September 21, 2001 Friend and former co-worker Karen Langlie emailed me:
Mike and I had just gotten into the office when we heard about the first plane.

In my last "innocent" moment, I believed that the plane crash was an accident.

A few moments later, news of the second crash travelled through the office, and it was at that point we all knew it was no accident. Many of us gathered around a television set in a small conference room on the 3rd floor. When we all saw the first footage of the Pentagon in flames, a dark, unspeakable outrage filled everyone in the room. It was so thick that I almost passed out. (I've never fainted - or even felt like fainting - in my entire life.)

But I probably don't need to tell you the rest. You experienced it

To me, Karen wonderfully expressed the transition that so many of us went through in those minutes after the first crash. Disbelief yes, but more like a grasping for what we could believe. And then that belief was gone. It wasn't an accident. No twist of terrible fate, no failure of metal or technology.

As the days pass, one thing that comes back to me over and over again is that humans did these things. To each other. I am a human. Would I be capable of this? What makes me different from this?

I heard a woman on NPR say that as she passed a mosque in her neighborhood, she turned her head away because she couldn't look on the muslims "with a gentle eye." I wondered how you could just clump anyone of a certain heritage together this way? Were ALL germans evil? More immediate perhaps - if we should look at ourselves and see a white person, should we associate ourselves with McVeigh?

Mary Beth Goodman