Our High School Library features a large-screen television, so today, September 11, I set the channel to a news channel, in
order for students to see today’s coverage of the “9/11” observances held around the country … And, for these young people to “see what we saw” and experienced 14 years ago … An opportunity to see recorded history of the most significant event
in many of our lives …
The Library is a busy place, and I couldn’t watch much TV, but I did see clips from around the United States from today’s
As I write this now, I am thinking that, not once, did I see a news clip of a recording that was actually made on that day
of days, that Tuesday, 14 years ago … When we all remember where we were, what we were doing, “when we first heard the
news.” Since I don’t usually watch network news, there may have been clips from that day on other channels, or maybe
tonight, as the networks look back.
However, I was able to witness reactions from those in the Library, throughout the day, who shared their rememberances of
that day with students, and with me. One teacher tried to explain what happened on that day to a student who was only 2
years old at the time … The emotion in her voice … as she looked at me … and, then looked away … is something I just
can’t get out of my mind. It was the emotion of that day … the emotions of that day that we all felt … the emotion, what
we felt, that, even as I write this now, and remember her description, just hours ago, of how everyone turned on the TV
after the first Tower was hit … and then … on live television … the second Tower … As she explained to a young man,
only 2 years old at the time, about the emotions that day, what she felt, what we all felt … well, I had to turn away,
It’s been a long time since my writing brought tears to my own eyes … but, now, writing this, thinking about this lady,
explaining to someone who really “wasn’t there,” how we felt on that day … well … Now, I have to get up and walk around
a bit …
Today, as I watched news reports of the observances, I did see many quotes from that day, and the days immediately
thereafter. One of the quotes referred to the events of Pearl Harbor, in comparision. As I stood by, listening to this
Teacher explaining the emotions of September 11, 2001, for reasons I can’t explain, I mentioned Pearl Harbor, because I knew
that this student must have known about “that day.” So often, I’ve spoken of the great surge of patriotism which struck
America after 9/11, which I have, myself, often compared to the national patriotism shown immediately after Pearl Harbor. He
knew about Pearl Harbor. So, I went there … explaining that the morning after Pearl Harbor, there were lines outside of
the Military recruiting stations, stretching for blocks … This lady told of her own family, all of the brothers, in line,
waiting for the opportunity to “sign up” to join in the fight. Only the Father, there in line with his sons and many other
relatives, was not allowed to join.
Today, and I am sorry I had forgotten about this, but, in the Library, today, I heard about “The Sullivan Brothers” of World II. This was done in front of a crowd, so, as a result of today’s news coverage, we learned their story, and I’ll share this
now, from www.militaryauthority.com:
“The story of the Sullivan brothers is one of patriotism and tragedy. Albert, Francis, George, Joseph, and Madison Sullivan
of Waterloo, Iowa enlisted together in the Navy on January 3rd, 1942. The brothers insisted on serving on the same ship, and
were assigned to the light cruiser U.S.S. Juneau. On the way to Guadalcanal the Juneau and several other ships were attacked
(known as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal). Japanese torpedoes hit the Juneau hit multiple times, eventually sinking her on
November 13th, 1942. Survivors of the Juneau say that four of the brothers died immediately with the first torpedo hit,
while the fifth brother, George, died five days later from his wounds, exposure, exhaustion, and possibly a shark attack.”
Today, in the Library, a young man walked up to the Circulation Desk, and, pointing to the television, explained to me that
the news was about 9/11 … He lived in an apartment building … right across from the World Trade Center … He would have
been much too young to remember much, but, I must have seen that same apartment building in my visit to Ground Zero …
I heard another story today, in the Library. A Teacher, telling of the events-and especially the emotions, what we were all
feeling that day-told of a couple, whose son was graduating from the Military (I won’t mention the location) in South
Carolina. Set to gratuate from the Military on September 11. I just happen to personally know this couple, so the events
that follow I can actually visualize. They, from here in Northern New Hampshire, drove to Manchester, to catch their flight
to South Carolina. This was September 11, 2001. When they arrived at the airport, they were informed that all flights had
been cancelled, as all air traffic was ordered down. Remember that? Remember the emotions? This couple, and I know very well
the father, was not going to miss their son’s graduation. They drove back home … got the truck … and, loaded up all the
survival gear and supplies (I’ll leave it there) they could pack … and, headed to South Carolina. The description of how
the Military base, how it was so surrounded by tanks, etc., etc., was, just the day before, unimagianable.
Living in Connecticut at the time, I knew many people who “had people” in the Towers on that day. In my book, Modern Day Psalms, I write about the events of that day, how the jets from Boston may have even flown over our home, and my feelings as
I drove home, my van covered in American flags, a proud member of the Presidential Prayer Team (a charter member), and how I
kept exclaiming, “We’re at war!” “We’re at war!” as I drove down Highway 84.
I remember President Bush addressing the nation … as his voice was nearly drowned out by the sound of military aircraft
circling … Remember that?
After writing “The Eagle Still Flies” as “A New Anthem for America,” I have been comforted and encourgaged by letters I’ve
received from many, including President Bush, the Mayor of New York, and so many others.
Today, I was proud, and touched, by a fellow teacher, who, after the Pledge of Allegiance (Yes! We stand and say the Pledge
of Allegiance at our High School!), gave an essay on why this day is important … whether we “were there” or not …
I can’t explain this, but I am, now, reminded of a story from the life of President Reagan, and I remember hearing this from
him, personally. After the assination attempt (remember that?), as he was being wheeled in to surgury, and, meeting the
operating surgeon, President Reagan looked up at him and said, “I hope you’re Republican.” The doctor’s response was this:
“Today, Mr. President, we are all Republican.”
I remember the emotions of September 11, 2001. I remember how I felt. I remember how we felt.
On that day … we were all “Americans.”
I had intended to only share with you my “New Anthem for America-The Eagle Still Flies.”
I wrote this, this day, September 11, 2015.
I’ll share the Anthem, and it’s introduction next time.
Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.