Like it Was Yesterday

 

(Three years ago, I submitted this post in remembrance of the events of 9/11. Today, I offer it again, updated, on the 18th anniversary of the day that changed us forever. Never forget…)

 

Eighteen years ago…
The brilliant cerulean skies over Manhattan
Suddenly, shockingly were interrupted
By the smoke from a misguided burnt offering,
Offered by impassioned false prophets
To a Prophet they never really knew.

Eighteen years ago…
A throng of innocent, ordinary faces
Stared in utter horror and disbelief
At the face of death, approaching them swiftly
In the guise of a great, winged demon,
Its once perfectly resplendent skin
Now engulfed in the flames of Hell,
The air redolent of burning flesh and jet fuel.

And then – this time, before a captive audience – it happened again.

Eighteen years ago…
Desperate, hopeless, sorrowful voices
Left tearful, heartfelt goodbyes
On cold and sterile answering machines
For the ones they would leave behind
To play back again, and again, and again,
Frozen in their grief, their loneliness, their rage,
With merely a voice to hold through the long, sleepless night.

Eighteen years ago…
Knights in shining armor ascended,
Disappearing into the smoky blackness,
Staring down fear, resolute in their mission
To rescue those who were helpless,
Only to become helpless, themselves
As the once proud and mighty towers
Crumbled spectacularly to the ground,
And we witnessed the Baptism of Dust.

Eighteen years ago…
Another winged demon crashed into a Pentagon,
And still another into a pastoral Pennsylvanian field,
And we all shook our heads in shock and bewilderment and terror,
As we helplessly watched what we believed
To surely be the beginning of The End.

Eighteen years ago…
I saw grown men weeping openly:
Television news anchors, stoic and detached,
Now utterly flattened by the sheer relentlessness
Of report after stupefying report
And image upon horrible, graphic image;
Police and firefighters, hearts irreparably shattered
By the overwhelming number of fallen comrades
Who sacrificed everything in upholding
Their sworn, sacred duty;
Business executives who lost scores of dedicated employees,
Just ordinary people, going about their ordinary work,
Gone, all gone;
Office workers, pained with guilt
Over deciding not to go to work that day,
And resolved to earn every subsequent day of life given to them.

Eighteen years ago…
I heard “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Played, of all places,
In front of England’s Buckingham Palace
At the ceremonial Changing of the Guard,
In a remarkably touching display of sympathy and solidarity.
I heard Congressmen, gathered on the Capitol steps
Performing an impromptu, earnest and defiant rendition
Of “God Bless America”…

And I felt the embrace of the world.

Eighteen years ago…
So many other things happened that September day;
So many acts of courage, of strength,
Of sacrifice, of compassion.
Of Love.

And eighteen years later, I remember it all,
Just like…

 

 

A Month to Save a Life

 

September is National Suicide Prevention Month in America.

Two years ago this month, I wrote a series of posts on this topic, “A Ray of Light”, Parts 1-4. I invite you to read them if this is something that concerns you or someone you know. I shared information about the signs a person may be suicidal, what to do for someone who is, and who to contact for help.

This means something to me. I myself have had suicidal thoughts in the past, and came close to doing it once, and I lost an uncle to it many years ago.

It still registers as a national health crisis, as often as it occurs, and it’s getting worse. The statistics bear that out.

And I have to ask, why is that so? Where are we failing these people?

Is word not getting out that help is available? Is suicide still too uncomfortable a subject to mention in public?

Well, how comfortable are we with all these people killing themselves?

Folks, we have to talk about this more. We need to be perceptive around our friends and family. We need to not be ashamed to ask for help. We need to not hesitate to ask to help.

During this month that focuses on suicide, let’s all make it our focus. It’s extremely important. We’ve got to get a handle on this. Way too many precious lives are needlessly lost every year, every day. We can put an end to it.

Life can really suck sometimes, I know. But let’s all face it together. None of us has to alone. Please, reach out for help. Don’t give up.

 

I almost gave up 33 years ago. I’m glad it didn’t happen.

