Monday, October 23, 2017

Life Observation # 192 Rain

Life Observation # 192       Rain   
The sound of heavy rain on a metal roof needs no translation but I do miss the silent softly falling snow in the morning with a nice fire going.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tinnitus – Not the sounds of silence

Tinnitus – Not the sounds of silence

Tinnitus has been a very noisy part of my life for over forty years – ever since the day I first noticed the slight ringing in my ears.  At first you try not to notice the sounds within your head but over time and depending on the day it may rage out of control.  It didn’t happen in a split second but I think over time.  In the Army it was the whining sound of my helicopter’s transmission above my head.  You learn to fly in the right seat affecting the hearing in your left ear then as aircraft commander you fly from the left seat destroying your right ear’s hearing.  We wore helmets but it did not do an adequate job of total hearing protection from the surrounding noises.  I could still hear bullets hitting the skin of my aircraft or the screams from crewmembers or others wounded inside on the way back to the LZ.  When I first noticed the sounds within my head . . . I felt alone, very scared.  

How could I explain to anyone what was raging inside my head?  I knew they couldn’t relate (how could they?) to the sound of a whistling teakettle sometimes, or a jet engine at other times.  There were days when it was faint; other days when it roared with a vengeance.  When I was younger in the shower I thought it was gone.  But then once the shower was done, the sound dominated again.  After the Army it remained with me and I discovered there was a name for this affliction called “Tinnitus”.  With my Southern pronunciation was “Ti-nnit-us” but recently I saw a story and learned the correct way to say it, “Tin-ni-tus”.  

Where I am living now I do not get live television but get recorded streaming news off the internet and during the recent Las Vegas shootings I was searching for news of what happened and came across a story on what I’ve had all these years.

I used to think my experience was unique, but I was wrong.  I came to realize that lots of people live with tinnitus every day, and that there are many ways to cope with it – and for some cope with it well.  The harsh reality of tinnitus has robbed silence from the lives of nearly 50 million Americans.  Whether you hear it in your ears or in your head tinnitus means the same thing: noise that does not go away.  You do not suffer alone.

The first two physicians I saw knew nothing about tinnitus and said nothing could be done about it.  Their only advice was, “Just don’t listen to it.”  When people think of hearing loss and partial deafness, they immediately think about a quiet world that they will be forced to live in.  In some cases, that cannot be further from the truth.  The loss of hearing does not equal a quiet day of fishing during our retirement years.  It can be a screaming inside our heads that never stops.

Early on I’m sure it caused me problems in relationships, I didn’t sleep.  I could not shut out the white noise in my head so sleeping was low on my priority list averaging about an hour or two a night in my twenties and thirties.  Every ten years it seems like I increased an hour now getting six to seven hours some nights.  My body seemed to function well on about four hours for many years.  For me, the key was letting tinnitus become a part of my life.  Many people have depression, eating issues, or other ailments caused by the constant sounds.

Since the onset, my tinnitus has varied a lot in tone and perceived volume.  I always have a high-pitched hiss, although it’s worse some days.  I also periodically get a low-pitched buzz accompanied by fullness ringing in my ear.  There are hours when it suddenly turns into a screaming siren, making it almost impossible to hear anything through my good ear, let alone the bad one.  The sound can be so loud in my head that it’s almost physically painful.  On days like that, I keep busy and tell myself that better days will come.  I remind myself about the people who love me and the people whom I love.  I can’t quit.  I won’t quit.  I’m not going to let my tinnitus defeat me.  Living with tinnitus is not easy.  You have to be a fighter.  Eventually a better period comes again, and my quality of life increases by so much that it’s hard to believe.  But it does improve.  I’ve been there several times.  There has always been a light at the end of this tunnel.  I don’t always see it, but its there, like the sun shining above the clouds.  

