"The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
September 11, 2001 (A day that neither myself nor the rest of the world will ever forget.)
I was so happy when I woke up this morning. It was a beautiful day and I had finally shaken the depression that had plagued me the week before. I put on the water for my coffee and walked over to my computer and waited patiently for the kettle to whistle, just as I had already begun doing.I sat down at my desk and began making a copy of the the soundtrack from the movie "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" I was making it for my brother, Donnie. Music is my passion and I love sharing my favorite. I knew my brother would enjoy this particular soundtrack and I was anxious to get it finished and in the mail to him.
I started typing out a letter to enclose with his gift. I began with, "Hi Brother, where art thou?" given my farcical sense of humor. I went on to tell him how much I thought he would enjoy my gift of music that I so lovingly put together for him. As I whistled and typed the final paragraph, my telephone rang; my very frantic aunt on the other end. With hysteria in her voice, she instructed me to turn the news on. I expected the worst, given her frantic state. I turned on the television just in time to see an airliner crashing into an already burning building. The "collision" was being played over and over and over.My first thought was of my darling brother, a Delta pilot who flies into New York City often. The news had not yet reported what airline it was.
I raced to the phone and frantically began dialing his cell phone number only to get his voicemail.O brother, where are thou? was racing through my mind. I hung up and tried again, this time hearing his beautiful voice at the other end of the phone saying, "Hello." I broke down. He assured me that he was okay and was sitting in LAX waiting for a plane to take him home for the start of a much needed vacation. However, his vacation would have to begin later, as all flights across the country had been canceled. This was serious.
As a former fighter pilot for the Air National Guard, my brother stated that we would surely go to war. Now my heart was aching for the other very important man in my life, my son, Ryan, who joined the United States Air Force a couple of years ago. I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me by Satan. I told my brother I would let him go so as to free up the phone for other concerned family members calls, but not before I said, "I love you and please stay safe."
As I was hanging up the phone the sun was disappearing and claps of thunder could be heard in the distance. It scared me and maybe for a fleeting moment I envisioned the world ending. The storm became so bad that I had to shut down my computer as lightning was striking everywhere. I couldn't help but think how coincidental this storm was. It had been such a beautiful and sunshiny morning.
I called my brother back a couple of hours later to find out what the mood was at LAX. He said he had gone to a very crowded car rental agency after LAX had been evacuated. He rented a van and then asked if there was anyone who wanted a ride to Tucson, Phoenix or anywhere in between. He had several takers as he embarked on the eight hour journey. He had a van full of strangers who were united by horrific disaster, but that were not forced to mourn alone. Clearly it would be a trip that none of them could or would ever forget.
I managed to muster up a slight smile at the thought of my dear brother commandeering this van from the "pilot's seat" while still in his Delta uniform. If you knew my brother, you would know that all of his passengers on that day were riding in "First Class." I will now go pray for all the victims, their family and friends. I will pray for this country and the state it is in. I will pray for the subsequent deaths that this will lead to and then I will thank our most loving God for the safety of my brother, my best friend.
THE GREATEST LOSS
by Robin Garrett-Welsh
I kissed your lips and straightened your tie,
Sent you off with a warm good-bye.
"I love you, have a nice day,"
the very last words you'd hear me say.
I wish that I had hugged you tight,
when we crawled in our bed last night.
I wish I'd have told you how much you mean to me,
I wish, I wish, I wish for things that'll never be.
An attack on America, and end to our dreams,
life is much shorter than originally seems.
A country too lenient allowing terrorists to sing,
a useless attack so that freedom may ring.
September 12, 2001