Senior Stories

September 11th, 2001: Patriot Day

September 11th Patriot Day

NOT ALL HEROES ARE PEOPLE

This is a true story which happened on September 11th, 2001!!!

James Crane worked on the 101st of Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. He is blind, so he has a golden retriever named Daisy. After the plane hit 20 stories below, James knew that he was doomed, so he let Daisy go out of an act of love.

With tears in her eyes she darted away into the darkened hallway. Choking on the fumes of the jet fuel and the smoke, he was just waiting to die. About 30 minutes later, Daisy comes back along with James’ boss, who Daisy just happened to pick up on floor 112. On her first run of the building, she leads James, James’ boss, and about 300 more people out of the doomed building.

But she wasn’t through yet, she knew there were others who were trapped. So, highly against James’ wishes, she ran back in the building. On her second run, she saved 392 lives. Again she went back in.

The Greatest Generation? Perhaps No More Than Today’s Heroes

During this run, the building collapses. James hears about this and falls on his knees into tears. Against all known odds, Daisy makes it out alive, but this time she is carried by a firefighter. “She lead us right to the people, before she got injured” the fireman explained. Her final run saved another 273 lives. She suffered acute smoke inhalation, severe burns on all four paws, and a broken leg, but she saved 967 lives.

The next week, Mayor Giuliani rewards Daisy with the Canine Medal of Honor of New York. Daisy is the first civilian Canine to win such an honor!!!

AS FOR WHAT TO DO WITH OSAMA BIN LADEN:

Killing him will only create a martyr. Holding him prisoner will inspire his comrades to take hostages to demand his release.

Therefore, I suggest we do neither.

Let the Special Forces, Seals or whatever covertly capture him, fly him to an undisclosed hospital and have surgeons quickly perform a complete sex change operation. Then, we return her to Afghanistan to live as a woman under the Taliban.


AMERICA

As the soot and dirt and ash rained down,
We became one color.
As we carried each other down the stairs of the
burning building,
We became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting and hope,
We became one generation.
As the firefighters and police officers fought their
way into the inferno,
We became one gender.
As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength,
We became one faith.
As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement,
We spoke one language.
As we gave our blood in lines a mile long,
We became one body.
As we mourned together the great loss,
We became one family.
As we cried tears of grief and loss,
We became one soul.
As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heroes,
We become one people.

American: Can Feel Proud Today

We are
One color
One class
One generation
One gender
One faith
One language
One body
One family
One soul
One people

We are The Power of One.
We are United.
We are America.


DEEPAK CHOPRA ON September 11th

The Deeper Wound

As fate would have it, I was leaving New York on a jet flight that took off 45 minutes before the unthinkable happened. By the time we landed in Detroit, chaos had broken out. When I grasped the fact that American security had broken down so tragically, I couldn’t respond at first. My wife and son were also in the air on separate flights, one to Los Angeles, one to San Diego. My body went absolutely rigid with fear. All I could think about was their safety, and it took several hours before I found out that their flights had been diverted and both were safe.
Strangely, when the good news came, my body still felt that it had been hit by a truck. Of its own accord it seemed to feel a far greater trauma that reached out to the thousands who would not survive and the tens of thousands who would survive only to live through months and years of hell. And I asked myself, Why didn’t I feel this way last week? Why didn’t my body go stiff during the bombing of Iraq or Bosnia? Around the world my horror and worry are experienced every day. Mothers weep over horrendous loss, civilians are bombed mercilessly, refugees are ripped from any sense of home or homeland. Why did I not feel their anguish enough to call a halt to it?

As we hear the calls for tightened American security and a fierce military response to terrorism, it is obvious that none of us has any answers. However, we feel compelled to ask some questions.

Everything has a cause, so we have to ask, What was the root cause of this evil? We must find out not superficially but at the deepest level. There is no doubt that such evil is alive all around the world and is even celebrated.

Does this evil grow from the suffering and anguish felt by people we don’t know and therefore ignore? Have they lived in this condition for a long time?

One assumes that whoever did this attack feels implacable hatred for America. Why were we selected to be the focus of suffering around the world?

All this hatred and anguish seems to have religion at its basis. Isn’t something terribly wrong when jihads and wars develop in the name of God? Isn’t God invoked with hatred in Ireland, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, and even among the intolerant sects of America?

Can any military response make the slightest difference in the underlying cause? Is there not a deep wound at the heart of humanity?

If there is a deep wound, doesn’t it affect everyone?