To feel better, I have learned to focus on what makes me feel good.  I sure wish I didn’t have tinnitus.  But now that I know what it is, I try to make the best of the situation.  By reminding me about what is important in life, the meaning of life becomes clearer.  My interest in helping others is bigger than ever.  And, for me, family comes before material things.  What helps me make it through rough days is thinking about the people who care about me and whom I hold dear.  Besides nurturing relationships, my advice to others with tinnitus is to nurture your hobbies.  Do you like writing?  Write.  Do you enjoy taking photos?  Take photos.  Do you like bowling?  Bowl.  Do you like making crafts?  Make crafts.  You get the idea. The better you feel in general, the higher the quality of life you will have despite tinnitus.  This is the time to pick up an old passion that has been pushed aside for too long.  Some days with tinnitus can be a struggle.  Try to make it less hard by emphasizing the good things in life.

I tell myself that it’s only as loud as I perceive it to be.  Changing the way I think about it is not always easy to do, but it can work.  When I hear the noise, I say, “Okay, it’s here,” but then move on and listen for other sounds in the environment that are special to me, such as music.  When I concentrate on music, almost any kind, the tinnitus is pushed to the background.  When riding in an airplane or car, which I find relaxing, I listen to CDs, the radio, my playlist and other cars passing by.  All of those sounds help cover (mask) my tinnitus.  Lately there are special sounds – the chirping of birds or crickets – that helps me.  I love to sit outside or have the windows open in the summertime and let the bird sounds in the morning or the crickets in the evening drown out the noise inside his head.

When I had my dog Levi I discovered that when Levi crawled next to my bed, fell asleep, and began to snore, his snoring was more welcome than the tinnitus.  Levi became my masking device!  It’s important that I continue to do what I enjoy: going to the movies, concerts, and having dinner with friends.  Many times during those outings it is hard for me to hear normal conversations since the white noise in my head along with the constant chatter noise in a restaurant or bar drown out anything I can hear so usually I just nod or try to watch what someone is saying to maintain part of the conversation.  Working with tools and machinery I make sure I use my earplugs for protection.  For many years, I blamed myself for this injury.  I used to think that if I had been more informed, more cautious, more observant, things would have turned out differently.  But I know there is no blame.  It just happened.  I’ve forgiven myself, and I’ve moved on.

I’ve learned to listen – really listen – to all the sounds that are out there.  I appreciate more sounds now, like that of falling rain on the tin roof where I live, of ocean waves crashing onto shore, of my shower, and I long for my snoring dog Levi (sure do miss him).  All of these sounds help me know that tinnitus is just one sound.  As annoying as it can be, it is only one sound maybe two.  Maybe one day you’ll discover your special sound.  Maybe it’s the sound of crickets on a summer’s evening.  Maybe that’ll be the best sound you’ve ever heard.  I know I feel that way sometimes.
Like most things in my life it always goes back to music to fill the void and noise between my ears.  Music it like that, it takes away the pain and sends me to places I remember.

"Music makes pictures and often tells stories
All of it magic and all of it true
and all of the pictures and all of the stories
All of the magic, the music is you".


Saturday, October 07, 2017

Life Observation # 191 Adventures

Life Observation # 191        Adventures  
Begin your adventures as early as you can.  I promise you, you will not get burned out.  It actually becomes the most enjoyable way to spend time on Earth as opposed to just pacing the cage.
Now, that is not to say that I don’t have walkabout time left in me.  I know I do, and I know the places I would go.  Fun is about as good a habit as there is, especially when your search for it becomes tempered from wisdom of time experiencing life.  To live it every day!
The destination is not that rewarding if you have not had the experience of the journey.  My walkabout place cannot be yours.  Your walkabout place cannot be somebody else’s. 
You have to find your own!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall is in the Air

Fall is that time of year especially in the South where the festivals pop up every weekend.  There are apple festivals all over north Georgia and many farms and orchards to stop in to buy or pick fruit or vegetables.  Fields of pumpkins or roadside markets to obtain one for the kids to carve are along many roadways here.  It takes one back to simpler times where friends and families gather to go pick apples, peaches, or whatever is ready to harvest.  Nights are getting cooler, mornings are getting to the point that frost briefly appears in the early morning hours until the sun peaks over the distant horizon and the beautiful transition from night to day happens once again.

