Nine Eleven

I remember the day vividly; there were crystal blue skies, warm and ample sunshine, comfortable temperatures, a picture perfect fall day in New England.

The date was September 11, 2001 and I was just getting into work (selling pianos at the time) when the phone rang.
It was my friend Colin, a piano technician from the store where I worked calling to tell me he’d heard on the radio that a plane had just flew into the World Trade Center in NYC.
It must have been a terrible accident we both agreed, a freakish malfunction of an old turbine perhaps, a minor incident but nevertheless a tragic loss of life of strangers neither of us would probably ever know.
At the time, it seemed safer thinking of it that way.
It was a small plane, Colin said and that made me feel better.
Fewer people meant fewer casualties in a city the size of New York.

 

After I hung up the phone, it occurred to me that something didn’t seem quite right about the conversation. Couldn’t put my finger on it but something was wrong.
I knew it and Colin knew it, we just didn’t want to say it.

I mean, planes just don’t fly into buildings, do they?

My question was promptly answered when the phone rang 15 minutes later.
It was Colin again sounding a bit nervous.

Another plane? Jesus Christ, what the hell is going on? I asked.

He went on to tell me that both of the towers were hit and that it looked like we were at war.

War? I thought, With who?

I went outside and looked up into the sky for a sign that the world was still alright and all I saw was the endless crystal blue of the atmosphere but I noticed something else; there was an eerie stillness and silence hanging in the balance.

Word got around quickly that the US had been attacked as we began adding words to our daily lexicon: WTC, 9-11, Atta, Al Qaida, Al-Jazeera . . .

The dark truths would begin to bleed through the seemingly impenetrable fabric of our lives virtually changing all of us, forever.

The phones started ringing at the store . . . but not from customers.
The calls were from wives to husbands, sons to mothers, sisters to brothers – with one simple question; are you okay?
By noontime the phones stopped ringing and business ceased as the United States was brought to its very knees.

I can’t help but think of the same three words I thought on that horrible day: God Help Us

 

I still pray for all that we lost that day; the brilliant lives, our {unjustifiable} innocence and our shattered sense of {false} security.
We were too blind for far too long.

My words describing that day are still woefully inadequate but my thoughts and feelings of incomprehensibility are still so incredibly tender and raw.

I want badly to forgive but I still can’t.

God Bless all those we lost.

As Annie said, turn those headlights on . . .

~m

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Three Words

Although I don’t consider myself a devout catholic, I do attend mass most Sunday mornings. I see the hour or so spent there as a sort of a sacred in-house inventory if you will, a pensive look into my soiled soul and the now dormant week that was.

This past Sunday, a question I’ve thought about a thousand times jumped out at me from the weekly bulletin.
It’s really quite simple:
What would you do if you knew you only had 24 hours to live?
What would you say and whom would you say it to?

In the aftermath of 9/11, I firmly believe that now more than ever, tomorrow is promised to absolutely no one.
Many victims on the ill-fated flights and the upper floors of a crumbling World Trade Center had cell phones that day and made calls to the people that mattered most to them.

Are you surprised?

I didn’t think so.

I’ve yet to listen to one of the recorded phone calls but I’ve no doubt it’s ‘heartbreaking squared’.
In my heart, I also know that every single conversation ended with three words:
I love you.

The dark acceptance of the raw reality of death makes us reach out and touch the special people that matter the most to us.
Sports cars, 80ft yachts, mansions, small islands, diamonds and all the gold ingots in the world are effortlessly rendered worthless.
Kind of cool, IMHO.

If you were told tonight you wouldn’t live to see another blazing orange creamsicle sunrise, I’m thinking there would be an undeniable clarity regarding the ultimate worth of the precious gifts (people) in your life.

Why wait until you’re backed into some abysmal corner before you take some action?
I ask everyone reading this post to call someone today (or tonight) because, to be quite honest, tomorrow is already peaking around the corner.
Do you want to take that chance?
I’m only talking about three simple words.
Can you do that for me?
I knew that you could . . .

 

~m

Coach Osama?

wwjd

Let’s say that hypothetically you have a child in high school.

This child also plays a sport.

They come home one night from practice and hand you THIS.
(scroll to the bottom of the page for a sample of a letter written by Mitch Albom)

Said child is then instructed to visualize their team as ‘America’ and see the opposing team as Osama bin Laden.

Hypothetically, this misguided and unjustifiable inspirational tactic is tasteless and just shy of unconscionable; to use one of this nation’s greatest tragedies as a coaching tool for children truly makes one truly wonder about the future of scholastic sports and some coaching styles as well.
Is this the kind of vicious mentality you would want instilled in your child?
I guess I’m just wondering…hypothetically, that is.
And why on earth would anyone use the words of Mitch Albom for a purpose such as this? Albom is a wonderful writer and would find this scenario incredibly disturbing.

Any thoughts?

