MainStreet editor and sometimes globetrotter Michael Schreiber learned first-hand that the riskiest places may be much closer to home than you think. He had lived in Israel’s Negev desert for six months during the height of the second Intifada
. His family was constantly stressed out by the scary headlines about where he was living, but according to Schreiber, “where I was living, in the middle of the desert, things couldn’t have been quieter.” Then he moved back home early in part to alleviate his family’s concerns and decided to drive cross-country with his sister. It was early September 2001.
“On September 11 we were in South Dakota, just outside the Badlands in a dingy motel . We didn’t get our wake-up call, which was annoying, and when I woke I popped out of bed, and turned on the TV just in time to see the first tower fall. I lived in Brooklyn at the time and my then girlfriend, now wife, worked in the Financial District. I couldn’t get in touch with her for about 10 hours (she was among the throngs of ash-covered people walking across the Brooklyn Bridge),” he said. “The irony of the situation was sickening. I left the Middle East ostensibly to get away from terrorism, only to return home just in time to witness one of history’s greatest acts of terrorism occur scarcely two miles from my apartment. And there I was, driving through the Badlands, which eerily reminded me of the Negev.”
He remained shell-shocked for the rest of the road trip, but in an eerie way, he was a bit privileged. Schreiber got to witness firsthand how America’s heartland responded to this national crisis, all from the window of his sister’s Toyota Echo.
Photo Credit: geograph.org.uk