Rest In Peace


Rest In Peace
by Thich Nhat Hanh


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,
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 Arab 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.


Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk.

Home | What's New