We all hear it . . . we see it in the changes as we walk through our daily routines.  Sometimes it is subtle when it lasts for several weeks like here in the South as you see a few leaves turn red or yellow and over the next several weeks.  The trees on the hillsides and mountains come alive with color.  When I lived in Alaska things seemed to be at a much faster progression, sometimes it just jumped out at you overnight.  Everything was green then you woke up and all the trees were yellow.  Alaska had very few red leaves on the mountainsides, very few maples or oak trees grow there.  Fall seemed to last only about two days and the wind came blowing all the leaves off the trees.  This left everything brownish until the snow fell bringing the white of winter back once again.

With all that has happened in my life the last year or so I have been thinking a lot about the changes lately and what brings on those variances that make up the fabric of our lives.  Do we bring it on ourselves or by chance did we allow it to just happen totally unaware that in an instant (or over a longer period) things changed.  Was it by choice or circumstance that our lives drastically change for some of us?

In my life music has always been with me going to the many places I’ve traveled and in my iPhone and iPod I have a collection of music that I constantly listen to.  I may just be in my car going between places, on airplanes or listening to my favorites on snowmachines or while I’m working making the time pass with a song in my heart.  I have certain music that I listen to every morning that hopefully sets the mood of my day and others that I pull up from times gone by that bring back certain memories or events in my life where the music that was associated with those times.

Music is dear to us and we tend to hold onto it while technology has forced us to move from format to format making it simple now to carry around a thousand songs on a small device . . . gone are the reel to reel, 8 track, cassettes and our beloved vinyl records from our youth.  We have moved from a 78 rpm to 33-1/3 rpm to the infinite now with the mp3 and other high tech devices.  Quality has improved but also taken a backseat from the days where we had rooms set up for that audiophile perfect sound system.

I am moving away from my topic so I will bring it back on track but you can see that I love music and its place in our lives.

Oddly, I have been feeling this a lot lately . . . how about you?

Reflections on the water like shadows in my mind
Speak to me of passing days and nights and passing time
The falling leaves are whispering winters on its way
I close my eyes remembering the warmth of yesterday

It seems a shame to see September swallowed by the wind
And more than that its oh so sad to see the summer end
And though the changing colors are a lovely thing to see
If it were mine to make the change I think I’d let it be . . .

But I don’t remember hearing anybody asking me . . .

 I first heard this song live in October 1973 at the Municipal Auditorium in Atlanta, Georgia.  It was the first concert John Denver played there and over the years he would play 17 times at four different venues in Atlanta.  I never missed one and for many of us his music brought meaning and a change of consciousness to our lives. 

Those lyrics (Fall) are part of a larger collection of songs called Season Suite which included, Summer, Fall, Winter, Late Winter Early Spring (When everybody goes to Mexico), and Spring.

I guess like the seasons our lives have those same elements with different forces affecting us and through them the changes occur.  Some slowly, some bending or shaping our attitudes, and other times breaking us (events in our lives or to those around us) only to pick ourselves up and grow from the experience of it all.

Is change a good thing or a bad thing for us to experience?  Probably a little of both but one thing is for sure . . . as long as we are still changing . . . God allows us one more day to experience and serve our fellow man.

“But I don’t remember hearing anybody asking me . . .”


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tropical Storm Irma – September 11, 2017

Tropical Storm Irma started in the Atlantic Ocean on August 30, 2017 in the mid-Atlantic Ocean close to the Cape Verde islands?  By September 5, 2017 it had grown into a Category 5 hurricane. Over the next several days it began touching land along several islands (Barbuda, St. Maarten, & Tortola) before making landfall in Cuba.  It then turned slightly north/northwest and hit the United States in the Florida Keys, crossing these islands at Cudjoe Key while continuing north to make landfall at Marco island as a Category 4 storm driving inland northward to Naples up to the east of Tampa roughly following interstate highway 75 through southern Georgia decreasing   strength to a Tropical Storm with sustained winds just below hurricane strength.

