come home to be with her family. This has affected us all so deeply and you said it correctly we will go on,because we are built to survive,and that is what our nation will do- God Bless you and God Bless America Michael Hoffman
Middleburg, Fla USA - Tuesday, September 18, 2001 at 20:55:07 (PDT)
I'm French and I'm 14. When I arrived at home, my mother told me the bad news. I was deeply shocked by all this horrible images on T.V. Those terrorists are really heartless, I hope they will pay for what they did. I can't do anything, only pray... God bless all of you. Estelle
Motpellier, FRANCE - Tuesday, September 18, 2001 at 10:37:38 (PDT)
hi,charles i write to you yesterday,and i excuse for the mistakes in my letter,i was in new york four years ago so i have seen how many people could be in the wtc i.m a 29 italian fan. i was shocked to know that many italian people work inside of the wtc.i hope that many of them can be alive.hoping in a peaceful world bye chiara P E A C E
chiara
cattolica, italy - Tuesday, September 18, 2001 at 06:57:20 (PDT)
I just want to say how shocked and numb I have felt over last week, while listening to the news on TV about what has happened in America. I work in Banking and people we deal with at Bank of America worked on the 10th Floor of the first World Trade Centre Tower that was hit, and were at work at the time. I got an e-mail today from one lady we deal with describing the terror of what had happened. My supervisor and I cried as we read the pages she had written. I would like to offer my love and prayers. Love Shona
New Zealand - Tuesday, September 18, 2001 at 01:27:13 (PDT)
I totally agree that we need to think before we bomb a country were we may also kill innocent people. The people that have done this horrific thing are part of a culture. We cannot destroy a single culture within a country without destroying innocent people. Think of all the different cultures that we have in America and trying to single one of these cultures out and get rid of them. It would be impossible to do. As you said, some people from this culture were even living in America under our own noses. Let's get the people that done this without putting other families through what so many are going through right now. Yes, I am all for getting whoever done this and I would love to see them suffer as has the victims from this attack. They need to be punished to the full extent for the suffering that they have put people through. My dad was on a plane to his office in Santa Monica, Ca that morning at the time all this happened on an American Airlines flight. I was in a class and it was hard to get through to anyone. The horror that went through my head and the anticipation that I had to find out if he was on one of those planes, I cannot describe. So, I cannot begin to imagine how those people that still have loved ones missing or were victims must feel. My heart and my prayers go out to the victims, the victims families, and their friends. It is great to see America pulling together. I know that I am proud to be an American. God Bless Carmen
Carmen
KY USA - Monday, September 17, 2001 at 11:45:59 (PDT)
Hello Charles and hello to all people out there! It is a big tragedy which happend last week! I saw it live on TV. I feel sorry for all of you Americans. I hope that Mr Bush will get a chance to stop the war he is going to do! And may God help us in this times. Manuela
Manuela
Sonneberg, Germany - Monday, September 17, 2001 at 09:48:19 (PDT)
Thank you for all of your support. May God bless our world and bring us peace.
Jaycee
New york, USA - Sunday, September 16, 2001 at 22:02:50 (PDT)
This is an email I'm sending to all of you, my American friends. What happened is beyond words, beyond imagination. I cannot believe what my eyes saw and my ears heard, so I pretty well imagine what must be your mind and your feelings at the moment. this mail conveys my deepest concerns and my deepest sympathy to all of you. Whether you had family caught in those abominable events or not, please let me present my deepest condolences for your country. Please, give me some news as soon as you can, with my deepest affection,
David
- Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at 21:54:52 (PDT)
I'm not sure you will even read this under these conditions, but ... I am just devastated to hear of the tragedy in the US and I feel that although I know the attacks did not happen on the West Coast, where I suspect you both are, I had to write this mail to make sure that you (and your loved ones, of course!) are safe. I hope you are. I have no words to express how terrible I feel, there just are no words ... only prayers. May God Bless you all.
Pia
- Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at 21:54:25 (PDT)
Dear Mr. Shaughnessy, Where are you? I know you care about what happened at NYC and WDC but your fans need to hear it from you. I've been reading messages at one of the Nanny sites and am astonished at the condolences from Europeans. We Americans feel that everybody except Canada and Britain hates us. I think their governments do. But it is so good to hear that all the regular people feel sympathy for us. Do you? You're almost one of us, your children are us. What is your reaction?

