Tag Archives: sacrifice


September 11

It has been twelve years, but the memories of that day are still fresh in my mind. We had been in school for about week. Mid-way through the second period of the day, our principal Ann Monday came over the PA system to say that an airplane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. We had been atop one of the Towers just three weeks earlier, and I remember looking down and seeing a Cessna flying along the Hudson below us. I figured it was a light aircraft, and that couldn’t do much damage. My students were working on an assignment, and I looked quickly at my computer for a news feed. What I saw were the shocking images we are all too familiar with from that day.

The students finished their assignment, and were curious to see what was happening. We had a news feed on the classroom television, so I turned that on, telling them that they probably didn’t want to see it. They didn’t  react much, but left in silence. Then, chaos ensued as students gathered, hugging and crying, especially as news leaked out of the attack on the Pentagon where some of their parents worked. I remember especially one of my students who had come from Afghanistan holding another student whose father worked at the Pentagon.

Parents began arriving in droves to pick up their students because the phone lines were tied up. Classes were clearly done for the day, so I helped parents find classrooms. The buses came early, and soon the school was deserted. The teachers went to their cars and left.

I drove home listening to the news on the radio, thinking that the brother of one of our daughter Amy’s college friends worked on the 101st floor of one of the towers. Matthew Horning did not survive. We remember him every year with a donation to Heifer, International, which provides families around the world with livestock to allow them to improve their lives.

Everything was canceled that dark day, and our daughters joined us for dinner. There was no school the next day, and with all flights cancelled, an odd silence in the skies as no giant airliners came above our house on their way to land at Dulles Airport.

And so we remember…sacrifice and courage, and the day that “the world stopped turning.” May we never forget.

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Friday Poem of the Week: June 6


June 6

A day in late spring

In which I did a little painting of part of a cinder block wall

Wrote on the computer for several hours

Had three good meals

Listened to the radio

And took a nap

But I was thinking

Of June 6 sixty-nine years before

And a place an ocean removed from my comfortable home.


And of the thousands of men and women involved in the greatest invasion in history

Dropping into danger, coming ashore under murderous fire, scaling high cliffs,

Dying, wounded, striving and finally prevailing on that day,

The beginning of the end for the Thousand-Year Reich.

My mother talked of ironing and listening to the news on the radio

My father was somewhere in Burma or China or India

(He said they often didn’t know where they were)

And I am right here, musing that there was so little notice of the sacrifices made on this day

And thinking that there needs to be some kind of notice.

And so, brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, people on the home front, here is your notice:

On this day I salute you and I thank you, living and dead, for your sacrifice

That gave me this peaceful day

On June 6

So many years


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