Fourteen years ago, I was laying on the couch in my home in Westborough mass. Bunny and I were watching HGTV about planting bulbs or some such.
My phone rang…and rang again. HGTV would not interrupt their programming if there was a Second Coming…
I said don’t bother to answer the phone. We were both supposd to be gone. I was scheduled to fly to New York City to teach a class starting the next day. I didn’t have an early flight or a Sunday flight, just an afternoon flight. At the time, NYC was about an hour away by plane.
And with the third set of rings, she broke down and answered the phone. My brother, just asked frantically as a tiny voice “Where is he?”…
Bunny answered “On the couch…”
She called me to change the channel. At that moment, our lives changed,
I phoned my parents to let them know that I was not on a plane from Boston and my Mother humorously said before she knew of the purpose of my call “If you’re not working…who will pay for our Social Security?”
And then I told her to put down the Kansas City Star and turn on the TV News. The last thing I remember her saying was “Frank…Come here..They’re attacking us”.
Bunny had called me to change the channel.
At that moment, our lives changed, fears and suspicions filled us for months. I remeber simple flights changed and lines of fear and mistrust grew. We were spectators in a different world. We had no more control over our world that we had had before but it had all changed. We disliked the players, we loathed the game…but it had all changed.
We were helpless. We soaked in everyword from the television, from the radio and from our friends. At one time, we were instructed to line our windows and doors with duct tape and we knew that our family was helpless and that we teetered on a thin edge. Not since my family many years before had gathered food and supplies in the 60’s, during the Cuban Missile Crisis had we felt the terror. As a family, we made plans, we searched for holes where we could gather and we waited for the bombs to fall.
We were guided by fools, surrounded by many that would curse us for being Anti-American and terrorists and that we didn’t love our country.
We did love our Country but it had been taken from us. Sadness filled my heart when a late night comedy talk show out of New York, finally returned to the air and they talked softly to a newsman who had seen a hundred wars, squatted in mud and ditches and told us what he saw. I only remember him breaking down in tears after saying he could never say the words to the song America the Beautiful again without remembering the death, the falling towers, the people running in terror.
As he cried, he uttered “We have already lost the War and we have not fired a shot…” They cut to a commercial. When they returned, he apologized to the audience saying that he was a newsman, a professional and should have been able to tell the story without the emotion.
But his words were right: “We have already lost the War and we have not fired a shot…”
Bunny knew something was wrong. She knew that whatever we were being fed that something was just not right. At the upcoming 4th of July parade in our little town, she wanted to hold signs of Peace.
New fears took hold and more died and the battles and the death drags on today 14 years later.
A final thought. At a time when I had money, I bought art..oil paintings, etchings, antique posters to crowd our walls. In August of 2001, I purchased a painting from a young artist, Lapusan in Romania, I received it. It was dated July 2001. A few days following 9/11, I took the painting to my favorite framers in New England. When the framers unrolled the painting, they both said “That was quick! I am surprised the oil has dried”
I questioned them and they both pointed to a corner of the painting that clearly shows a plane flying into buildings. I always wondered how that kid, painting in July in Romania, knew.
I remember that he was a artist and the artists saw the world differently.
Remember today, remember the thousands that were killed by misguided men filled with blood hate, killed innocents needlessly by twisting the words of a God and remember the hundreds of thousands of children and mothers and fathers and our own sons and daughters who were killed or injured needlessly to fill the pockets of all those whose spirits were filled with greed.
It has been 14 years and we need to find another way