The ongoing coverage of those dark September days of 2001 focused on myriad stories of unspeakable loss and mind-numbing heroism, of heartwrenching sorrow, of uniting horror, yet today ten years later, one brief interview unseen by most brings a tear to me, one moment remarkable for the lesson of its simple compassion, wrapped in such an improbable package, dwarfed by the surrounding battleground.
Through the smoke professional firefighters and police loomed immense as distorted shadows in blackened helmets, respirators, gloves, boots, weighed down by the cylinders of oxygen tanks, silhouetted as unrecognizable beings. Were there humans somewhere inside the gear propelling these figures forward through the carnage, or had the equipment taken on a life of its own? Just visible at the edge of the chaos stood a slender, well-dressed young man, obviously gay from his demeanor, and dangling from his girlish arms hung two shopping bags, held out as an offering. His face was a small ashen oval amid the blackened burly first-responders. “I wanted to do something,” he sniffled, “so I bought socks. These people should have clean fresh socks.” What a lovely, generous, kind thing to do. To buy socks.
If any of us who think there is nothing we can do when tragedy strikes, and we ourselves are too weak or too unskilled to aid, we must remember to be kind and to consider the humanity of those involved, and to do what we can, if only to buy socks.
Causes Mara Buck Supports
Kennebec Valley Humane Society, Amnesty International