By Linda Francis Lee
For several years I’ve lived near an American Red Cross building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. And for years I walked passed it most every day, that short, solid building sitting in the middle of high rises, a place that made me think of blood banks and giving blood. But then September 11, 2001 hit us all and that same building became something different to me.
It was the place where my husband and I, along with so many of our neighbors, friends and strangers, lined up to give blood. In that line we shared our heartbreak for the people lost in the towers and in the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. It was in that line that we began to try to make sense of something that couldn’t be explained.
When we got inside, certainly they needed blood, but there were sign up sheets for everything. The Red Cross was organizing people to provide whatever they had skills to do. Office help. Medical help. Clerical help. Construction help. The lists were endless. Of course I should have known this, and in hindsight, I can pull up news reel images of the Red Cross providing disaster relief. But it wasn’t until that day, in that line, on a disconcertingly clear September day in Manhattan that I truly understood that the Red Cross was about more than blood banks and giving blood.
Linda Francis Lee is a native Texan who now lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She is the author of twenty books that are published around the world. Two of her novels have been optioned for feature films, and she is currently developing a television series set in Texas. When Linda isn’t writing, she loves to run in Central Park and spend time with her husband, family, and friends.
This guest post was contributed by the author to Writers for the Red Cross. Writers for the Red Cross is a month-long celebration that brings writers, readers, editors, literary agents and independent bookstores together to raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross during Red Cross Month.