Jan Meisels Allen <janmallen@...>
I received this e-mail >from a person to whom it was sent by their friend
stranded in Europe due to the tragedy of this week. I thought all of you on
JRI-Poland would appreciate the story.
Jan Meisels Allen
Agoura Hills, CA
My dear friends,
As many of you already know, I am in Warsaw, Poland right now. After a
wonderful week in Paris, I planned to return to Boston on Wednesday.
Obviously that did not happen. My friend Kim invited me to return to her
home in Poland with her and I thought that was the best way to wait out the
unknown. As of now, I plan to come home on Tuesday, but what will be will
I have been emailing with many of you and I want to
thank you so dearly for keeping in touch with me. It
has been very difficult to be away >from my loved ones and my country the
last few days and hearing >from you has helped me to feel connected. Many of
you have asked me what the reaction in Europe has been and I have been
unable to answer as I am reading American papers and watching CNN like you.
But tonight I did have an experience that I wanted to share.
Around 9:00 PM, Kim and I went to the American Embassy in Warsaw as we had
heard that a number of Americans living in Poland had held a vigil there
earlier in the evening. What we found when we got there was so very moving.
We don't think there were any other Americans there by this time, but there
were a number of Polish people lined up, in the rain, along the gate of the
embassy lighting thousands of candles in remembrance of those lost and in
solidarity with Americans. There were endless bouquets of flowers. There
were signs, mostly written in Polish, thanking and blessing America. They
were heartfelt, as were the looks of sadness on the faces of the people
there. A few of the
signs and written notes thanked America for being the only country to have
helped them during the Soviet-imposed martial law. One little boy laid a
bouquet of flowers as his family watched in silence.
Many people continued to light candles that had blown out. There were many
pictures of the World Trade Center and even one picture of a family taken
during (what we think was) the 60's in front of the Statue of Liberty - on
the back Kim read words of gratitude for a country that had taken their
family in. [This was in striking contrast to the several heavily armed
guards patrolling the gate.]
At one point this older man, probably in his mid to
late 70's, came up to us and asked if we were Polish.
Kim responded that we were American. He reached his hand out to Kim and
thanked her in Polish. Then he put his hand out to me and embraced both Kim
and myself as the three of us cried. "Thank you, America, and God Bless
America," he repeated.
The sentiments were real and affected us both deeply. We keep hearing words
of support >from leaders around the world, but it wasn't until tonight that I
really felt that people outside of America were mourning for us. I hope
that these unspeakable acts and the pain that we all feel will at least help
to bring us together worldwide in support of humanity and peace. I have to
believe that what I saw tonight brings us closer to this becoming a reality.
With much love,