Shooting My Mouth Off

 

“NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart has ordered workers to remove video game signs and displays that depict violence from stores nationwide after 22 people died in a shooting at one of its Texas stores but will continue to sell guns. (Italics mine)

“Walmart will still sell the violent video games and hasnt made any changes to its gun sales policy, despite pressure from workers, politicians and activists to do so.”

Well, hip hooray for Walmart. I feel safer already. Thanks for standing up.

(smack forehead here)

What else can I say? Guns rule.

 

The Candidate 2019

 

I think it’s important to note what subjects we haven’t discussed. We completely ignored the fact that this is a society divided by fear, hatred, and violence. And until we talk about what this society really is, now, I don’t know how we’re gonna change it. For  example, we haven’t discussed the rot that destroys our cities. We have all the resources we need to check it, and we haven’t used them, and we haven’t discussed why not. We haven’t discussed race in this country. We haven’t discussed poverty. In short, we haven’t discussed any of the sicknesses that may yet send this country up in flames. And we’d better do it. We’d better get it out in the open and confront it, before it’s too late. Thank you.

Bill McKay (Robert Redford), “The Candidate”, 1972

 

You know what made me think of this outstanding (and remarkably timely) movie I haven’t thought of in many years?

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Marianne Williamson, bestselling author and spiritual leader-turned-Democratic Candidate for President.

Williamson, like Candidate Bill McKay, isn’t interested in talking about the problems facing this country, so much as why these problems exist in the first place. She understands the patient gets better when the disease is treated, not just the symptoms.

And, so far, she’s the only candidate who talks about the disease, in terms we’re not used to hearing from a Presidential candidate.

Just take this example from the first Democratic Candidates Debate:

I’m sorry we haven’t talked more tonight about how we’re going to beat Donald Trump. I have an idea about Donald Trump: Donald Trump is not going to be beaten just by insider politics talk. He’s not going to be beaten just by somebody who has plans. He’s going to be beaten by somebody who has an idea what the man has done. This man has reached into the psyche of the American people and he has harnessed fear for political purposes.

So, Mr. President — if you’re listening — I want you to hear me, please: You have harnessed fear for political purposes, and only love can cast that out. So I, sir, I have a feeling you know what you’re doing. I’m going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field, and sir, love will win.

Or this one from the second Debate, addressed to the other candidates:

If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days.

See what I mean? It all boils down to love versus hate. The root of the problems.

How many politicians do you hear framing their solutions for America in those terms?

And it’s resonating with a lot of Americans. Just as donald trump’s simple “Make America Great Again” mantra did with so many voters in 2016. Marianne Williamson has tapped into the psyche of America in a way the other candidates are ignoring, or simply don’t know how.

Sure, a lot of folks are laughing at her, especially in the media, for what they view as her wacky, New Age bull$#!t, but a lot of others believe in her and support her.

Williamson is extraordinarily smart. Just browse her campaign site, https://marianne2020.com to see how well versed she is on the issues, and her ideas on how to solve them. The lady’s done her homework.

And she’s different. Need I remind you what people liked about trump?

Would she be a great President? I frankly doubt it. She has no experience, and we’ve already seen what kind of trouble that can produce. Plus, her views on things such as vaccinations and mental illness are too controversial for some people. But, she has made herself part of the conversation, and I hope she stays in it as long as possible. If nothing else, she’s making it interesting.

Calling All Geezers

 

Hey, all you old buzzards out there! Concerned about climate change, but feel at a loss for what to do about it?

Let me introduce you to Elders Climate Action (https://eldersclimateaction.org), a nationwide network of senior citizens who want to have a part in influencing policy changes in our government regarding climate change.

As I have said on here before, I believe climate change is THE biggest issue we face today, because all the other issues mean nothing if none of us are here. And that’s where we’re headed, if we don’t make some large-scale changes ASAP to our climate policy.

Elders Climate Action is an aggregation of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles united in doing everything we can (yes, we; I’m a very new member) to assure this planet is still inhabitable for future generations. You can be as active as you are able and willing, whether you get out in your community, or never leave your home, there’s something you can do.

I encourage all of you to check out their website and see if, like me, you decide Elders Climate Action is something you want to be part of. But, even if not, maybe what you see there will inspire you to take some action, big or small, in the fight against climate change.

The kids need us. Let’s do this for them. Thank you.