Ruth Gasten, Livermore

A friend phoned me and said, "Turn on your TV."

I did, and in horror, watched the Capitol being stormed. My heart started pounding, and I shivered in fear. In my mind, I saw my parents and me outside our synagogue looking at burned and torn prayer books and the scorched Torah lying on the street. There was glass everywhere.

The date was Nov. 9, 1938, the Night of Broken Glass, when thugs were sent by Hitler to destroy synagogues, businesses, and stores of Jews all over Germany. Soon after that event, we became refugees and came to the United States.

I still remember the day our ship sailed by the Statue of Liberty. The passengers, most of them refugees, were on the deck, crying, laughing, dancing, and singing. All these years, I have felt safe in this country - until I witnessed the carnage at the Capitol.

When the police forces cleared the rioters out of the Capitol, and the Congress resumed the process of counting the electoral college ballots, I saw the insurgents didn't win, and our democracy was safe.

A doctor told me that my reaction was perfectly normal - I was having an attack of post-traumatic stress disorder. There are many refugees in the Valley. They may have had similar reactions of fear and panic.

I thought I'd share mine, so they realize they're not alone.