I live in Kentucky now, but for 12 years I worked as a medical secretary in a large hospital in Dearborn, MI. That's just outside Detroit and the largest Arab settlement in the USA. We were a teaching hospital and I worked with all kinds of immigrants. Most of our interns came from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.(We had one European that I can remember. He was French and nice! I think he felt so isolated that he bonded with us in spite of himself. Acutally, I don't know how he slipped through the system. God forbid, we allow anyone with a similar cultural heritage to immigrate here.) I can tell you there was a great difference in how the different people treated us. I always liked the Indians best, but the Asians were fine and the Africans who weren't Moslem were okay too. But the Moslems treated us with scorn. They called all of us American girls whores, to our faces! Now I'll grant you that a lot of girls in Detroit earn that title, but not all of us! Some of us are decent Christians. We have our good Catholics and firm Protestants, but it didn't matter, we were all 'whores' to them. I had one creep who used to come and lay across my desk and offer me presents! And he had a wrapped wife back in Iraq. (That's a woman wrapped like a mummy.)

They also made a difference in how they treated their patients. I can't count the number of times my nurses would beg for pain medications to give and if the patient was American or a woman the Moslem doctor refused to authorize it. He always said they didn't need any pain med other than tylenol. But if the patient was a male Moslem, he got Demerol, Morphine, anything to kill even the slightest twinge of pain. Lots of times they didn't even used anesthetics when they did procedures. And when my nurses, who were American, Canadian and Asian, complained to our administrators they were chided for their racists attitudes. It was like we were a subspecies to them. I tell you this to say that it isn't the color of their skin or their language that causes this sort of hatred, but their religion and culture. They came here only to get an education, make some money and maybe get a trophy wife. Knowing this, I can easily believe that Middle Easterners who may have had nothing to do with the actual attacks might nevertheless feel real glee at the carnage. What I'd like to know is, why do we allow people from hostile nations to come here in the first place? Isn't that one stupid security risk we could easily eliminate?

I don't know if you ever read this stuff. In case you do, please know that none of us mind getting immigrants from Britain. Britain, thank God, has been our ally since WWI and we can count on her. Also, OMG! you actually speak the language! But these people from nations who rant about us and bomb our embassys should be quarantined. Those with terrorist connections should be executed and the rest should be shipped home. Now you're going to paint me as some crazy reactionist. I never felt anything but love and peace for Arabs until I lived with them. Also, I'm curious about how the milk-toast southern Californians are reacting. I can tell you the heartland is hardening. I suspect these terrorists think we are all a bunch of wimps who won't stand for any hardships. I think they're wrong. When I was a little girl my old granny used to tell me stories about Indians and how to handle them. She used to say, give no quarter and expect none. I believe most Americans have that little law ingrained in them somewhere. Come on line and talk to us.

Have to go to work now. From Kentucky- we are in no danger unless they feel horse farms are a threat. Stephanie
Stephanie
- Wednesday, September 12, 2001 at 21:53:26 (PDT)


not to put any pressure on you or anything, but I have a lot of respect for your wisdom and was looking for words of wisdom and comfort on your website in the wake of the last couple of days! I am sure I am not the only one of your fans that expect you have something profound to say! We are all just wondering around lost and in a daze! May God bless you and your family! D
D
- Wednesday, September 12, 2001 at 21:52:19 (PDT)
Kia Ora I just want to say that my thoughts, and those of my countrymen, are with you, your family and all Americans throughtout this time of such unimaginable tragedy. As small and as far away we are we are all right behind you up there and I, personally, wish there was something we could do to help in some way. Kia kaha!!!!!!!! Your Kiwi friend Shaz
Shaz
- Thursday, September 13, 2001 at 21:51:51 (PDT)
Dear Mr. Shaughnessy, this is maybe a bit strange for you now, but I really need to talk to someone. :) My name is Stephanie and I«m living in Berlin/Germany. I«m still so shocked about what happened in New York and Washington D.C. only two days ago. I cannot understand how people are able to do such things to other people. It scares the hell out of me!! All these pictures in the news are horrorfying and it hurts so much to see all these people who have lost their loved once.

