Fighting back with honeymoon

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2005

As I write this column, I’m making my final preparations for my honeymoon. As you read this column, my wife, Stacey, and I are somewhere in the city of London, soaking in the sites and celebrating our new life together.

I kept our trip to London a secret from Stacey, a surprise that hopefully she didn’t find out about until she set foot on the trans-Atlantic flight to Britain. For months, my father and I put together the details of the trip – everything from what hotel we would stay at to the museums we would visit has been carefully thought out.

What can I say? I’m a perfectionist.

But nothing could have prepared me for the morning of July 7 when I woke up to the news of bombs detonating in the London subway and a bus being blown to shreds.

Within minutes of hearing the news, I had already talked with my soon-to-be father-in-law, my brother and my father. Each one of them, while they wouldn’t come right out and say it, seemed worried about what the bombings would mean for my honeymoon.

Are the attractions going to still be open? How will you get around if the subway is shut down? Should I reconsider even going?

Let me backtrack a little.

I was an observer on the sidelines during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. I watched on TV with the rest of the country as planes were flown in to the World Trade Center towers. I attended a prayer vigil that night and joined in numerous moments of silence in the coming weeks.

Despite all that, New York was still a lengthy 16-hour drive away. I didn’t know anybody on the planes or in the towers.

To me, pictures of the rubble at Ground Zero could have easily been something I saw in a movie once. In my mind, Sept. 11 wasn’t real.

Now I’m back in my car. Driving to work and listening to reports on NPR about the blasts in London. I’ll be boarding a plane in a little more than a week and my hotel is less than three blocks from one of the blast sites.

Should I reconsider the trip? Maybe we could just postpone a few weeks?

As all these thoughts spun in my head, I began to understand just a hint of the fear that still hangs over the heads of New Yorkers and the residents of Madrid, Spain.

My anger grew as I thought about how a group of men were selfishly trying to take away what should be a great and lasting memory in my life. And to think … I was angry over a honeymoon, when Londoners now had to fear for their lives every time they set foot outside their home.

Then it hit me. We had no choice but to go to London. In our own little way, this trip to Great Britain would be our way of voicing our beliefs that terrorists must not be allowed to win.

Of course, we’re not heroes for simply trying to enjoy our honeymoon.

But in some ways, I hope that our eight-and-a-half hour plane ride to London will become one of thousands of messages to those who promote terrorism.

I want them to hear loud and clear: &uot;I’m not scared of you.&uot;

Brandon Gresham serves as staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at