9/11

“I still have the shoes I wore to work that day.
The soles are melted and they’re caked in ash.
I keep them in a shoebox with the word “deliverance” written all around it.
They’re kind of like my ark, a reminder of God’s presence and the life I owe to him.”

Stanley Praimnath, 9/11 survivor

It was a day ripe with a cloudless clear blue sky.

The kind of deep blue sky that beckons one to look up..
to look up and far beyond…

It was the second week of September.
Labor day was behind us and fall-break was over a month away.

But there was something about this day, this bright blue day,
that made me stop and pause.

Since it was just before the end of my planning period, I had walked over to our vocational
wing in order to pick up some copies I had run off for my upcoming class.

On the walk over between the two buildings, I caught myself looking up.
Looking up and noting the brilliance of such a beautiful cloudless blue sky.

It was still very summer-like in Georgia despite the calendar reading September 11th…

I walked back into the main building just as the bell was ringing for class change.
I reached the door to my classroom in order to monitor the hallway as the kids
traversed up and down, in and out.

One of my colleagues, a coach who also taught Social Studies down the hall from me,
suddenly came sprinting by my room stopping long enough to tell me to turn on my
television because “we were under attack!”

I can remember asking him to repeat what he had just told me.

“We’re under attack, they’ve attacked New York and now they’re attacking Washington!”

“WHAT?!”

As the kids were filtering in, I ran to turn on the television because
I really wasn’t comprehending what I had just heard.

As everyone began to trickle in, we gathered around the wall-mounted television
just staring at the images taking place in New York.

I remember hearing one of my girls announcing to no one in particular that her dad was
currently on a plane to New York…she needed to call her mom.

Needless to say, the day’s work and lessons were long over before they even began
as we were now in the midst of a tragic moment of our Nation’s indelible history.

That cloudless blue September sky changed our lives that day.
It changed our entire world, forever.

My colleague and friend who had stopped to tell me the tragic news would not live to see
the end of the next school year.
He was unaware that on that most fateful of days, the cancer that was multiplying inside of him,
was insidiously at work.

So much was changing, so much had changed.

It seems almost surreal, but today we have generations who were born well after
the fateful day of change…they are actually unaware that we were, that we are,
now different.

New York
Washington
Pennsylvania

Planes
Buildings
Fields

Simple names of states.
Simple names of things and places.

Yet all these years later, nothing remains simple about them.

Nearly 3000 lives were lost that day.
Many more lives were damaged.

Since that fateful day, many more lives have been lost due to the caustic air
inhaled as responders toiled to find the ashes of remains hiding in between the ashes of debris.

And then a war ensued.

And thus more lives have been lost and damaged.

Yet some people have the audacity to claim that the terribleness of that day was simply our own fault.
Some people think it really matters not that we should even take pause to remember.
Some people think it’s no big deal.

And yet on that day, lives ended.
Dreams were broken.
Hearts were broken.
Lives changed.
We changed.

And so yes, it is a big deal.
It was a horrific day of what seemed like a day of unending change…
and thus, in turn, we are now bound to forever remember…

Because the important thing today is that we must never forget why we have changed
and why all of those broken and shattered lives still matter.

Because if we do forget…if we allow our memories to fade…
then the pain, the suffering, the hurt that was felt by so many,
can and will actually return…

Such sweeping and tremendous pain mustn’t be allowed to ever return…

And so on this 11th day of September, we collectively gather to remember…
as we continue with our healing…
vowing that this will never happen again.

Our country is strong:
These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat.
But they have failed. Our country is strong.
A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.”

Former President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001.

Battle weary

“If you wish to feign confusion in order to lure the enemy on, you must first have perfect discipline; if you wish to display timidity in order to entrap the enemy, you must have extreme courage; if you wish to parade your weakness in order to make the enemy over-confident, you must have exceeding strength”
Tu Mu / Du Mu, (803–852) leading Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty

From camp to camp, through the foul womb of night,
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fixed sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other’s watch.
Fire answers fire, and through their play flames
Each battle sees the other’s umbered face.
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs
Piercing the night’s dull ear; and from the tents
The armorers accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation.

Shakespeare

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(English heraldry shield with ceremonial Union Jacks / Jere’s antiques / Savannah, Georgia /Julie Cook / 2014)

Allow me to introduce you to but a few of the enemy:

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The stripper of leaves and the tank crusher of plants and bushes—it knows no limits (image–Julie Cook)

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The nibbler of tender greens and head of ground troops (image/ Julie Cook)

Procyon_lotor_(Common_raccoon)
The corn ear husker, bird seed thief and chief of covert operations (image / The WWW)

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The blueberry bandit and chief of reconnaissance (image / Julie Cook )

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The burrower, vegetation marauder and chief of subversive forces (image / The WWW)

Do not allow yourself be fooled or lulled into complacency for one minute by the innocent appearances of the axis forces.
This lot, which has combined forces, is a formidable foe.
One that has left me tried, tested, spent and nearly exhausted.
I have used every available defense in my arsenal—those items and strategies which are of a humane nature of course.
And yet I grow weary.

This is the latest image taken from a recent night-time attack:

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The image is one of 4 rows of beans which have been re-eaten and topped off.
Wax and french beans decimated.
The casualty numbers are dangerously and tragically high.

What is at stake you ask.
This:
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The very nourishment and sustenance for my troops—-Er, make that “troop”, as in single, as in my husband. The army of one, led by me, a single commander. . .as in just really two who fight this war.
The crafty enemy is numerous and we are sorely out-maned and out gunned.
The enemy has boldly attacked our food supply lines, we are desperate to fend them off—using every available resource.

I will not be deterred.
No white flag here.
We shall never surrender. . .
“We shall defend our island, (replace island with garden and we’re good)
whatever the cost may be, (time, energy and money)
we shall fight on the beaches, (no beaches here so replace with the word garden again)
we shall fight on the landing grounds, (I suppose our yard could be seen as a landing field)
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, (just the fields)
we shall fight in the hills; (no real hills, maybe a mound or two)
we shall never surrender.

Winston Churchill with a few interjections by cookie