Part of my family lives in Jacksonville Beach Florida and having evacuated last year when another hurricane hit their area and St. Augustine decided to once again heed the State’s warnings and comply with the mandatory evacuations.  My brother and his family along with my mama decided to come north this time to my sister’s lake house just north of Atlanta where it looked to be a safe haven to escape the winds, rain, and power outages associated with hurricane season.  My mama is eighty eight years old and does not like or desire to travel much anymore and has made the Jacksonville to Atlanta trip several times in the past year with deaths in our family so another trip north did not appeal to her but was prodded by all of the family to come along once again.

Traffic coming north along almost any road was packed with the over five and a half million people exiting Florida for safer areas of the country.  My brother travels the back roads going through all the small towns and communities usually with much less traffic but this time even those roads were crowded with everyone having the same idea to stay off the interstate highways.  The normal five and a half hour trip took them almost 12 hours leaving their house early Friday morning around 4:30 am to head north.  They arrived at my sister’s house in Duluth just after five pm exhausted and not ready for the additional 1.5 hour drive to the lake house so decided to sleep there for the night and continue in the morning.  Every one settled into the lake house including my sister who wanted to spend time with everyone.  Atlanta issued its first ever tropical storm warning as coastal areas were issued evacuation orders. 

My brother brought along a cooler of frozen food which they cooked so it didn’t go to waste over the weekend.  Saturday was spent resting for my mama and some shopping for items they did not have a chance to bring during the evacuation?  I was going to go down to see everyone but was told to wait until Sunday to give everyone a day to rest.  I invited everyone to come for a cookout in Helen Georgia on Sunday and that is what was planned.  The morning was a little breezy; I set up the tables under the porch to block the wind and started the grill.  Everyone arrived around one thirty that afternoon and lunch was ready to be served shortly after they arrived.

Mama was a little chilled so we moved everything inside having great meal, lively conversation, and what was the latest news about Hurricane Irma’s position.  It had veered more northerly not along the original projected path closer to Jacksonville.  It appeared to be moving toward Tampa and up the center of Georgia where it would downgrade to a Tropical storm once again.  We laughed they had evacuated from their home in Jacksonville Beach to now be in the path of the storm several hundred miles north.  Who knew that it was going to do that and bring the winds and rains with it this far north?

Lunch was great, my brother Ron and I put out the field corn for the deer which come nightly to forage the food.  There are anywhere from three to as many as ten deer that come every night around the same time give or take thirty minutes but usually in that time period just before dusk and nightfall.  Not long after they loaded the car and headed back to the lake house to settle in for the night and get some much needed rest after their long drive from Florida with all the extra traffic.

Sunday night the wind started followed by bands of rain.  Some was steady rainfall then there were periods of heavy downpours lasting about an hour each cycle.  The winds intensified during the night the subsided early Monday morning which was the proverbial “calm before the storm”.  

Monday brought with it strong winds, torrential rain and trees falling everywhere, across roads, in yards, on top of vehicles, and on power lines cutting off power in large areas across Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, as well as Alabama.  Many power companies sent line crews to south Florida to help out there leaving themselves vulnerable to the damage and power outages in their home area.  Electrical and cell phone service was out in many places and remained out for several days in many areas here in north Georgia.

I wanted to go down and see my family again before they returned to Florida and attempted to drive the 40 miles to the lake house to see everyone.  It was not too bad in my area but as I drove south it worsened along the way.  By the time Dawsonville was reached all the stores, restaurants and gas stations were closed due to the storm.  My sister said power was out there so it was not possible to gain access into the boat club’s electrical gate so it was time to head back to Helen.

