Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cease Fire Pact

September 11, 1991, a date, as Roosevelt would say, that will live in infamy.

May it always be remembered and may it always remind us of what we are and what we stand for in the eyes of the world. But, most of all may the memory of it remind those that would attack us that we are a people united even though it may appear to them we are a nation divided.

As the old saying goes " I have the right to pick a fight with my brother but don't you dare. For if you pick a fight with my brother you pick a fight with the both of us."

On that date seven years ago, as happened on December 7, 1941, someone decided to pick a fight with one of our brothers and history will record the unity that followed. Let us declare a Cease fire among ourselves this day in memory of that act of infamy.

One of my friends added a tribute of his own in comments that is worthwhile taking the time to read. Thank you, BB-Idaho, for sharing with me and all who visit such a beautiful letter.


BB-Idaho said...

I wasn't but a year old yet, when
Pearl Harbor went up in flames; as a college senior, I remember the shock of the Kennedy assassination;
then a few years back, gathering by the TV in the company cafeteria
on Sept 11, watching with a large group in silent horror. These things stand out in our memory as
defining points. Each Sept 11, I
re-read a note my professor daughter sent from West Point a few days after that horrible event.
I'd like to share:
Dear Dad,
Today there was a memorial service here at West Point on the Point. That is the place where we went to see the fireworks, where you can see all the way down the Hudson River to where the river bends at Newbourgh, the route Henry Hudson took on the Half Moon three and a half centuries ago. (I read in the paper several days ago that a group of fourth graders from Albany were on a replica of the Half Moon on the Hudson when the World Trade Center was hit. One can only imagine the effect on those kids.) It was a pretty cold day for standing outside, windy and rainy. Many of the service personnel did not bring rain jackets and so were standing in the cold and wet without much protection at all. Given the weather and the fact that a history paper is due today, I didn't think the turnout from the cadet side of the academy would be very great. Nevertheless, I saw several of my students down toward the front.

The service consisted of about five separate prayers, a reading from Psalms, and the singing of "God Bless America" by a very talented African American lady who is a member of the USMA band at the beginning and end of the service. At the end of the service, I was surprised and gladdened by the sight of approximately 2,500 somber cadets filing back to the barracks. They were all taking the path to the left side of the parade field in the form of a long, gray line. It meant a great deal to see that these kids cared enough to come to a memorial service in the cold, wind, and rain, with a history paper due, forgoing their lunch. Because of the large crowd in attendance, the event was probably nearly inaudible and visible to the cadets at the back. Yet they still came. What a great privilege to teach students like that.

There were two events that took place during the memorial service, which, though they might be considered insignificant during the course of a normal day, seemed to be of great significance during the service. The first was that halfway through the service a small plane buzzed by fairly low to one side of the Point. You could feel everyone in the crowd shrink mentally from the presence of that plane and think to themselves, "friendly, enemy or neutral?" It was an unpleasant moment, but the plane buzzed away into the fog and didn't reappear.

The other event took place during the second singing of "God Bless America" at which time the professional singer and the gathered observers sang together. Before the song started, I had observed a group of twenty or so birds of prey (how did they know we had gathered to pray?) gracefully riding thermals above the Hudson River to the left side of the Point. Higher and higher they rose together in harmonious graceful spirals, no doubt keeping an eye out for prey below. As we were singing "Oh, Beautiful, for Spacious Skies" one of the birds separated from the group and flew very gently and pointedly away from the group and towards the Point. As we continued to sing, its white-tipped wings were outlined against the tree-covered mountain momentarily, and the avid Wisconsin born hunter to my right said, "Oh my...that's an eagle.". As we continued to sing, the eagle circled over us in graceful loops again and again, with purpose but without haste, above, and then over the crowd. It did not leave our view until the end of the song, when it soared with dignity toward the mountains to the left.

I took it as a sign of the perseverance of our nation during these trying times.


heidianne jackson said...

wow. amazing accounts on both counts. thank you.

Lista said...

Griper, BB,
Very nice. Both of you.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thanks for the post, Griper; and thanks BB-Idaho, for sharing that.


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