When generations of suffering respond with bombs, suicidal attacks, and biological warfare, who first developed these weapons? Who sells them? Who gave birth to the satanic technologies now being turned against us?

If all of us are wounded, will revenge work? Will punishment in any form toward anyone solve the wound or aggravate it? Will an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and limb for a limb, leave us all blind, toothless and crippled?

Tribal warfare has been going on for two thousand years and has now been magnified globally. Can tribal warfare be brought to an end? Is patriotism and nationalism even relevant anymore, or is this another form of tribalism?

What are you and I as persons going to do about what is happening? Can we afford to let the deeper wound fester any longer?

Everyone is calling this an attack on America, but is it not a rift in our collective soul? Isn’t this an attack on civilization from without that is also from within?

When we have secured our safety once more and cared for the wounded, after the period of shock and mourning is over, it will be time for soul searching. I only hope that these questions are confronted with the deepest spiritual intent. None of us will feel safe again behind the shield of military might and stockpiled arsenals. There can be no safety until the root cause is faced. In this moment of shock I don’t think anyone of us has the answers. It is imperative that we pray and offer solace and help to each other. But if you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred against anyone in the world at this moment, we are contributing to the wounding of the world.

Love, Deepak


I AM THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

I am the flag of the United States of America. My name is Old Glory. I fly atop the world’s tallest buildings. I stand watch in America’s halls of justice. I fly majestically over institutions of learning. I stand guard with power in the world. Look up and see me.

I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice. I stand for freedom. I am confident. I am arrogant. I am proud.

When I am flown with my fellow banners, my head is a little higher, my colors a little truer.

I bow to no one! I am recognized all over the world. I am worshipped – I am saluted. I am loved – I am revered. I am respected-and I am feared.

I have fought in every battle of every war for more then 200 years. I was flown at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Shiloh and Appomattox. I was there at San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, in the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome and the beaches of Normandy, Guam, Okinawa. The people of Korea, Vietnam and Kuwait know me as a banner of freedom. I was there. I led my troops, I was dirty, worn and tired, but my soldiers cheered me And I was proud. I have been burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries I have helped set free. It does not hurt, for I am invincible.

I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stood watch over the uncharted frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon. I have borne silent witness to all of America’s finest hours. But my finest hours are yet to come.

Ragged Old Flag

When I am torn into strips and used as bandages for my wounded comrades on the battlefield, When I am flown at half-mast to honor my countryman, when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving parent at the grave of their fallen son or daughter, or in the arms of a child or spouse who will have to go on without one who gave their life in a national disaster to save the life of another, as so many did at the Pentagon or the World Trade Center Towers on September 11th, 2001.

MY NAME IS OLD GLORY,
LONG MAY I WAVE.


HAS THE September 11th TRAGEDY CHANGED YOUR LIFE? WILL IT?

We seniors, who have lived through The Depression, W.W.II, and a host of troubles and wars since then, suffer for the first time a failure of faith in the security of America. No wonder we’re angry, gloomy and confused.


THE FALL OF YOUR LIFE

YOU’LL NEVER BE THIS YOUNG AGAIN!

by Gar Sleep from his collection of columns

Here in Senior Square, as summer turns out the lights, we sometimes feel we’re turning back to square one.

It’s World War II all over again.

Another Pearl Harbor, this time, towering in casualties.

A more youthful FDR takin’ to talkin’ on the TV, radio’s fireside chats no longer passing muster.

Two American Presidents strikingly alike in so many different ways.

FDR’s favorite song: “Home, Home on the Range.”

GWB’s favorite home: home, home on the range.

One might even say, welcome back to the Yankee Doodle Dandy World that reared us good. (Thank you, George M. Cohan, we hardly knew ye.)

We’ve just beamed down to Star-Spangled 3, the sequel, courtesy of Dan Rather and the CBS Evening News.

Listen! The many shapes and shades of a slim-downed Kate Smith, rendering “God Bless America,” our new national anthem, in English and a second language somehow understood globally. A kind of Tower of Babel rewind.

Having incurred such loss of innocent lives on September 11th, 2001, there’s something almost indecent about the Entertainment Book of today, filling in for the rationing books, gasoline coupons and ‘nylons in a bottle’ we “suffered” through on the homefront following December 7, 1941. (If only Don Ameche had invented the panty hose decades earlier, Rosie the Riveter would have thanked him very much.)

