Brenda Cooper

Thoughts from the night after

So I did go to the vigil last night. It felt like it made September 11 meaningful.
I even took the microphone once, and said something about how we had squandered a great chance for world peace in the year after 9/11 by choosing bombs instead of care packages and education, by choosing guns instead of butter. It was only a small talk amidst a lot of talks, and I talk a lot – I’m a professional public speaker. But this felt different, like stepping briefly in the shoes of heroes in a tiny way. Like at least pretending to be a Holly Near or an Arundhati Roy.
I don’t usually talk about highly poitical issues, I suppose for fear that I’ll offend a member of a paying audience, or speak out too much for a girl with a government job. I guess what I mean is that it made me more nervous than my usual speeches in front of much larger audiences, in the same way that publishing a book is more personal…maybe scarier…than publishing nonfiction or giving work-related talks in the line of my day job.
Anyway, we walked around Kirkland and held up our hands in peace signs and carried candles. I did my typical absent-minded-professor and lost track of my glass candle holder and ended up carrying a little tea-light around town with the wax dripping down onto my fingers and palm, hot enough to leave light red marks but not to really burn. Some people in restaurants clapped for us. Some cars honked.
The highlight of the speeches, though, was a clean little girl with dark hair and skin and a bright red dress – Middle Eastern, probably East Indian but I didn’t ask – who took the microphone and very clearly asked that we pray for the people in Iraq.

One Response so far

  1. 1. Jeanette Carroll

    Brenda – I too was at the vigil on 9/11 and helped Donna with organization. Thank you so much for speaking and for talking with our reporter, Erika. People like you are an inspiration to us all. I wish more people were outspoken and would stand up and speak their minds. We need more of that.
    I was also very moved by the little girl in the red dress who asked for a prayer for the people in Iraq. I am not religious and don’t really pray much, but that night I did say a prayer for them.