~m

Amy and the City of Angels

angel

“That’s all an angel is….an idea of God.”
Meister Eckhart

There are three days that will forever stand out in my mind:
11.22.1963 (J.F.K. Assassinated), 1.28.1986 (Space Shuttle Challenger) and 9.11.2001 (WTC).
I remember driving to work on the morning of 9/11 and thinking how beautiful a day it was; magnificent sunshine with an indigo blue sky dotted with the occasional white puff of cloud. Nothing could go wrong today, I thought.
It was shortly after 9AM that I received the first phone call of the day from a friend that had been listening to his car radio and heard a broadcast that would forever change the social landscape of the United States.
After I hung up the phone, I had a sinking feeling that the world as I once knew it could never be the same. Unfortunately, my deepest intuitions were undoubtedly correct.
9/11 was a day that found me feeling very disconnected regarding the catastrophic events that were unraveling before my eyes.
I knew no one that died that day yet somehow felt I knew them all.
The feeling was uncomfortable and eerie.

When I heard about the 2,996 campaign, I thought it was a wonderful idea.
I wanted to be part of the crusade that would pay tribute to every person that died on 9/11.
I went to the DC Roe website and filled out a few forms before hitting the ‘submit’ button to be assigned my victim.
When I saw the name “Amy N. Jarret” appear on my screen, the strangest thing happened; I no longer felt the disconnection I’d felt on 9/11.
For me, that tragic day was now very real and intensely personal.

Amy N. Jarret, 28, of North Smithfield, R.I., was a flight attendant on United Airlines Flight 175, a daily trip that touched down at LAX in Los Angeles.
UA175 was the second plane hijacked from Logan International.
It was flown into the WTC’s South Tower and seen on live TV across the nation.
I can’t imagine the unspeakable horror for Amy’s relatives that were forced to re-live her final moments on that day over and over again.
I found several sites on the internet that quote Amy’s father, Aram Jarret.
I wanted to include the quotes if only to give you a sense of who Amy really was.

“She was the consummate professional,” the 58-year-old North Smithfield, R.I. attorney said yesterday of his 28-year-old daughter, the third of his four children. “She was smart, professional, very helpful, and she had no hesitation about putting someone in their place.”

“If there’s a crisis, then she would always be one of those people you’d want with you,” he said. “I don’t know what happened up there, but she would have been one of those people trying to do the right thing.”
“But what strikes me is just how senseless this whole thing is, and it’s tragic that innocent people get caught in this,” said Jarret. “She had no chance.”

Amy loved slot machines and betting on racehorses.
It’s conceivable that I could have been standing next to her as she played slots on one of my occasional journeys to Foxwoods.
She was also a diehard Notre Dame fan; that alone puts her in a class all by herself.
Maybe the most sacred thing that happened on 9/11 to Amy Jarret was that instead of flying to the City of Angels, Amy was finally flying with them.
I will continue to take comfort in the fact that her soul went skyward that day, towards the expansive blue heaven she so obviously loved.

Sleep in sweet peace, Amy.
We will always remember…

Amy

~m

*To read more tributes, go to DC Roe

Steve “Jake” Jacoby

jacoby

I visited the DC Roe website the other day and saw that there was a bit of a dilemma.
It seems that there were a number of blogs/URL’s that turned out to be invalid.
This left many victims of 9/11 without a tribute.
It was optional to request a second victim but I felt I had to.
The man you see above is Steven D. Jacoby. Steve was the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of a paging and wireless messaging service called Metrocall.
He was on his way to Los Angeles departing from Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. on American Airlines flight 77, the plane that struck the Pentagon.

An online guestbook provides some nice insight into who Steve Jacoby really was.
From all that I’ve read, it seems he was a man that broke the mold of the ‘traditional’ business executive by his humility and uncanny ability to relate to his fellow worker.
He was a friend first, a boss second.
Steve left behind a wife and three children.
I hope and pray that in his final hour he was able to utilize the communications company he worked so hard to make successful.
I pray he was able to just say goodbye.
Godspeed, Jake…

Alexandria

*for more tributes, go to DC Roe

~m

Steve "Jake" Jacoby

jacoby

I visited the DC Roe website the other day and saw that there was a bit of a dilemma.
It seems that there were a number of blogs/URL’s that turned out to be invalid.
This left many victims of 9/11 without a tribute.
It was optional to request a second victim but I felt I had to.
The man you see above is Steven D. Jacoby. Steve was the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of a paging and wireless messaging service called Metrocall.
He was on his way to Los Angeles departing from Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. on American Airlines flight 77, the plane that struck the Pentagon.

An online guestbook provides some nice insight into who Steve Jacoby really was.
From all that I’ve read, it seems he was a man that broke the mold of the ‘traditional’ business executive by his humility and uncanny ability to relate to his fellow worker.
He was a friend first, a boss second.
Steve left behind a wife and three children.
I hope and pray that in his final hour he was able to utilize the communications company he worked so hard to make successful.
I pray he was able to just say goodbye.
Godspeed, Jake…

Alexandria

*for more tributes, go to DC Roe

~m