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Traveling To A Country After A Terrorist Attack

By January 20, 2016 0
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Season 27 of Saturday Night Live premiered 18 days after September 11th.

The opening monologue was led by Mayor Giuliani, accompanied by several NY firefighters and policemen. Giuliani said, “It’s up to us to face the future with renewed determination. Our hearts are broken, but they are beating. And they are beating stronger than ever.” He went on to say, “We will not yield to terrorism. We will not let our decisions be made out of fear. We choose to live our lives in freedom.”

The monologue ended with Lorne Michaels, the creator of SNL, asking “Can we be funny?”  to which the mayor replied “Why stop now?” and soon enough America was back on track.

Sure, since  9/11, there have been many changes in the United States, especially with security, but the country has remained strong.

And so this weekend, I’ll be in Paris.

If you just asked yourself, for even one second, why I would choose to travel to a country that just experienced horrific terrorist attacks, then you should know that you’re not the only one.

Your reaction — of fear, confusion and concern — is the one I get from most people when I tell them about my trip. My best friend and I are going to Europe next month. She’s been studying abroad in Paris, and she’s going to show me around before we go to Krakow, Vienna and Prague.

It’s a tense time in the world right now, and I don’t live under a rock so I know that. Most especially in Paris and throughout Europe, but I refuse to let that stop me from living

Perhaps I’ve been inspired partly by the words of  Billy Joel, who I saw in concert at Madison Square Garden two weeks ago. After his opening song, he gave a speech about the attacks on Paris and how we have to move forward.

His speech really resonated with me and this is why I’m still going to Europe. They want us to be scared. They want us to alter our lives, to constantly be afraid of their next move. But we can’t let them win. By canceling my trip, I would be giving terrorism—a concept that is only strengthened by fear—real power.

While the Parisians took time to grieve, they have also continued on with their every day lives. By most accounts, their lives have returned almost entirely back to normal.

That return to normalcy is something that I’m reminded of every single day. I live 4 blocks from the new World Trade Center; a magnificent building that stands taller than it’s predecessor; Every time I see it, I don’t just think of the terrorist attacks, I think of how we as a society have healed and moved on. Because as cliche as it sounds, that’s that time does—it heals wounds.

This is why I refuse to be afraid, it’s why I’m still going to Europe, and it’s why I encourage each and every one of you to never be halted by overly-hyped fears, or the lingering sadness that comes from tragic events.

Remember: worry is a misuse of our imagination.

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