Ground Zero

As I stood at the chain link fence protecting Ground Zero from looting and onlookers from danger, I felt the gravity of the Earth increase four fold. In slow motion, I sank to my knees, and my forehead came to rest on the cool aluminum of the fence.

My ears echoed a cacophony of sounds…

Manhattan 11SEP01

Survivors reading names of the dead…
The agony of a mother’s cry…
Hundreds of footfalls as harried survivors fled…
A breath sucked in that could not escape the gaping mouth of an onlooker…
The thunderous rumble of the desiccated buildings…
Radio, feedback and static as orders squawked from its overworked speaker…
The barking of my friend’s cadaver dog…
Shrill musicality of The Spirit of Louisiana’s siren as it left Baton Rouge en route to Company 343…
The roar of the Blue Angels, shy one fighter…
A flag popping its canvas stripes straight in the wind…
The eerie sound of Taps on a bagpipe…
A twenty-one gun salute…
A saber rattling as a Marine’s salute settled…
The silence of the dead.

Kneeling at that cold fence, tears silently slid down my face as the enormity of the gaping wound in the ground yawned from the exhaustion of seeing already more than one billion pounds of crumbled concrete, twisted steel, dust, paper, dried flowers and disassociated body parts trucked to the East River dock to be barged away.

Acrid stenches of dust, diesel exhaust and the dead accosted my nostrils. My arms empathetically grew heavy feeling the weight hundreds carried, sifting through the debris to piece together the solution to preventing this tragedy in the future.

The weight of my heart pulled toward the hole, inversely desolate to the Towers’ triumph. An overwhelming sadness made my soul want to slide into the grave and comfort the spirits, longing for rest.

In Memory of a Victim of September 11, 2001 te...

9/11 Memorial Service

So many lives shattered in the blink of an eye.
So many who chose to go on their own terms.
So many goodbyes cached on cellular telephones and voice mails.
So many more whose loved ones would never hear that last Always know that I love you.

My fingers found the flag pinned patriotically to my chest. My mind’s eye saw Hawkeye Pierce flip the comment, Stirred, never shaken.

Hope backfilled the void in my heart. American defiance stiffened my spine as I regained my feet, still clutching the little flag. Deep inside me, a voice cried, I shall overcome. The deep resonant tone was filled with the tenor of the dead, the survivors and every person this land had touched.

So galvanized, we had become that day. In 53 tiny minutes, we were the nation that had arrived on the Mayflower. We were one. A family. Americans. I resolved never to let another lose that passion. I had always felt it.

How empty must be the hearts of those who cannot appreciate patriotism? They are the siblings who foolishly let petty rivalry overshadow the bonds of brotherhood. They are children, who will let the selfishness of a wish denied separate them from parental love. On September 11, 2001, as the parent was ripped violently away, the children realized their mistakes.

Firemen Raising Flag at Ground Zero

Firemen Raising Flag at Ground Zero

All of the initiative which had built those towers was still in our grasp. The rallying cry had only become a hollow echo of itself, but from those reverberations could we once again be the shoulder-to-shoulder battalion from whom foes would cringe and from whom the weak would learn. Just as we drew together on September 11, 2001, so we could again draw together to rebuild.

In no other place in the world had such diverse people held each other so closely. No matter our differences, we were one. Americans. Free and brave. We all long to be free and here alone could we be.

As I saw Lady Liberty, mother beckoning to the multitudinous orphans of the world, I knew on that day she had stumbled, yet took heart she had never fallen. She calls to us all to grow into and ever remain the Americans which make her so proud, gently admonishing us to never forget.


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  1. Lest We Forget
    Friggin Loon recently posted..Oh, The HumanityMy Profile

  2. Red, This was excellent, simply excellent.

    You just don’t forget some things in life, you just cannot. God, to have lost someone like that… God Bless All, & for change…

  3. I want to say something… but I have nothing to say because it’s too sad…
    Mysterycoach recently posted..~ 9/11 A Moment of Silence ~My Profile

  4. May we never forget the attack upon us all, no matter where we come from…

    Love and hugs!

    prenin recently posted..Tuesday. A new thread, then more writer’s block.My Profile

    • I will be over to check it out in just a few <3 xxx

      • Love xoxoxoxo
        Good morning 🙂
        i know you are crazy busy right now ……..
        i can feel it from over here ! xoxoxoxoxo
        wish you a beautiful day
        and can’t wait to read UR BOOK 🙂
        the mailman does not like me bugging him at all 🙂
        i can be quite annoying with my questions 🙂 LOLOLOLOLOL XO
        love you and try and have a restful day xo
        Cat Forsley recently posted..Sunshiny Wednesday – Cat Forsley ©My Profile

  5. I LOVE your poetry but this one resonates the most—raw.
    NEVER shall I forget this day. I was at work. Since the age of 15 on and off and then 30 years later, a cousin of mine and I reconnected again adn yet again. Thank you e-mail!
    THAT day, as I mentioned, I was at work, my cousin e-mailed me in great distress. “What is happening?”‘
    One of her sons was on his way, with his fiance, to the Dominican Republic…a mother’s nightmare of not knowing. . .
    I hope none of us forget. How can we?
    Tess Kann recently posted..Flash In The Pan – DinnerMy Profile

    • The only way we can is to fail to teach our children. I feel like we have failed to remember Pearl Harbor, which led to this arrogance as well. We are not invulnerable. Where I was is an address I will never forget. Ever.

  6. Beautiful words, yours, stirring up the same emotions from that day 11 years ago… I will never forget…
    WE must never forget!!!

    BuddhaKat recently posted..First, from this Friday Fractalist…My Profile

    • It is up to us to teach those too young to have comprehended what happened that day. It is the only way we will not forget.


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