Back in the early 40’s, the neighborhood air raid wardens, like Uncle Hammy, flashlight in hand, were “at the ready,” dispatched from local firehouse (across the street from what is now The Mr. Pastie Home Bakery.) Air raid “black out” drills were like that. Unnerving sirens, the closest call to Edward R. Murrow’s “London Calling,” the nightly CBS broadcast from rooftop perch, bombs bursting all around

In today’s War, the American firehouse dispatches hero’s…real time.

As an AARP cardholder, with grandchildren who are now the age we were in WWII, we are still kids, but this time ’round, spring has passed and fall has descended. The generation who lived through two Pearl Harbors, just as surely as those veterans who marched in the Memorial Day Parades of our youth bore witness to two World Wars.

Just about now, you’d gladly surrender all the 10 percent discounts, your trainer and your GP, only too happy to trade all your transplants for the new parts of your teendom with which you originally came fully equipped from the factory and took so much for granted…back then. Sure, you know for sure, you are still so fleet of foot you can overtake Fie, Foh and Fum, in a foot loose and fancy-free marathon in an “okey-dokey” minute. Su-u-u-u-re you can.

But that phone call that always interrupts your dinner hour is never from the local draftboard.

Just because you’re a Septuagenarian in the September of your life, is no reason for Colin Powell to classify you 4-F, sight-on-seen.

As an old trouper, the Patriarch and/or Matriarch of our family, in the great tradition of Bonanza (the TV series, not the restaurant); let us remember, nevertheless, we’ll never be younger than this.

Just this once, take leave of senior corner at church during the welcoming “tour of duty,” and mosey on over to engage young person afoot or bench-driven.

A handshake, a smile, an arm ’round shoulder or just plain sharing a prayer request at altar on bended knee…

There is an outside chance…

Young might rub off.

On the young.

Surrogate grandparenthood may be just what America needs in a World War, third generation removed.

IN OTHER WORDS: “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the Eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:5)


A BEAUTIFUL CHRISTIAN PRAYER


AMERICA, THE GOOD (from a Canadian newspaper)

Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast from

Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator. What follows is the full text of his trenchant remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:

This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.

Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.

The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans.

I’d like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If so, why don’t they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American Planes?

Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon – not once, but several times and safely home again.

You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.

When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.

I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don’t think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I’m one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those.”

Stand proud, America!

This is one of the best editorials that I have ever read regarding the United States. It is nice that one man realizes it. I only wish that the rest of the world would realize it. We are always blamed for everything, and never even get a thank you for the things we do. Maybe each of you can send this to at least one person and they might send it to one of their friends until this letter is sent to every person on the web. I am just a single American that has read this, I SURE HOPE THAT A LOT MORE READ IT SOON.


GOD CLARIFIES “DON’T KILL” RULE (from TheOnion.com)

NEW YORK-Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other Monday.

“Look, I don’t know, maybe I haven’t made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again,” said the Lord, His divine face betraying visible emotion during a press conference near the site of the fallen Twin Towers. “Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don’t. And to be honest, I’m really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand.”

Worshipped by Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike, God said His name has been invoked countless times over the centuries as a reason to kill in what He called “an unending cycle of violence.”

“I don’t care how holy somebody claims to be,” God said. “If a person tells you it’s My will that they kill someone, they’re wrong. Got it? I don’t care what religion you are, or who you think your enemy is, here it is one more time: No killing, in My name or anyone else’s, ever again.”

The press conference came as a surprise to humankind, as God rarely intervenes in earthly affairs. As a matter of long-standing policy, He has traditionally left the task of interpreting His message and divine will to clerics, rabbis, priests, imams, and Biblical scholars. Theologians and laymen alike have been given the task of pondering His ineffable mysteries, deciding for themselves what to do as a matter of faith. His decision to manifest on the material plane was motivated by the deep sense of shock, outrage, and sorrow He felt over the September 11th violence carried out in His name, and over its dire potential ramifications around the globe.

“I tried to put it in the simplest possible terms for you people, so you’d get it straight, because I thought it was pretty important,” said God, called Yahweh and Allah respectively in the Judaic and Muslim traditions. “I guess I figured I’d left no real room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get?”

“But somehow, it all gets twisted around and, next thing you know, somebody’s spouting off some nonsense about, ‘God says I have to kill this guy, God wants me to kill that guy, it’s God’s will,'” God continued. “It’s not God’s will, all right? News flash: ‘God’s will’ equals ‘Don’t murder people.'”

Worse yet, many of the worst violators claim that their actions are justified by passages in the Bible, Torah, and Qur’an.

