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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11, 2001

A day of watching the saddest historical event in my lifetime. As if by watching we could help, or stop it, or see what would happen next. We were glued to the TV.

We prayed, cried. Our thoughts ran the gamut from "What's next?" "Is it over?" to "Oh my word--- the pain of the survivors and the terror of those lost." Like so many others- I felt helpless and vulnerable. I prayed for God's mercy- I prayed for God's comfort for everyone affected.

And then, we had to have a flag. I can't really explain why it happened- but somehow, during that day or two after 9/11 my energy became channeled into a singular quest. A quest for a flag.

It would be a sign of patriotism and unity. A symbol of courage in the face of terrorism. We had to have one, immediately.

I went to all the places they typically hung - awaiting sale. They had always been there before. Meijer's. Ace Hardware. K-Mart. Target. Nothing.

Then we searched out flag makers. Online, and local. EVERYONE was out. NO FLAGS were to be found withing 48 hours of 9-11.

I placed an order- and while we waited- I devised possibilities. I looked up patterns for sewing our own flag. We talked about the symbolism in the American flag. In the end- we decided sewing would take me too long- and- the white embroidered stars I wanted had also become "out of stock." I'm certainly no Betsy Ross- my skills are limited, and apparently sewing your own flag wasn't a novel idea. Others had already been there before me.

So- I bought foam squares. We carefully cut out red and white stripes. We cut out blue fields. Then white stars. We glued them together. We waited impatiently while they dried. We hung them in the front window. Our families first contribution towards unity.

The flag we'd ordered, soon arrived. A flag has hung from our front porch ever since. Somedays it is full of meaning- like today. Other days- I barely notice it. I have mixed emotions about that. It makes me sad- that I can walk by a flag without much of a thought, when others are dying for it's cause. And yet- it also makes me happy- because 9/11 is a day that signifies both remembrance of loss and the hope that comes from life's continuance. It's a slow return to a new normal.

9/11 is a day to be remembered- the people lost- people like Vivian Casalduc
whom I was honored to write a tribute for last year.

9/11 is also a day to find hope in. In the face of attack. In the face of unspeakable loss- our flag was still there. There are still people fighting for what it stands for. 9-11 was a day where we lost so many people- and we found so many heroes.

Policemen, firemen, EMS workers, Doctors, Nurses, professionals in stairwells, normal everyday people who became heroes by helping others.

Today- I remember them all- past and present- when I see our flag.

Star Spangled
Banner- Francis Scott Keys

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream: '
T is the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us as a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause. it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Dear Jesus- I pray for comfort for those for whom 9/11 brings thoughts of great loss. I pray for blessing on those who sacrificed so much to help others. I pray for courage for those even now- fighting to assure that 9/11 never happens again. I pray for wisdom for those who must make the excruciating decisions in regards to the war that has resulted. I pray for the families left behind- that you'd help them, and carry them through. amen

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