This is an opinion column I wrote many years ago at the Blair Press during my stint as a reporter
It is 15 years today since the attack on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
I was on the phone to my mother when the first tower collapsed, and I will never forget the silence as the
screen went dark. Soon the fire fighter’s ringing, beeping devices were going off. Shrill sounds, as
workers scrambled to locate and dig them out of the rubble.
There was the story of the Chaplain who ran into the towers to give the last rites to members of his Fire Squad and to the thousands of civilians. He removed his hat to give the last rites to a dying man, and a steel beam hit him. One well publicized photograph shows his firemen carrying him out from the rubble.
I remember thinking, “This is war.” And I was witness to the worst terrorist attack in American
history, I watched in stunned silence as thousands of people lost their lives.
In that one moment, all of the arrogance we American’s possess went right out the window and was buried in the rubble with
the victims of the WTC.
I guess I will never understand what makes a person hate so much, they would kill themselves just to prove a point. Or a religion that makes heroes of a man who murders thousands of people, himself leaving
behind a family who needed him. Perhaps that is just one of the mysteries of the human
soul, one that can never really be explained. I wrote a poem that day, as I watched the horror
unfold right in front of my eyes.
A Child’s Cry
A child’s cry amongst the evil;
her daddy went away,
They say…He went to heaven;
and that… he couldn’t stay.
A wife cries into her pillow;
her husband went to war,
Some say he is a hero,
some say Patriots lore.
It takes courage, in human touch;
fearing what will happen next.
Hope in the strength of good,
it’s now we take the test.
Can we give our sons for freedom?
Give our husbands in war?
Our Nations flag flies low,
and we cannot ignore.
We’re called to action, called to war;
making heroes of friends.
Echoed in a child’s cry…
This great country we defend.
I was visiting with a friend later that month, who just happens to be a Vietnam Vet. I asked him if they could draft my husband to go to war. He looked me right in the eyeand said, “Larinna, if you can’t defend your country
then you shouldn’t be here.”
At first I thought well that was kind of mean, and then I thought about it a little more. I like the fact that I can go to Wal-Mart® at 2 A.M. if I want to. I like it that I can use my opinion column to say anything, even bad stuff about the
Government if I so chose. I like that my children will generally be pretty safe on the street. I love the music, written and performed by free men and women.
. I love my life!
So in that one statement, From a man who knew war, who had lived war, a poem was born, but so was something else. I learned an important lesson. The cost of freedom is the ultimate price. The men and women who defend us are prepared to die…die for complete strangers, so that we can be free.
Co-incidentally they never did call upon my husband to fight and possibly to die for our country, to keep us
free, but I never will forget what my friend, a Vietnam Vet, told me days after the WTC attacks and
the lessons I learned as the Towers fell. Thanks Pop! 15 years ago, you taught me a lesson I will never forget!