Senior Stories

September 11th, 2001: Patriot Day

September 11th Patriot Day

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 pantyhose decades earlier, Rosie the Riveter would have thanked him very much.)

Back in the early ’40s, 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 “blackout” 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 footloose 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 draft board.

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 the 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)


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 are 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 broken.

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