UPDATE: I’ve had emails back and forth with the Gazette and they’d like to use my email in the Letters to the Editor column, but I bowed out of the offer since I know they get flooded with submissions in that section. I really didn’t believe they’d want my account for anything, but I don’t want my remote and truly insignificant observations to take up space when I’m sure there are local people with more to say than me. 🙂
original post below:
I’ve had so many friends and relatives contacting me about the tragedy in London yesterday. Thank you. I’m fine and am touched by everyone’s concerns. Interestingly enough, a few told me that my blog was the first thing they checked to make sure I was ok. That’s amazing and wonderful. Hopefully that will be the only time you’ll need to check it for such a potentially horrible report. Great big hugs to all of you!
I got an email today from my former ‘hometown’ newspaper, The Janesville Gazette, looking for some insight into the terrorist events. They just want a human connection to the tragedy regarding people who live here or have friends or family living here… So, I sent them an email. At first I didn’t want to do it since I felt I had very little to say on the whole thing, but I told Neil about it and we agreed that even just telling how I felt and what I experienced is a unique human story for the people ‘back home’ and I should write them anyway. So, here’s what I wrote:
I’m a former Janesville resident who has been living near London since November of last year. As an American here I can tell you that the feelings I had watching the horrific events unfolding on TV were not dissimilar to the difficult emotions I felt during the broadcasts covering 9/11. I was glued to the television news coverage and had several news web sites up trying to make sense of the tragedy. I watched all day, hoping no more destruction would occur. Fortunately, none did.
I spent a large portion of the morning and early afternoon chatting online with a friend whose American wife works in London and was on the trains that morning. She was one of the fortunate ones to be evacuated, avoiding injury and danger. Her workplace closed for the day but sheltered her until the area was secured and limited travel resumed to get people out of the city to their homes. Mobile phone networks in London were down, but my friend on chat was able to get in touch with his wife to confirm that she was ok and safe from harm.
Though it’s only through business meetings or recreation that I visit London, the Underground and train networks are familiar and reliable transportation for me. London has already recovered most of it’s public transport infrastructure and is well prepared for terrorism (and it’s aftermath) due to a quarter century of IRA and other terrorist group incidents. It’s not out of the collective consciousness to be aware of your surroundings and remember the days when you’d think twice about travelling certain routes after threats and scares. London is a prepared and vibrant city and I certainly still feel safe as an American abroad.
Whether or not they use the email, I don’t know or mind, but I at least answered their request and gave them my observation.