Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quiet Reflections on a September Day

I had my outfit for today all planned out ahead of time. A long tan skirt, paired with a short sleeve brown top that I had ironed and hung on Sunday. Part of my "use your time better" plan for this year is to not be ironing in the morning when I should be in the shower, so that I can still get my morning walks in before school. So on Sunday, I plan out what I want to wear for the week, based on the week ahead forecast and accepting that sometimes things won't go as planned and I might need to adjust at the last minute. As I was getting dressed this morning I decided that I didn't want my tan skirt, I wanted black. I wanted black because some small part of my heart feels that black is the only respectable color to wear on this day. Black to honor all those who are still mourning the loss of their loved ones. Black to share in the sadness and pain and overwhelming darkness that crossed our great land that day. I paired it with a lightweight sage green sweater. Green, in about any shade, is my favorite color. I also consider green to be a color of hope. After a long, grey and dark winter, at that point where you think that you can't just go on one more minute.. the earth burst forward in lush green new life. Black for mourning. Green for Hope.

As I walked to school this morning, I realized for the first time this year (today was our 11th day of school, and keep in mind that the school is at the end of my street) that we still don't have a flag pole up at school. It snapped in half during a big storm last year and they had to take it down to be replaced. The reason it wasn't replaced last year was due to a sprinkler system being installed in our 150 plus year old school this summer. The water pipe went right through the flag pole's location and the choice was made to wait. All summer I looked at our school thinking something was not quite the same, and today I realized what it was. I walked down the street, thinking of how I'd stop at the end of the road (think of our road looking like this T and the short part is where our school is.. it's a dead end) and pay homage to all those service people who are still over there, fighting for our very freedom. Our school's flag flew in Afghanistan at the U.S. base of operations there, and one of our teachers who is in the Navy brought it back with him after his last tour there. He's there again now, this time in Iraq and his group of engineers is working to build.. something. I don't remember but he is in our thoughts and prayers. Anyhow.. I got to the end of the street, and I was pissed when I realized the flag was still not up. Not flying at half mast today as it should be. I went into school, signed in my daughter (if you are there before our start time you have to be signed in) and went to the office to pester the secretary about a work order to get the flag back. We are waiting on some district putz to come and dig the hole and pour the concrete. Seriously?! I could do that myself. (sigh)

As we sat in morning meeting this morning, and we went over calendar and talked about the day of the week and the date, S turned to me and said, "It still amazes me that these kids don't see today the same way we do." And I looked at her, after doing some fast math and said, "These kids right here weren't even born yet." What a sobering moment that was for us. I still vividly remember standing there with Ms. Thang, who was 4 and not in school yet.. the broom in one hand and the TV remote in my other hand.. just speechless. I had no clue, as my TV hadn't been on the morning. A friend called to talk to me about it, and I flipped the TV on just in time to catch the chaos, and then watch the towers crash down. I remember the call I made to The Boy, just to hear his voice and make sure he was OK. I remember Mr. Man coming home from school, and wondering how much he knew, if anything and sitting at the dinner table and him telling me about how planes flew into buildings in NY and that some towers had fallen down. He knew something had happened and that his teachers were quiet and sad, but the whole of the situation was lost on his first grade self. My daughter, who watched the towers fall with me, was very moved by the whole thing.. having seen it on TV. I remember how frantic I was with fear and worry. My best friend was supposed to be on that plane down in Virginia. He was headed for the west coast for work. I didn't know that they had decided to leave a day early. I couldn't get through to his wife because all the lines down there were tied up. That was a horrible day for me. I can't imagine the horror of the people who were there. The ones who's lives changed forever. The ones who have to live with survivors guilt, and the mothers who have children who will never meet their fathers. Even today, 7 years later, I still feel these emotions almost as strongly as I did that day. I may not like our present president, and disagree with a lot of what he has done, but the most moving thing I ever heard him say was the speech he gave on the evening of September 11, 2001.. the end of which I have burned into my memory.
America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me."
This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
Thank you. Good night, and God bless America.


Gregory said...

A beautiful post. I pray that your school is able to fund the the project to once again raise our colors proudly. Lord knows our fallen deserve that little tribute each public bulding can display.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said Beth. I've always admired your writing style. Thanks for moving my heart today. This is just how I feel myself.

Btw... I'm with you on the flag thing. You need to have that pole up right away... a school without a flag just isn't right...

Love and hugs