Freedom Observed Through an Open Door

Freedom in a Post 9-11 world.


By: Brian M Murray, IMH

            The automatic door swung open and the soldier walked into the shopping store only to observe what appears to be an accident. There was a lady on her knees and bending over crying and a crowd was beginning to gather around her to figure out what was wrong. Did she fall? Was she hurt? What is wrong? The soldier moved down the aisles looking back as he watched others come to her aid. Grabbing a few items he came for, he headed for the checkout and noticed the scene had not changed. The soldier taking into consideration his emergency training approached the crowd seeing if there was something he could do. He was a stranger in another country and knew there would be a language barrier should he offer assistance. “What is the matter?” asked the soldier. Someone turned around and said, “This is the first time she has ventured into the west since the Berlin Wall came down and the East opened up to the West. This is the first store she has visited. She sees all of the food and she is overcome with emotion. She will be okay, just some comforting.”

 The soldier stood back, taken by the moment and realizing for the first time in his young life he witnessed the profound impact freedom has on a person. Here is a woman who is witnessing a grocery store full of produce, meats, dairy and everything in between. A woman who stood in line for hours just to get a loaf of bread for the past 40 years now sees a store full of everything she could possibly want and becomes overwhelmed with emotions. If there was ever a question of purpose in that young soldier’s life before that day it was surely answered in that moment.

            That story always stuck with me, because I was the soldier who entered that store that day. I saw something unfold right before me I never fathomed even happening. I knew it was hard for those on the east side of the border. To witness the Berlin Wall come down and be stationed in Germany when the two sides reunified taught me the value of freedom. From that day on I never took it for granted again. I stopped by for bread, milk and little something for dinner. A luxury I took for granted and never thought twice about it and here was this woman who had the same intent and it dropped her to her knees.

On September 11th as we remember the tragedy and lives lost that day it serves as a constant reminder that there is something much more sinister at work in the world.  Freedom was attempted to be taken away by trying to shut a door in the face of the American people and the liberty for which it stands. Unfortunately for some on that fateful day it was taken away from them. I will always remember the lady who wept in the store, freedom observed through an open door. Perhaps you have a personal story where freedom was observed or one where freedom was attempted to be taken away. Perhaps you were someone at ground zero or joined the military in response to the threat to liberty of future generations. Any way we respond it is often the same. The threat to freedom is a threat to the very nature of being human. Many brave people responded to 9-11 to protect and sacrifice themselves for the very freedom that was threatened that day. I am very thankful I live in a place where I am free.  


Brian M Murray is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with the Lifeworks Group located in Winter Park Florida.


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