During the drive back there were trees down across the roads in four places causing detours to get around the downed trees and power lines.  At one several locals quickly took chain saws and cut a path through the blockage in the roadway.  By the time I drove up the driveway the storm was in full force with high gusty winds, rains, and sounds of trees cracking, breaking and falling all around.

Mama and my brother’s family got the word that power was back on so they headed out along with thousands of others for the trek back to Jacksonville Beach.  My sister heard from them in Waycross ten hours later and they were still slowly making their way home.  They found downed fences, broken tree limbs and other debris but came through it again mostly unscathed.   

My friend Jim’s farm had many trees fall across two different hillsides.  The hill between the properties had five large trees come down being pushed over roots and all.  Limbs and debris were all over the yard, decks, and driveway.  The power and cell service went out and in many areas around me I am sure candlelight was the norm during this time.  Flashlights were used; those that had generators probably cranked them up to keep freezers going and food not to spoil.  I had ice cream in the freezer and had to eat several large bowls over the two days without power to keep it from going to waste.

The next morning driving around the area to see how bad the damage was and see if there were any work crews out making repairs I was shocked in what I found.  Several miles down the road I found what the problem was probably as trees were down, power lines across the roadway, power poles snapped into and not a line crew in sight.  I drove into Helen Georgia and was surprised to find that much of the town still had power and people (tourist) were walking around like a normal day.  There was cell service in this area but as quickly as I left town and headed over toward the Richard B. Russell Parkway to see if the road was closed I made my way into Cleveland.  Ingles grocery store was packed and the gas station full but only premium gas was available.  As you drove through town (White County) most of the power was still on.  Driving over to Cornelia and into Habersham County the power was out.  No street signals were working and all the houses had no lights on.

As I approached the main intersection on Hwy 441 nothing was on and everything in the area was closed except the Waffle House which was packed with people eating.  An emergency generator kept them open and seemed to be a welcome sight for those inside.  The communities of Cornelia, Demorest, and Clarkesville were totally without power. Everything closed, very few people milling about and oddly no work crews on any of the downed power lines I saw.

The first crew seen was in Clarkesville close to the hospital working on downed lines there.  Two HEMC crews and two private company crews were working.  That was it.  I had covered over 30 miles and this was the only crew seen.  Maybe they were all sent to Florida leaving this area lacking in working crews.

All the areas driven through looked tattered, limbs down everywhere and people out in their yards with chainsaws, rakes and other items cleaning up the mess.  There was neighbor helping neighbor, no looting or bad behavior just everyone working together to make things better.  

Power was off about 36 hours, AT&T cell service about 48 hours so it was a good time to brew coffee, read a book, and start the cleanup.  Once power came on there was the additional power blowing the leaves, picking up all the fallen limbs, but I still haven’t gotten out the chain saw but my neighbor Jim spent all day yesterday making firewood out of his mess.  I will probably do the same shortly but I’m not in a hurry today for that new project.

Today Thursday, September 14, 2017 there are still many areas around here without power.  Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irma over its several week lifespan caused much heartache, damage, deaths, and property damage across thousands of miles and in several countries.  So far there have been reported 81 deaths and an estimated 62 billion dollars of damage done in this one storm.

And this is just one storm in this hurricane season, something to think about.


Monday, September 11, 2017

911 Remembered

In my generation, which was several generations ago, the question was repeatedly asked, "Where were you when President Kennedy was shot?"

For my generation in that time, there are too many questions with fewer answers. The United States changed directions and suddenly we were in a war called Viet Nam and the loss of this country’s young men’s innocence. Tragedies and calamities abounded in our collective memories.

But as with the saying “time heals all wounds” and we proceeded for many years along a course with unclear direction.  Then new violence cropped up with names like Taliban and Al-Qaeda.  Multiple bombings and acts of violence were happening all over the world giving us a false sense of security while their zealots were infiltrating our country waiting for a time to strike.

