Tag Archives: tragedy

September 11, 2019

I wrote the text below on the one year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. I re-read this every year, and today, its message rings so true… “at a time in our history where the world is truly small, we can no longer allow our self appointed interests and egos to drive our actions within this world community“… Please read. God bless us all.

September 11, 2002

In reflection of all that has come to pass, and with hope in all that can potentially be, I have slowed my world down today, to observe. I have witnessed emotions’ range and have felt the deepest sincerity in all that I have taken part in. For me, this one-year milestone, of the tragedies of September 11 2001, has left me with a longing that I must share.

This morning’s sunrise was quite profound. As I sipped my coffee, looking eastward out of my breakfast nook’s window, I was greeted with a broken sky and the rosy edged clouds from last night’s rain. Gray and gentle giants stretching toward the eastern horizon, gently kissed by the dawning sun. The sky held the deepest blue and set my view in a very powerful background, providing a triumphant and yet foreboding setting for the red, white and blue of the morning. My mood seemed to match, as I felt reassured by our nation’s collective resolve exhibited over the past year, and yet I felt apprehensive in the light of on-going struggle. As I sat in silent reflection, the words of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address played through my mind. “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” I sat mesmerized.

My radio was on in the background, and as if called by my own will, New York’s Governor Pataki initiated the memorial service at ground zero with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The clouds outside my window seemed to change their color in response to his words, providing a balance of gray and white, while the sky’s deep blue lightened a shade, yielding a canvas for hope.

Moments later, former Mayor Giuliani began reading the names of the victims of the attack on the world trade center towers. Gordon McCannel Aamoth Jr., Edelmiro (Ed) Abad, Maria Rose Abad, Andrew Anthony Abate, Vincent Abate, Laurence Abel, William F. Abrahamson, Richard Anthony Aceto, Heinrich B. Ackermann, … The victim’s faces, those I could recall from the web pages I perused last year, began to drift through my mind’s eye. The tears began to come and I began to realize how much we have lost. Lost lives, broken families, and lost loves. As a nation, we are different now. We have realized, most likely for the first time that we are not an island of security. That our financial and military power is not what differentiates us, but that which makes us unique, and subsequently, that which poises us as a target of such acts of terrorism. I also realized that we have gained. For through our learnings of such experience, we have found a new resolve that echoes old values, such as those our very nation was founded on. And in such, we have gained temperate understanding of just how precious this life truly is, and how diverse and distressed our world society has become. In this, I believe, we can proudly say that we stand alone among our allies and enemies, for our nation exhibits a worldly sampling of all nations, all cultures, and all beliefs. Our lives and values are based in true freedom, founded in trust and honesty, and are exhibited through peace and compassion. And in such, we extend a greater love through our exhibition of this understanding. This diversity is of our design, driven by our desire, and forms the very mettle that identifies Americans as people of natural determination and resolve.

And yet, we are a delicately contrary people. For as we stand upon the virtue of such great values, we allow our gains and successes to wrap us in what we perceive to be our own personal, impervious lives. In times when our successes are at their greatest, and our challenges small, we exhibit an almost ignorant selfishness. We ignore our neighbors, we throw frustration upon our fellow citizens in traffic, and we seem to migrate to a gluttony of extremes. Our drive is focused upon financial growth, more service, less cost, and a need for exponential improvement. I believe that our behavior, associated with such perceived successes, is the very element that fuels the hatred of those we call our enemies today. Ironically, it is this same behavior that was once perceived to be the enemy of our nation’s founding fathers, and to that point, that which has brought us to this day of memorial. How ironic.

The radio’s reading of the names of the lost was only interrupted long enough for other memorials to begin, or for moments of silence to be observed at the very minute, one year ago, when the trade center towers collapsed. Three very distinct and individual memorials, New York City, the Pentagon, and Shanksville Pennsylvania, yet all rang with names of victims, lost lives, lost loves, and broken families. Tragedies beyond belief. Through the constant of remembering, through the tears and tightened throat of reliving the pain and horror, I made my way to a place in my town where Mozart’s Requiem would be played as part of a rolling national endeavor to promote healing and remembrance.

The daylight moved to deeper tones of color. The low hanging clouds grew gray, yet the daylight beyond became brighter and more brilliant with blue. Even a few little spits of drizzle managed to mix in. All seeming to reflect my mood, and hopefully the moods of others. Others who, like myself, were needing to reconnect, acknowledge the pain and loss, and take from that, some magic and secret element to fuel understanding for the world we now live in.

As I parked my truck and began to draw the will to move myself into the heart of the day’s sorrow, I found that I could not extinguish the sounds of the radio, still reading the names of the more than 3000 individuals who lost their lives that day. It seemed like an eternity had passed, yet the alphabetical reading was only in the “C’s”. Jose Cardona, Dennis M Carey, Edward Carlino, Michael Scott Carlo, David G. Carlone, Rosemarie C. Carlson, Mark Stephen Carney, Joyce Ann Carpeneto, Jeremy M. Carrington… Somehow, I managed the resolve to wipe away the tears, and moved myself from the truck and toward the theatre where many of my fellow citizen’s hearts would hopefully throng, along with the music, and mine.