“To be honest, there’s some contradictory stuff in there, okay?” God said. “So I can see how it could be pretty misleading. I admit it-My bad. I did My best to inspire them, but a lot of imperfect human agents have misinterpreted My message over the millennia. Frankly, much of the material that got in there is dogmatic, doctrinal bullshit. I turn My head for a second and, suddenly, all this stuff about homosexuality gets into Leviticus, and everybody thinks it’s God’s will to kill gays. It absolutely drives Me up the wall.”

God praised the overwhelming majority of His Muslim followers as “wonderful, pious people,” calling the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks rare exceptions.

“This whole medieval concept of the jihad, or holy war, had all but vanished from the Muslim world in, like, the 10th century, and with good reason,” God said. “There’s no such thing as a holy war, only unholy ones. The vast majority of Muslims in this world reject the murderous actions of these radical extremists, just like the vast majority of Christians in America are pissed off over those two bigots on The 700 Club.”

Continued God, “Read the book: ‘Allah is kind, Allah is beautiful, Allah is merciful.’ It goes on and on that way, page after page. But, no, some assholes have to come along and revive this stupid holy-war crap just to further their own hateful agenda. So now, everybody thinks Muslims are all murderous barbarians. Thanks, Taliban: 1,000 years of pan-Islamic cultural progress down the drain.”

God stressed that His remarks were not directed exclusively at Islamic extremists, but rather at anyone whose ideological zealotry overrides his or her ability to comprehend the core message of all world religions.

“I don’t care what faith you are, everybody’s been making this same mistake since the dawn of time,” God said. “The Muslims massacre the Hindus, the Hindus massacre the Muslims. The Buddhists, everybody massacres the Buddhists. The Jews, don’t even get me started on the hardline, right-wing, Meir Kahane-loving Israeli nationalists, man. And the Christians? You people believe in a Messiah who says, ‘Turn the other cheek,’ but you’ve been killing everybody you can get your hands on since the Crusades.”

Growing increasingly wrathful, God continued: “Can’t you people see? What are you, morons? There are a ton of different religious traditions out there, and different cultures worship Me in different ways. But the basic message is always the same: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Shintoism… every religious belief system under the sun, they all say you’re supposed to love your neighbors, folks! It’s not that hard a concept to grasp.”

“Why would you think I’d want anything else? Humans don’t need religion or God as an excuse to kill each other-you’ve been doing that without any help from Me since you were freaking apes!” God said. “The whole point of believing in God is to have a higher standard of behavior. How obvious can you get?”

“I’m talking to all of you, here!” continued God, His voice rising to a shout. “Do you hear Me? I don’t want you to kill anybody. I’m against it, across the board. How many times do I have to say it? Don’t kill each other anymore-ever! I’m fucking serious!”

The Moments of Our Lives: Days to Remember

Upon completing His outburst, God fell silent, standing quietly at the podium for several moments. Then, witnesses reported, God’s shoulders began to shake.

He wept.


EDITORIAL FROM A ROMANIAN NEWSPAPER

An ode to America. Why are Americans so united? They don’t resemble one another even if you paint them! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations. Some of them are nearly extinct, others are incompatible with one another, and in matters of religious beliefs, not even God can count how many they are.

Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army, the secret services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed on the streets nearby to gape about.

The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand. After the first moments of panic, they raised the flag on the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a minister or the president was passing. On every occasion they started singing their traditional song: “God Bless America!”.

Silent as a rock, I watched the charity concert broadcast on Saturday once, twice, three times, on different TV channels. There were Clint Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Robert de Niro, Julia Roberts, Cassius Clay, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Sylvester Stallone, James Wood, and many others whom no film or producers could ever bring together. The American’s solidarity spirit turned them into a choir. Actually, choir is not the word. What you could hear was the heavy artillery of the American soul. What neither George W. Bush, nor Bill Clinton, nor Colin Powell could say without facing the risk of stumbling over words and sounds, was being heard in a great and unmistakable way in this charity concert.

I don’t know how it happened that all this obsessive singing of America didn’t sound croaky, nationalist, or ostentatious! It made you green with envy because you weren’t able to sing for your country without running the risk of being considered chauvinist, ridiculous, or suspected of who-knows-what mean interests.

I watched the live broadcast and the rerun of its rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who fought with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that would have killed other hundreds or thousands of people. How on earth were they able to bow before a fellow human?

Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit which nothing can buy.

What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their galloping history? Their economic power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases which risk of sounding like commonplaces. I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion.

Only freedom can work such miracles!

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