When I think about the day of the terrorists attacks in New York City on 9/11 I cannot help but be heartbroken. I am listening to Paul Simon sing his “The Sound of Silence,” live from the memorial site, on this, the tenth anniversary of the tragedy. I’m from Oklahoma City; I was on my way back to the office when Timothy McVeigh denoted a bomb in my hometown. I’d driven past him, and out of harms way. I will never forget the sound, or the pain of our community – it’s the only understanding I have of what must be a tough cultural memory on Manhattan Island.
I was boarding a plane to Atlanta on 9/11, ten years ago. I watched the second plan fly into the tower, and knew the sound of panic in the voice my hubster Brian (that there was a major moment afoot) that home was where I wanted to head. Of course, all the planes were grounded that day, and for the first time in cultural memory, the US was patrolled by military jets as lonely soldiers in the sky. I can’t even begin to express how the sacrifice of the men and women that died in the attempt to rescue those trapped tugs at the depths of my soul. I thought of the children near the towers, the homes that were changed, the people who spent time in utter loss, not knowing if a loved one was safe or not.
Even given that there are a wealth of faiths that I have respect for in the world, this is the passage that I go back to when life makes no sense.
It binds us all somehow, within that sound of silence, to a destiny that is bigger than our own, bigger than what we see.
It makes us all children of one universe.
Today, our fall festival in the town I call home, so far from both New York and Oklahoma City will celebrate life as we know it, and honor the heroes and the fallen. It’s a time of love and community, with friends, neighbors, dear ones. I hope that you will celebrate life with us as well.
On this day and all the others to come, I send you love, light and peace. Godspeed.
A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
15 Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.
16 And I saw something else under the sun:
In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
17 I said to myself,
“God will bring into judgment
both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
a time to judge every deed.”
18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?