I found a seat near the back, which was elevated, and provided a large view of the theatre. I sat alone while the hall slowly filled to near capacity. Many of the faces that began to sit around me were solemn, sorrowful. Yet so many others were taking this performance as if it were an event of opportunity. Around me, through voices overheard, were people frustrated with the remaining seat selection, people with agendas that were driven away from their busy lives. I heard comments complaining about the reading of the names during the memorial services in New York City, comments spoken in frustration that television news coverage had forced them to endure such monotony and such a waste of time. I found myself shocked that such selfish and cold comments could be made at a time when human compassion and understanding should naturally prevail. Only few around me seemed to be here to mourn, or reflect. My witnessing of such brought on a great sadness that we, as collective survivors, do not cherish what we have learned, and what we have lost of life and love, through today’s echoing pain.

As the lights dimmed and the music began, I recognized the seed of a longing that only then, I realized was growing inside of me. I realized that in the moments of the greatest tragedy ever encountered on our nation’s soil, was contained the truest and most sincere outpouring of human compassion and love. For it is the desperation associated with great tragedy or great need that drives us to acts of heroism, kindness, and sacrifice. It is this great human capability that I long for in my daily life, and the true reason that I came here today, to find it, and to claim it. Not to account for and own for myself, but to capture and echo as a prayer for all mankind to recognize and hold on to these values as operators in our daily lives. As people of any society or congregation, we truly long to embody these virtues in our own behavior, yet we distort our understanding of our own desires by way of our societal driven needs, perceptions, and the manner by which we market ourselves to ourselves.

As the greatest national power on the globe, and at a time in our history where the world is truly small, we can no longer allow our self appointed interests and egos to drive our actions within this world community. Our nation was founded from the phoenix of past tyranny and societal selfishness, and now, again, we tender that same negative inertia and believe that it is good. For the greatest thing we have gained as a result of the September 11 attacks, is that we are now placed center stage and in a position to truly show the mettle of our collective soul. Our worldly place today, whether we accept it or not, provides us with the greatest opportunity for leadership that any nation has ever been afforded. As such, our true calling is to act in the manner of behavior that provided foundation for our nation, molded our value system, and provided our compassionate acceptance of this world. In the name of all past tragedies, moments of great desperation and heroism, we must hold on to and exhibit these values in our every day lives. We must embrace and exhibit this deepest compassion, love and understanding if we truly desire to lead our global society beyond these days of malice and hatred. For the fabric of our very existence is now openly exposed, and calling for our own regeneration, urging our success and evolution. Without which, well, here we will be again, regretting past tragedy, memorializing our loss, and praying for a future peace, as nothing more than mere children of histories’ repetition.

J. Blue September 11, 2002

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Filed under History, Memory, Perspective, Universal Soul

Where Once I Died

Thereupon the bridge stood I,
above the crowd’s tumultuous storm,
in offering, what hope had I
against their hapless raging form
that crashed in waves upon the piers
once placed by honest men,
now torn from ragged indolence
of hatred’s depth again.
In lacking faith and understanding,
lost from knowledge kept,
they clamored high in selfishness
not owning all the tears we wept.

So to hope and value pressed,
my hands across their sky,
I tried imparting all my strength
in knowledge, that they too might try
to come to understand the pain
and sacrifice of the few
that stacked, for them, their soapbox pulpits
high to get a better view,
born on shoulders of the past
and those who gave it all
in hope to birth this great tomorrow,
where none would here the tyrant’s call.

But hope misplaced to ignorance
distorts across the sands of time,
degrades to soulless decadence
when all they know is “mine”.

Standing high above the mass,
arms spread wide with calming tone,
plead did I of petulance
to find compassion, here alone.
As the roaring din grew faint
to hear my crying plead,
I saw the flash, heard the crack
from which all hope did fast recede.
Mid-breath in phrase “this hope is mine”,
the thud collapsed my chest,
exploding truth without a breath,
the bullet never came to rest
but caught my soul, eternal,
and cast me heaven-high,
as upon my fallen body gazed,
I watched my mortal image die.

I stood upon that bridge in hope.
I laid my soul to bear.
I gave my heart to save them,
receiving just their leaden stare.
No matter recollection,
their numbers grow the great divide
that separates few honest men
upon the bridge where once I died.

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Filed under Perspective, Poetry

The Mourning After

Flickered glimpse of dawn, in mourning…
“My God! My love! What has happened here?”
She stands beside me, shivering, drenched, reaching for my hand, behind her.
I hold her close.
The shore line is gone.
No structure stands.
The sky, aching grey, bouncing seagull’s cries against its tarnished iron ceiling.
Morning stands defending time, the pulse of life still throbbing…
Stunned into the aftermath we silently walk the empty beach, weeping, gasping, between what rubble remains, and not one soul.
Surreal this empty host of life, waves roll with an auditorium echo.
Piercing rays subdue the harsh deliverance, gently cracking hints of hope, bouncing subtle shadows across the slowly relaxing waves… sparkling their crescent shapes with diamonds.
She collapses at my feet, sobbing.
I look on, out over the vacant sea, wondering what has become…

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Filed under Dreams, Perspective, Poetry, Universal Soul

For Paris, For Us

Bend the moment upon me.
Steer my heart to mend my soul.
Force the truth to boldly stand that I may feel its hold.