It still feels like this is all only a bad dream and I wish I could wake up any minute and everything would be okay again. But it is not. It is all reality and it is the worst nightmare!!! I«m so scared right now, because I don«t know what will happen next. It«s the most terrible thing that ever happened!!!

I do have a friend in NYC, but I haven«t heard from her yet and all I can do is pray that she is okay. So, what I actually wanted to say is that I hope you and your family are doing fine and if you have family or friends in NYC or Washington, I hope so badly that they are okay!!! My thoughts and prayers are with all the people in the United States. It must hurt so badly right now. Take very good care of you and your family!! Thanks for listening and God bless you!!! Best wishes from Stephanie
Stephanie
- Thursday, September 13, 2001 at 21:51:17 (PDT)


Hi Mr. Shaughnessy, How are you? I hope no one you knew were in the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon or in one airplane, witch crashed. Is your Family O.K.? I hope the culprit will be caught soon. Lets pray that they will be without a World War. The people in German are feeling with your Country. Yesterday I was at the embassy of the United Stats of America and put down some white roses and a candle (without fire) for the killed persons. I pray for their Soles. Germany stands behind you. These are black days for the whole World. In good thinking Yours Daniela PS: I wanted to write some other thing but in these days it wont be OK. Bay
Daniela
- Thursday, September 13, 2001 at 21:50:01 (PDT)
Dear Charlie! I am very very shocked about this unbelieveable think this stupid , naive terrorists did there! The Trade Centre! I am rather sure now there exists the big danger that the Americans react to fast and to aggressive! This would be their right completely, but to fight against violence by using it on your own is not the right way! I do not know what to say or to do?! Germany is far, far away from Manhatten, but you can be assured: We all here or nearly as much shocked as you and have to see ourselves in danger! I can just pray for peace and for a change of this bad, sad mood which lies upon the whole world since the last two days! I am just a 18 years old german schoolgirl and i am sorry for this sencsless e-mail but i had to write, did not know what and why to you! I also do not know if that was any help or THE solution for me or somebody else..., I should finish now!

If you`ll really read this mail, Mr. charles shaughnessy, thank you very much! By, natalie
Natalie
- Thursday, September 13, 2001 at 21:49:17 (PDT)


To all of you... I was so moved by the scene of the flag still flying over the devastation in New York that I had to put my feelings into words. I want to share them with you.

We have felt the hand of terror coming at us from the sky,
Planes exploding in the heavens, buildings falling from on high;
As the head of Lady Liberty bows down, her children cry,
Sons and daughters, born to freedom, by this savage act have died.
Yet, above the haze of smoke we see the flag of freedom wave,
And it brings to mind those words penned long ago, "home of the brave."
Yes, we know this land's worth fighting for, our way of life to save,
No, we won't back down to terror for that's not how we are made.
We are all one nation, indivisible, a fact that's true,
And as difficult as it might be, we'll do what we must do
To protect the land we love; this threat against us isn't new,
Just like those who've gone before us we will fight for freedom too.
So we'll stand together, proudly, and proclaim both far and near,
"We will not back down to terror, we will not succumb to fear."
That our flag will go on flying with a message loud and clear,
The aggressor did not conquer, for America's still here!

I hope you feel the love of country that I do. I hope you are all well and safe. I pray that you did not know anyone personally who was lost on Tuesday. I know that you are all praying for those who did. Tomorrow I will sing in church for those who were lost, for those who are mourning and for all of us who must continue on. God bless us and this great place we call home.
Ryanne and Tom
- Saturday, September 15, 2001 at 21:47:34 (PDT)


I am writing to you as a fan and as a fellow American. When they played the "Star Spangled Banner" yesterday it was very touching. You must be proud to have the country that you are from supporting with such greatness the country that you live in now. Things like that is what gives us hope. God Bless
carmen
- Friday, September 14, 2001 at 21:43:44 (PDT)

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