“Opening minds and angravating liberals since 2001”
“I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.”
Genesis 3:19 / John 3:16
My Friends and Fellow Patriots:
(DISCLAIMER: This issue is a repeat. This is devoid, as best as I can, of any politics. I first wrote this about twelve years ago. There have been some things which have happened since, but I am loathe to edit it. In re-reading it, I cannot, I will not change a word other than to make the year current. Sadly, nothing can ease the pain. Nothing can make this make any more sense now than it did fourteen years ago, perhaps even less sense now. Sadder still, nothing much has changed for the good and prolly more for the worse. Please take a moment and consider all those who were murdered fourteen years ago. Keep them in your heart and your prayers. And make a vow to yourself that you will do all that you can to keep our great Country as great as it is and in the mold that our Founding Fathers had envisioned and intended. And looking at things and the current climate, it does not look like it is getting any better. God Help us all.)
Lester Marino. Kathy Mazza. Patrick Lyons.
What do these people have in common?
Not a whole lot, really. A few things, but other than living in my neighborhood and being my neighbors, not all that much. A tradesman, a cop, a fire man, just regular people. One thing that they do have in common is that there are streets named for them in my neighborhood.
You never heard of them? I am not surprised. They were not politicians or, to be candid, famous in any way to those outside of their families and friends would be my guess. So why are there streets named for them? Because like a few dozen others from my town, and many hundreds on Long Island and close to 3000 men, women and children, they were murdered fourteen years ago this morning.
You see, we are regular Americans, we have many differences and many similarities. In my middle-class neighborhood, we have all kinds of people; police, firemen, teachers, tradesmen, salespeople, soccer moms and yes, gasp, criminals, just like most any other neighborhood or area in our country. Many houses have flags flying, not all but quite a few. And no matter what one’s views are, what their politics are, what kind of person one is, we are all pissed that terrorists felt the need to murder our neighbors.
There was nothing out of the ordinary the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. A late summer morning and the sun was shining. As always, I turned on the television to get the morning news. Not a lot of things going on and I was more interested in the business forecasts than anything else that day. I had just come out of the shower when I glanced at the TV and saw a building with smoke billowing from it. It took a second for me to recognize it as one of the World Trade Center towers. The crawl on the screen that read: “Small plane hits WTC.”
Then, a second plane hit.
My first thought was “Bastards, we have been attacked.” And I was, for once in my life, correct. Stunned, I watched the screen as I tied my tie over and over again, absentmindedly. Finally, I snapped to and resolved to myself that I was not going to do anything different. I was sure it was a terrorist attack and I know that one of their aims would be to disrupt, confuse and frighten the populace.
I drove to work, radio on, listening to the reports, conjectures and speculations. Numb, I arrived at work, flipped on the computer and tried to get some work done. The radio played in the background and there was little talk among my fellow employees, nothing really needed to be said, we all felt the same.
Phone rings, it is my wife who tells me that James, her cousin, may have been on one of the flights as he was to fly from Boston to California that morning. My gosh! Fortunately, we soon learn that he decided to change his plans the night before and was safe in Beantown. His brother, Sean, is a fireman. In a strange coincidence, he was on vacation that week. But, like many, many other police and firemen, after hearing of the attacks he rushed to the scene. Going to his firehouse first was not an option as he knew they would already be on scene. So he went to the WTC and reported to the first captain he saw and went to work. Good luck and God’s Mercy shined on the brothers as most in Sean’s firehouse perished. Had he been on duty, that may have been his fate, had James not changed his travel plans, it was a distinct possibility that they both would have been murdered.
The report of the Pentagon being attacked was almost surreal as was the news that the first of the towers had collapsed. By the time we heard in short order that a plane had crashed in Pennsylvania, we wondered what was next.
America was under attack, there was no doubt about it. But would there be more?
For some reason I can still feel it in my bones right now just as I did fourteen years ago and that is that I was mad as hell, not scared, not worried but mad. And, it was a shared feeling. Every man and woman and in the office felt the same. We all knew it was an attack, we all wanted to know who did it and we all wanted those behind the attacks to suffer very, very horribly. There was no fear, in fact, there was resolve. There was no blaming of the President (although the Dems did that after a respectful amount of time) and only support for those who were on the scene.
None of us knew any more than anyone else at that time. Nor did we know the extent of the loss and who we may have lost.
I remember bringing a piano to the Windows of the World, many years ago. Oxymoronic, really, because at the time as when I was delivering the piano, the building was still under construction and there and not all of the windows were installed. For over thirty years, the Twin Towers dominated the New York skyline, like the Empire State Building did before and, sadly, does again now.
I live on the South Shore of Long Island and even from some thirty-odd miles away, the towers were visible, especially from the Great South Bay. The sadness of being out on the water in the week after the attacks and seeing nothing but a pillar of smoke and then, eventually, nothing, was devastating. Especially in contrast to seeing the towers off in the distance, like old friends, for so many years.
My seats at (the old) Giants Stadium were in the end zone of the west side of the stadium. Off to my right, the towers could be seen, looming over the top tier of seats, mute spectators to the sport being played.
