Of Normality in the Midst of Terror

One evening in July, news of an attack in Munich made the headlines. Rumors of a terrorist attack spread quickly before the police retorted and controlled the situation.

I was sitting together with a few teacher colleagues when we got the news. We sighed. Just two days later we were supposed to visit Munich on a class trip.
Should we still go? Would it be too much of a risk to take students to a city where the sense of safety had been disrupted so suddenly?

We decided to go anyway.
Pragmatically speaking, it was safe enough to visit the city.
Morally speaking, we wanted to make a bold statement in the midst of chaos and despair.

And it was surprisingly calm.
We expected police everywhere, empty streets and intimidated people; instead, everything seemed so normal. Almost too normal.
Munich made a bold statement in the midst of terror, pain and despair.


On the first day we visited the Olympia Park where the Games of 1972 took place. The tent like roof is one of a kind and we decided to take a walk on it. Well, ‘we’ are the students and the other teachers. I stayed safely on the ground with a few students because I am afraid of heights.
This gave me time to wander around the stadium, marvel at its size and ‘peculiar’ 70s design. This place can tell stories of great athletic triumph, but also horrible defeat.
While we still recover from today’s assaults we also remember the athletes who were killed in 1972 during the terrorist attacks.

After the attacks the president said, “The games must go on.”
This sounds pretty harsh and heartless even though it carries some truth.
Life must go on, despite all the despair and pain we so often experience.
Maybe not right away, but eventually.
And it makes me wonder, how do we find the balance? The right time between dwelling and mourning, remembering and moving on?

Welcome to Day 18 of 31 Days of Mundane Narratives! For the month of October I will be a storyteller. Together with a few friends we will browse the forgotten photos in our galleries and tell the stories that are so often lost in busyness.
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Author: Katha von Dessien

Teacher. Believer in the Wilderness. Third Culture Kid. World Traveler. People and Food at the Table Lover. Writer.

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