The final innocence of America was taken on September 11, 2001, but seems to have somewhat faded now as the one question that will be asked again and again is, "Where were you on 9/11?"

At this time of year, that question doesn't even have to be asked.  It has been sixteen years now and we have all aged somewhat and our consciousness changed in our everyday lives and travels.

Something was lost, flows through my mind,
Which takes me back, to a long ago time?
With visions of how of me (us) and how it used to be . . .

Outside, the sky was blue, cloudless, bright with that early fall sunshine that was not too hot on the skin, not like today which is raining from the remnants of Hurricane Irma.  There was a slight breeze ruffled only the tops of the tall trees in the backyard.  Today there are trees swaying on and off from the gusting winds from the storm. 

Everything looked fresh, clean.  I was returning home from taking my daughter and her friends to school around 7 o’clock that morning (Mountain Time 9:00 am Eastern) when I spent a few minutes out in the yard playing with my dogs, Levi and Casey.

I went back inside where the television was on with Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America, a morning talk show where their easy going banter filled the silence in an otherwise quiet house.  I was in the process of starting to complete several small “honey do” projects I was working on.

Then I could hear on the television, confusion.

In Charlie Gibson's voice the banter was gone.  Diane Sawyer's voice was replaced by broken sentences, words that were coming out staccato. Too many broken pauses in between as they were both searching for words, almost any words; for any information that would explain what has just happened.  We all were searching for understanding as I turned to look at the TV screen.

There were no video pictures coming into the studio yet.  Just two lines repeated over and over – “the Vice-President of CNN had seen a plane crashing into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.” His office had a direct view of the World Trade Center.

I flipped furiously to the other channels - NBC, CBS, and CNN.

The first images that replaced the Good Morning America studio scene were aerial shots of the Twin Towers, smoke billowing out of a gaping hole near the top of one of them.

None of the TV channels had any confirmation that a plane had crashed into one of the towers, yet.  The discussion focused on whether there was an explosion in the building or speculation that maybe it was a helicopter or one of those small chartered planes that had gone off course and struck the building.  They are known to fly low, staying just above the Manhattan skyline, sometimes even seeming to dip in between the buildings.  At this point, there was no thought (at least none that was voiced on television) that it was anything but an accident.

I watched the TV screen taking it all in considering all of the possibilities when I saw another plane entering the screen from the center-right side.  My first reaction was, "This is no accident, God we are under attack!  He's too close to the buildings!"  But before I could finish that thought the plane slammed into the other tower.  A huge fireball was coming out of the opposite side followed by an inferno filled with black smoke.
The TV anchors were now repeating what I had saw describing the second plane.  The theory of the pilot's stupidity now dueling with the theory that may be, it was not an accident.  Everything was compounded by the shock and confusion that this was happening twice within the space of a few minutes.

There really was no other way of reporting what was happening.  They had no more information than I did and the pictures were there for everyone to see.
In an instant, we were all changed . . . America’s innocence died that day.

There were no background file photos, no celebrity fillers. There was no script. This was as real as television could get; reality TV firsthand for everyone, played over and over again.  Similar to watching live television of Lee Harvey Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby in Dallas on that Sunday morning in 1963.

This was not a natural disaster.  This was not a multi-car pile-up on some icy interstate highway.  This now known was a pre-meditated act of war.

This was the story of two planes that came out of the clear blue skies that crisp sunny September morning and crashed into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, pillars of American achievement filled with people from many nationalities and races going about their workday inside.

There was a deep sense of foreboding.  You could sense and feel something was not right.  I could not explain what I was seeing on TV, nor were the people that usually are able to explain things could not, did not, explain what I was seeing on TV. Suddenly without warning, the television screens on all of the channels switched to Washington, DC. where Claire Shipman was on TV; mike in hand, her back to the Vice-President's office, plumes of smoke rising from a building behind her.