Walking on Bleaker Street one could look south down Sullivan or Thompson Streets, for instance, and see the towers piercing the sky in contrast to the 3-4 storey buildings on those blocks, and at night, the spectacle was even more dramatic!
You see, if you lived in New York anytime from the late ‘60’s when the towers were being built until late 2001, they were part of your life.
They took years to build but only hours to destroy.
And with that, almost 3,000 lives were snuffed out that day in New York, The Pentagon and a lonely field in Shanksville Pennsylvania. The last a result of the heroics of a few who found out what had already happened, quickly surmised the plan afoot and took actions to thwart the terrorists dastardly plot, even though they knew their time on, or rather, over, God’s Green Earth was short.
We have been blessed that in the past fourteen years there have not been any more terrorist attacks on our soil. We reacted quickly and decisively in Afghanistan and later in Iraq to do our best to contain and where possible eradicate terrorism.
There are those Americans, even some who hold or aspire to high office, who think our actions in the Sandbox and Afghanistan are foolish, futile and dangerous.
I would have them look at those countries that supported our efforts at first then succumbed to pressure from their Left and abandoned us. With the UK being an anomaly, as they have remained steadfast allies to us, other counties have suffered terrorist attacks in their cities.
Terrorists are not conventional warriors or fighters, they are cowards. Their chief weapon is fear. They will leverage the people’s fear as a weapon to destroy that country. For the life of me, I do not understand why these savages are hell-bent on trying to destroy the world. If they are doing it in the name of their god, then they are apostate as no true God would condone such action. If they are doing it simply for world domination, well, they are attempting to operate above their pay grade as they are throwbacks from the middle ages and could not possible run the world. That is, of course, unless they wish to live in the stone-age.
So why do they attack us? Why do they want to kill us?
I wish I knew. The only plausible reason, discounting the above, is that they are jealous, ignorant or both of those living as a free people. I wish I had a better answer. I am sure my neighbors wish that as well.
Yet, despite the carnage of that day, despite the lives lost, despite the sense of community all across our Country, despite the fact that we freed over 50,000,000 people from bondage in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite the fact that we have been safe on our soil due to the sacrifice of our brave men and women in the Armed Services especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, despite all that and more, there are those who think should turn tail and surrender in Iraq, who think we can negotiate with these cowardly animals, who do not give a large rodents hindquarters about us, in fact hold us in contempt.
I so did not want this to become a political screed but I hear the voices of those who perished that day as clear as a bell. The recordings of the last phone conversations of a husband calling to say “good bye” to his wife and kids are forever in my mind. The sights of people who jumped from a window almost a quarter of a mile high in the sky in a last, desperate attempt to avoid the same fate that awaited them inside the tower are etched indelibly in my mind’s eye. I cannot let it go. I cannot forget. I will never forgive until each and every person who wishes us harm and are willing to act upon that are dispatched to their hating and vengeful god.
When I see a politician wanting to cut the funds to our troops, I see the face of Mohammed Atta.
When I hear the voice of a politician telling us we have lost the war in Iraq, I hear the voice of Usama bin Laden.
When I read an email from the Left that tells me that things have never been worse and that we need a “regime change”, I see the political graffiti of the rest of the terrorists.
When I hear a politician tell me that we need change, I hear those who died that day crying out that we do not need change, we need to stick together and fight this to the end.
Hardly a Saturday from when the weather became pleasant until the first frosts that Lester was not up early, getting his boat ready for a cruise around the bay or just to do some fishing. Hardly a Saturday has passed since 9-11 that I do not think of that.
Do what you want, vote for whomever you wish. If you can live with yourself knowing that your vote might cause the death of many and the destruction of our county, good for you.
If you think I am an alarmist or some nut case, let me posit this: If I told you on September 10th 2001 that the following day, four planes were going to be hijacked and the Twin Towers would be destroyed, that the Pentagon would be severely damaged and that one plane, bound for Washington D.C. would be crashed by the heroic actions of a few brave passengers rather than let the terrorists score another victory, I am equally sure I would have been called an alarmist, nut case or worse.
Remember this, we have to be right all the time, the terrorists have to be right only once.
On this somber day, regardless of your political stripe, I hope you will take time out of your busy day and do something to remember all those who were murdered that day.
If you are inclined to prayer, say one, if not, offer some kind of respectful thought. If there is some kind of public observance, make every honest effort to attend it. If there is not some kind of observation, perhaps you might wish to organize one or have something at your home.
I will try to get out into the bay, imagine Lester there and take a forlorn look to the West and remember a day, a day or more than fourteen years ago, when the silver sentinels stood their post over lower Manhattan. Then off to a prayer service followed by some reflective time.
I will see the faces, I will hear the voices and I will probably shed more than one tear.
I will thank God for all the blessings He has bestowed upon our Country in general and me in particular.
I will pray for those who are protecting us, here and abroad, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I will do a lot.
But I will never forget.
I will never forgive.
God Bless, God Speed and God Bless America