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Opening the Doors to Healthier and Stress-Free Living

A Column by Alice Abbott-Moore,
Content Access/Information Delivery Teams, Ekstrom Library

United We Stand -- Divided We Fall

The week of September 11, 2001—words cannot express what I have felt and am feeling. For the past six years, this column has been dedicated to the betterment of our already great lives.

Terrorists attacked our country. Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the law for purposes of intimidation, coercion or ransom. Terrorists often use threats to create fear among the public, to try to convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent terrorism, and to get immediate publicity for their causes. On September 11, we saw what terrorists do.

We need to pull together and not be ripped apart. The terrorists want us to be fearful. They want chaos in our lives. They want us to react rashly rather than respond. If we do react rashly and pull apart, we will be letting the terrorists win.

It is human to be leery and suspicious since many of the people who took part in the attacks on the United States the week of September 11 infiltrated our society by moving to the United States, living among us, attending our schools, eating our food, obtaining our resources, and making friends with us, all the while planning to attack us. They blended in while plotting to kill us, which is both creepy and scary.

The medical criminologist Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) thought that criminals looked a certain way — had certain physical characteristics. Contrary to that, criminals look and act like anyone else; for example, serial killers and terrorists can look and act just like anyone. With this in mind, people get suspicious and fear is allowed to run wild. A lot of the suspicion is pure and utter fear coupled with anger. As the shock is wearing off, we find ourselves experiencing anger and fear — and rightly so. It is what we do with the anger and fear right now, individually and collectively, that is so important. Suspicion sneaks in with ignorance. It is fear of the unknown.

Three things I know for sure that will not bring back the dead and avenge or make up for the horrific tragedies our nation has endured: bickering about politicians, suspicion of innocent people, and parasitic price-gouging of gasoline. During this time of tragedy and unrest, we need to look out for each other because we will need each other for the long haul. We need to come together and not pull apart.

Due to my writing a historical novel that takes place between the Depression and WWII, for years I have done a lot of talking with folks who lived during those time periods. As a writer I wanted to gain as much knowledge as I could about what it was like to be involved in war. During the conversations, letters and journals, I came across many, many reflections of what life was like during that time. The universal themes involved people pulled together by helping each other and their country, or pulled apart by suspicion.

What can individual citizens do? We can take action to by taking care of ourselves emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Emotional care Visit with family and friends — don’t isolate yourself. Keep a journal, express emotions in constructive, creative ways. Help out the charities that are helping people get through this tragedy. Donate blood. If you cannot give blood, donate money and/or time. Help make the community a better place to live. Be constructive you’re your time — keep active with healthy activities. Help less fortunate people out.

Physical care Get plenty of rest; eat sensibly; try not to overdo caffeine; exercise.

Spiritual care Stay connected with spiritual beliefs. Stay or get close to spiritual communities.

In essence, the following can help us cope from day to day:

A lot of us have young people in our lives and I would like to add the following when taking care of children:

These suggestions can at least reduce some stress for all of us during this time. The more emotionally, mentally and physically healthy we are, the better we will be able to cope for the duration. In addition, we will be able to live our lives. Remember that we are all in this together and that no one is alone.

“In Times of Tragedy”
“Terrorism and children.” Myers-Walls, Judith A.
“Its Difficult, But Life must Go On.” Pitts, Leonard
“We'll Go Forward From This Moment On.” Pitts, Leonard