From one angle, the building behind the Vice-President's office is the White House.  No one was certain what this meant.  Maybe it’s a fire in one of the buildings?  A few minutes later, the connection was very clear.  Another airplane had flown into the side of the Pentagon that faces Arlington.

Still no information on what really was happening. I don't know, maybe because of the movies, or maybe it is what I (we) were getting used to, maybe getting spoiled even - what with all the news channels, all that information available to us.  The idea has always been that the nation should know what is going on, the images of a Presidents addressing the nation - but I kept thinking, ok, the President will be on any minute.  There will be something or someone at the White House will come on and say what we were waiting to hear.

Everyone in the studios and in the streets had their two cents to put in. The confusion continued and everyone except the people I wanted to hear from was yapping on and on.  I was waiting for an answer to a simple question, "What is going on?"

These thoughts rolled through my mind right then.  They were not the result of some post-mortem or dissection of the events that transpired that day.  I realized for the first time that I was looking for something from the government, something other than services or social security programs or budgets, or low interest rates.

The images of David Bloom (1963-2003) - with ash, debris on his hair, his voice hoarse from the cloud of dust and debris, his face gaunt, his eyes red from the dust, from hours of standing on his feet, his back to the falling towers - is the strongest vision in my mind from all the hours of TV coverage everyone watched, compulsively.
The morning continued on . . .
Then came the news of Flight 93 crashing in Pennsylvania.  By this time, the shock was gone.  There was the realization that whatever or whomever this thing was, it was relentless. America was attacked on our home soil and we seemed powerless to do anything at that moment.

Hours, even days later, the stories continued to come across for the world to see.  The different video footage of the day’s activities from almost every conceivable angle was shown again and again. In retrospect it seems to not have seared into America’s consciousness of what really happened that day.  People complain of the TSA’s attempt to keep us safer. 

Of bodies that were flying out of the windows from both the towers; desperate attempts to escape the fire and heat inside, making that horrible sound hitting the streets far below. 

Of policemen and firemen with dogs risking their own lives to save others' with no thought to their own safety, heroes everyone.  Of Todd Beamer (on Flight 93) and Lisa, the telephone operator who connected him to his pregnant wife, also Lisa, for a final few words before going to meet his death along with the other heroes on the plane. “Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”
There were scenes of thousands of people trudging home on foot for hours slowly making their way away from ground zero.  Without consciously realizing it at the time how many firms that worked in both building losing all their employees in a span of minutes.  Of a six-month old baby waiting for her mother to come home and wailing every time the door opened but the mother did not come.  Of rows and rows of cars waiting at metro stations in New Jersey for their owners to come drive them home.  Many never came.  Of the people who worked at the Pentagon coming home shaken but alive unable to eat for days in the aftermath of the attacks.

Of depression among the people living around the World Trade Center because they are no longer in the shadow of the Twin Towers.  The view outside their windows and our view of the world inexorably altered that morning.

 Our world changed that day . . . Forever . . . When Innocence died.

These final words here changed from a “West Wing” episode but ring true for us today.

"More than any time in recent history, the world’s destiny is not of our own choosing.  We did not seek, nor did we provoke, an assault on our freedom and our way of life.  We did not expect, nor did we invite, a confrontation with evil.  Yet the true measure of a people's strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive.  Many people were killed in the attack on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City.  People were killed by the airplane’s blasts and the resulting collapse of both buildings.  Others were killed or are in critical condition, when after having heard the explosions they ran into the buildings and fire to help get people out.

Ran INTO the fire!

The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight.  They're our friends, and our countrymen, and our parents, and our children.  The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels.  But every time we think we've measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we're reminded that that capacity may well be limitless.

This is a time for Worldly heroes.
We will do what is hard.
We will achieve what is great.

This is a time for Worldly heroes, and we reach for the stars."

We will always remember the fallen and those who unselfishly tried to rescue those in peril and rebuild . . .

 We remember that day . . .