Rest In Peace
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, and former recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize


I am a World Trade Center tower, standing tall in the clear blue sky,
feeling a violent blow in my side, and I am a towering inferno of pain
and suffering imploding upon myself and collapsing to the ground.
May I rest in peace.

I am a terrified passenger on a hijacked airplane not knowing where we
are going or that I am riding on fuel tanks that will be instruments of
death, and I am a worker arriving at my office not knowing that in just
a moment my future will be obliterated. May I rest in peace.

I am a pigeon in the plaza between the two towers eating crumbs from
someone's breakfast when fire rains down on me from the skies, and I am
a bed of flowers admired daily by thousands of tourists now buried under
five stories of rubble. May I rest in peace.

I am a firefighter sent into dark corridors of smoke and debris on a
mission of mercy only to have it collapse around me, and I am a rescue
worker risking my life to save lives who is very aware that I may not
make it out alive. May I rest in peace.

I am a survivor who has fled down the stairs and out of the building to
safety who knows that nothing will ever be the same in my soul again,
and I am a doctor in a hospital treating patients burned from head to
toe who knows that these horrible images will remain in my mind forever.
May I know peace.

I am a tourist in Times Square looking up at the giant TV screens
thinking I'm seeing a disaster movie as I watch the Twin Towers crash to
the ground, and I am a New York woman sending e-mails to friends and
family letting them know that I am safe. May I know peace.

I am a piece of paper that was on someone's desk this morning and now
I'm debris scattered by the wind across lower Manhattan, and I am a
stone in the graveyard at Trinity Church covered with soot from the
buildings that once stood proudly above me, d! death meeting death. May
I rest in peace.

I am a dog sniffing in the rubble for signs of life, doing my best to be
of service, and I am a blood donor waiting in line to make a simple but
very needed contribution for the victims. May I know peace.

I am a resident in an apartment in downtown New York who has been forced
to evacuate my home, and I am a resident in an apartment uptown who has
walked 100 blocks home in a stream of other refugees. May I know peace.

I am a family member who has just learned that someone I love has died,
and I am a pastor who must comfort someone who has suffered a
heart-breaking loss. May I know peace.

I am a loyal American who feels violated and vows to stand behind any
military action it takes to wipe terrorists off the face of the earth,
and I am a loyal American who feels violated and worries that people who
look and sound like me are all going to be blamed for this tragedy. May
I know peace.

I am a frightened city dweller who wonders whether I'll ever feel safe
in a skyscraper again, and I am a pilot who wonders whether there will
ever be a way to make the skies truly safe. May I know peace.

I am the owner of a small store with five employees that has been put
out of business by this tragedy, and I am an executive in a
multinational corporation who is concerned about the cost of doing
business in a terrorized world. May I know peace.

I am a visitor to New York City who purchases postcards of the World
Trade Center Twin Towers that are no more, and I am a television
reporter trying to put into words the terrible things I have seen. May I
know peace.

I am a boy in New Jersey waiting for a father who will never come home,
and I am a boy in a faraway country rejoicing in the streets of my
village because someone has hurt the hated Americans. May I know peace.

I am a general talking into the microphones about how we must stop the
terrorist cowards who have perpetrated this heinous crime, and I am an
intelligence officer trying to discern how such a thing could have
happened on American soil, and I am a city official trying to find ways
to alleviate the suffering of my people. May I know peace.

I am a terrorist whose hatred for America knows no limit and I am
willing to die to prove it, and I am a terrorist sympathizer standing
with all the enemies of American capitalism and imperialism, and I am a
master strategist for a terrorist group who planned this abomination.
My heart is not yet capable of openness, tolerance, and loving. May I
know peace.

I am a citizen of the world glued to my television set, fighting back my
rage and despair at these horrible events, and I am a person of faith
struggling to forgive the unforgivable, praying for the consolation of
those who have lost loved ones, calling upon the merciful beneficence of
God/Yahweh/Allah/Spirit/Higher Power. May I know peace.

I am a child of God who believes that we are all children of God and we
are all part of each other. May we all know peace.

--- © by Thich Nhat Hanh,