Setember 22, 2001
Beginning of the Road
By Dane Sorensen
This is Dane Sorensen your London War Correspondent. Actually, this was supposed to be a very relaxed Twenty-fifth Anniversary trip to revisit many of the places we visited on our Honeymoon. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would be traveling in the midst of a world crisis. Getting on a plane with enough fuel to fly to Europe or take out another tower is not what most are willing to do and so all the world's airlines are now facing bankruptcy. Continental Airlines didn't even last out a day after the twin World Trade Towers collapsed with so many innocents still within. Here in the United Kingdom the same fate is facing British Airways which has stated they may cancel all flights.
As the United States is saturated with the news of the destruction and the coming Infinite Justice, so is Europe saturated. In Europe there are church services for the nationals that died in New York. British flags are at half staff. There are piles of flowers in front of our embassy and much fund-raising to help the victims. Most of all are the news reports of more and more layoffs, or as the British call them "redundancies." The victims of terrorism are in every country in the Western World. From decimated retirement nest eggs to loss of jobs, the power of hate has soured the lives of many people on both sides of the Atlantic.
London is an incredible town. Like New York, it has treasures that you just don't find anywhere else in the world. We will be seeing a total of three Andrew Lloyd Webber plays. It is impossible to do something like that accept in London or New York. This last weekend was a tough one for London. Rumors of it being the next target had focused on that happening this last weekend. The government responded by adding 1500 more police officers to work the streets. The tube, also, had more men in their bright blue uniforms watching the platforms. The media is full of stories about how the next terrorist attack could be poison gas or biological diseases.
It is easy to see why we feel more like war correspondents than vacationers. Yet the vacation does goes on as life in London goes on as well. London's landmarks are all open. The plays are still filled and the museums see a constant flow of patrons. Harrods is busy selling trinkets and bobs for twice what they go for anywhere else. Yet every paper is full of photos of our President and New York's ruined skyline. The British government is taking steps to protect itself and stands fast by the United States. The British truly do feel kin to us.
Like the United States, Britain's cities have become a melting pot. People are from all over the globe including many from the Middle East. When we were in London twenty-five years ago most people from the Middle East were street vendors or low wage earners. Now many own sizeable businesses like the hotel we are staying at. These are hard working people and they are following the path to economic success, much as many immigrants have done in the USA.
On many levels this European visit will be memorable and insightful. So much is the same in London and so much is not. I still stop and stare at old Victorian Buildings for their ornate style. Each would be interesting to study. Our hotel building is a small three story affair and no doubt started as a home of some wealthy Victorian. London keeps evolving as does our country. In the end normal life and time will swallow the headlines of this horrible act that is holding our attention. We will return to the job of changing the world for the better by ordinary acts of work and love.