What of this hate enflamed in cause that steals the youth from ancient lives?
What merciless torture waits beyond the face of hatred’s eyes?

I stand in solidarity, but frozen to this day remain.
Can I not move to change the fabric of what this hatred’s lain?
Are words in rage and anger torn upon this page enough?
Is something deep within this well rising ‘gainst the rough
and calloused turn of man that through his selfish rage is born?
Is there nothing here to stem this growth of ancient hatred sworn?

My God! My God! What is this hell that from this heaven’s shore is breached?
Can love return upon the soil where blood was spilled, by God beseeched?

No faith I’ve lost, believe me, but how I can stand still
when through the acts of cowardice we’re forced another bitter pill?

Love, I cry, it’s love say I, that stems the hatred left in wake,
but seems to drift to hollow halls that such these shadows make.

So I pray… for peace,
for some greater understanding,
for hope of resurrection born from all our souls, demanding.

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Filed under History, Perspective, Poetry, Uncategorized, Universal Soul

In Eros’ Service – the mender

Cast betwixt two drifts of wind my sorry soul did drown,
torn between two lover’s tides, in confluence, pulled me down
beneath these waves of temporal flux, be cast to love’s deep purpose,
where only I can pay the debt, one hundred years be tied to service.

In penance to all breaking hearts that I may mend their shattered hopes,
forever ‘neath the northern star, forever pulling frozen ropes.

No reference to horizon made that I my debt delay,
held beyond sweet morning’s dawn, denied each glimpse of day.

Cast I wreck from havoc to belay a pardon’s sweet remorse
that these poor souls adrift here, by me, return their course.

So to love or death they go with fractured hearts amend,
yet of the shards here left behind unto my selfish purpose lend
a hope that love may still await when placed within my own,
that penanced years of servitude may build a heart, so grown.

Yet still the seas of love do crash, deliver me their broken hopes,
as time stands still beneath this pole, these frozen hands on frozen ropes.

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Filed under Poetry, True Love

Where Once I Died

Thereupon the bridge stood I,
above the crowd’s tumultuous storm,
in offering, what hope had I
against their hapless raging form
that crashed in waves upon the piers
once placed by honest men,
now torn from ragged indolence
of hatred’s depth again.
In lacking faith and understanding,
lost from knowledge kept,
they clamored high in selfishness
not owning all the tears we wept.

So to hope and value pressed,
my hands across their sky,
I tried imparting all my strength
in knowledge, that they too might try
to come to understand the pain
and sacrifice of the few
that stacked, for them, their soapbox pulpits
high to get a better view,
born on shoulders of the past
and those who gave it all
in hope to birth this great tomorrow,
where none would here the tyrant’s call.

But hope misplaced to ignorance
distorts across the sands of time,
degrades to soulless decadence
when all they know is “mine”.

Standing high above the mass,
arms spread wide with calming tone,
plead did I of petulance
to find compassion, here alone.
As the roaring din grew faint
to hear my crying plead,
I saw the flash, heard the crack
from which all hope did fast recede.
Mid-breath in phrase “this hope is mine”,
the thud collapsed my chest,
exploding truth without a breath,
the bullet never came to rest
but caught my soul, eternal,
and cast me heaven-high,
as upon my fallen body gazed,
I watched my mortal image die.

I stood upon that bridge in hope.
I laid my soul to bear.
I gave my heart to save them,
receiving just their leaden stare.
No matter recollection,
their numbers grow the great divide
that separates few honest men
upon the bridge where once I died.

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Filed under Perspective, Poetry, Universal Soul

Teardrop’s Honor

What teardrop’s lines in honor hold
are more than I can bear,
when witnessed in the eyes of mother’s
weeping through such deep despair.

For them my heart is broken,
for them I give my deepest prayer.
No word or act or motion
can begin to mend the rending there
that claws at love innate,
love born in womb and born of soul
of mothers whose sweet loves, now gone,
shudder every moment on
and shake in disbelief,
fall in heaps of deepest grief
when every moment, every sight
denies their hope, denies their right,
befriends an aching heart to cope,
yet only echoes pain –
of last words spoken, last hug and kiss,
last kindest little token
granted from sweet childhood’s bliss.

Such rage confounds my spirit,
no line of thought can bring the “why”.
I seek for resolution, so absurd,
yet still I try –

What blackness fills this world now?
What mantra does such evil chant?
What sickened heart has found this world?
What soulless evil does it incant?

“Fear not!”, I try to cling to,
as in prayer and in action seek
to persuade a better world around me,
influence hope and love to keep –
Defeat the sickened “ick” of hate,
replace it with the kindest words
that echo only caring,
thus give to life what life deserves –
No senseless tears upon a mother’s cheek…

In reflection of the Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy – 14-Dec-2012

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Filed under Memory, Poetry