Monday, September 11, 2006

My Reflections on 9/11

It was like watching the world around me awaken from a long sleep.

I'm a retired musician with a talent for death. I deal with those who are about to die. Not the family, not the long-term hospice patients, I deal with people who are on their way out the "door" and would find some company and comfort in music. Those first few days of 9/11 I was afraid that I was finally watching the death of Western Civilization - without time for music or reflection. I knew that the west couldn't continue to ignore the Islamist threat. Islam had already issued the required calls to convert but no one seemed to notice. They’d provoked us in incredible ways and yet the west kept going back to business as usual. It made me so angry! That morning the planes crashed and crashed, and people died and died, and still some folks didn't connect the dots. The shock was tremendous, not at the event taking place as much as in the complete surprise I saw in others. How could people not know? Hadn't these same terrorists tried to bring down these same buildings once before? Hadn’t they taken control of the embassy in Tehran? What about the USS Cole? For goodness sakes, the nineteen seventies were the decade of hijackings!

It’s no secret: I love Americans. I swore I’d marry one and I did. I love how cocky Americans are. I love the way they jump right in and get things done. I love that most of them still think there is a “right” way of doing things. I educated my daughter in a Lebanese/Armenian elementary school because I wanted her to have a strong, family oriented, and very Pro-American culture, as well as fluency in several languages. Looking at it now, it seems funny that I had to send her to an Armenian school to find an unabashedly pro-American environment in California. Spending several years in close association with the middle eastern branch of the Armenians gave us a front row seat when it came to learning about why they live in America and what the Middle East has to offer Christians and all other Non-Muslim cultures. The Armenians have strong feelings about the Turks! Jihad has been of concern to my family for well over 20 years.

For the first time since I was a child I saw people raising the American flag. They were everywhere! It didn’t matter what political party someone was from – massacring 3000 Americans on our own soil just wasn’t going to fly! Finally, people were asking the right questions: What was the Taliban? Why were the Wahabi Islamist sects blowing up Historical Trust sites and statues of Buddha? Why are we allowing the Saudis to fund schools here without making an issue about the racist, subversive, hateful things they were teaching? Really, they have a right to express their hate filled values, but we have a right to be aware of it, too. In fact, we have a responsibility to be aware of it. The mainstream media was still looking for “common ground” with the “Religion of Peace” but across the web people were educating themselves about Sharia law and reading the Qur’an and Hadith. People began to seek out translations of the media broadcasts from the Middle East and websites were formed to disseminate cultural information.

Maybe of primary importance to me was that I began to see regular people reflecting on the type of Multiculturalism touted on college campuses today. Sacred cows were indeed slaughtered. We, as a culture, began to question the values of those in the “intelligentsia”. They’d really been getting a free ride before. How had we become so self-loathing and soft that others weren’t afraid to challenge us to “convert or die”? The comprachicos—those who would deliberately mutilate the minds of our innocent children—were being exposed. The internet had made it possible for the average person to be informed to a level never before seen in history. It had made it much harder to keep whole populations in ignorance. There would never be another “Winter Soldier” where a few evil people besmirch the honor of a whole generation and leave our soldiers to return home to scorn and loathing -- to steal their reputations as decent men and leave them to pick up the pieces of their lives without the gratitude and support that they deserved.

America was awakening. The people killed in the World Trade Center that day were us: Regular Americans going about our daily lives. They weren’t soldiers but they have each bought and paid for a hero’s memorial with their life’s blood.

So, this is my very personal recollection about my feelings surrounding that fateful event. I have no connections with the people involved. I, like so many others, sat in front of the television set with my family and cried. It is hard to separate the 9/11 tragedy from other things that were happening in my life at that time. It was an unsettling and frightening period for me and I can't reflect on it without conjuring up all of the other feelings of loss and bewilderment that I was experiencing at the time. It was already a time of terrible loss and strong emotion. For that reason I know it will be a hard anniversary for me today. But, thank God, I won’t spend it alone having lost a loved one in that disaster.

I am thankful that my sweetheart is by my side. He provided the stability I needed when I was sure the world had gone mad. Today He will work on refining one of the fugues he is writing and I will be blessed to be able to spend the day here by his side. After many hours of immersion in the sound taking shape, after listening to it being played over and over and over -- the feelings of grief and sadness will ebb. Awash in the harmony and balance, despair will be held at bay - and I will consider, once again, how blessed I am to live here in America where I can choose the people with whom I share my life.

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