United We Stand
In light of the tragic events that occurred at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. I would like to extend my deepest, most hearfelt condolences to the families of the victims - those directly and indirectly affected by the tragedy, and the rest of the nation in this time of mourning.
We are a nation who will not stand for senseless acts of violence or terrorism, and we will prevail. If any of you would like to send me your thoughts and feelings of the tragic events through e-mail, I will gladly post them here as soon as possible. Thank you, and may God Bless us all.
I have seen this article several times in the past, but I think I have recieved it at least a dozen times in the last 2 days and I doubt that this article ever had so much meaning or asked so many questions as it does today.
This is from a Canadian newspaper and is worth sharing.
America: The Good Neighbor.
Widespread but only partial
news coverage was given recently to a
remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair,
a Canadian television commentator.
What follows is the full
text of his trenchant remarks as
printed in the Congressional Record:
"This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as
the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people
on all the earth.
Germany, Japan and, to a
lesser extent, Britain and Italy were
lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in
billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts.
None of these countries is today paying even the interest
on its remaining debts to the United States.
When France was in danger
of collapsing in 1956, it was the
Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted
and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.
When earthquakes hit distant
cities, it is the United States
that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities
were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.
The Marshall Plan and the
Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars
into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are
writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans.
I'd like to see just one
of those countries that is gloating over
the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane.
Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal
the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10?
If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines
except Russia fly American Planes?
Why does no other land on
earth even consider putting a man or
woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios.
You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles.
You talk about American technocracy,
and you find men on the
moon-not once, but several times-and safely home again.
You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right
in the store window for everybody to look at.
Even their draft-dodgers
are not pursued and hounded. They are
here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking
Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at
home to spend here.
When the railways of France,
Germany and India were breaking down
through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them.
When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went
broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.
I can name you 5000 times
when the Americans raced to the help of
other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when
someone else raced to the Americans in trouble?
I don't think there was outside help even during the San
Our neighbors have faced
it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is
damned tired of hearing them get kicked around.
They will come out of this thing with their flag high.
And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at
the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope
Canada is not one of those."
Stand proud, America!
I would hope that each of
you would send this to as many people
as you can and emphasize that they should send it to as many
of their friends until this letter is sent to every person on the
Through it all, the American Flag still proudly waves.
Giving Hope To A Nation
acrid stench of dust and viscera stung my nose as my hands turned up the rubble
with as much gentleness as a madman can sustain. I could just see it through
the debris, its tattered fingers shredded by molten steel and concrete. The
sirens echoed in my ears, punctuated with the staccato screams of heroes and
victims. My eyes were burning, what tears I shed fought a losing battle with
the destruction that hung in the air. With sweat-soaked fury, I flung pieces
of stone and metal, tunneling as best as my calloused fingers could. Section
after section I uncovered, only displaying more lacerations, her disjointed
fluttering in the dusty breeze the convulsions of the dying. Her broad stripes
and white stars were slick with ferric blood, tainting my grey skin as I bore
her from the rubble, cradling the limp, tattered cloth in my arms.
Her stripes were parsed from one another, red and white slit from their seams and fluttering in the wind like frightened pigeons. Her blue was torn asunder, fifty states reduced to one, the eastern spire still smoldering from the flames. I licked my thumb and forefinger, tasting the earth, and put out the burn with a gentleness I had never known. My arm caressed the fluttering bars, soothing their angry discord, placing them against my knee. They never tried to rise again.
My mind faltered, beholding what this senseless, cowardly destruction had wrought. The scope was beyond my comprehension. My very being tried to wrap itself around the events and find some solace, some rationalization for the chaos and desolation around me. The whole world collapsed upon itself, burying what I had been brought up to stand for and defend, crushing it under the might of fear and terror.
I clutched the silent Glory to my chest and wept. I had failed her, and my fellow compatriots had perished. Tears flowed freely now, doing what they could to wash away the stains of blood and dust that soured the once-gleaming red, white and blue that adorned her every thread. Great heaving sobs overtook me; I could smell, no, taste the death and destruction on her. So palpable was it that my stomach turned and leapt into my throat, bile stinging my mouth and threatening to dishonor my beloved yet again.
A hand fell on my shoulder. I raised my head quickly, for fear that someone had come to take her from me forever. My sodden eyes met with those of a dark-skinned girl, a look of unfathomable grief on her face, the Tilaka on her forehead barely visible for the soot that coated her. Her cheeks were mottled with wet dirt, yet her sari still seemed to flow happily with the wind, in spite of its own adorned grey.
You okay? She spoke in English, but with difficulty.
I couldnt reply, but instead held the tattered remains of my beloved in my arms and showed her the damage. She nodded in understanding.
Here, she said once again, as her hand reached into her robes, this will help. Out came her delicate hand, and with it, three spindles of thread and three needles. She sat next to me and took up my lovers stripes. Handing me two spools and needles, she took the third and threaded them, and began to stitch in silence. Her tears flowed once again, falling upon her work as she sewed. She paid them no mind, instead letting them soak into the cloth, slowly washing away the decay.
I watched her with bewilderment, until another hand broke my vision. This one was lighter, but also effeminate, the slender digits looking as white as winter snow. It slid down and gracefully swept up a spool and needle from my own trembling fingers, and the owner sat next to me. She was a young girl, wearing a red sweater and had the most striking maple leaf earrings that seemed to glitter and pierce the dust as they caught what little light there was.
Sorry to frighten you, she spoke, her dialect sprinkled lightly with the sound of downtown Paris. She took up the needle and thread and began to sew, taking the time after a moment to look at me, sitting next to her and the other woman.
You know how to mend? She asked. I shook my head; I didnt know where to start.
She stopped, and took her hands in mine, and helped me thread the needle. With care, she taught me the motions: how to loop through the fabric, how to bring the stripes together and hold them with the string.
There. Thats not so hard, eh? Her earrings twittered again, her warm smile disturbing them and making them swing in the dusty light.
I looked at my fingers and watched them go through the motions, my heart still as empty as the blue void that spawned the stripes. My gazed lifted to the badge that once carried our states, and my heart sank again. The one star that remained seemed so lonely, so full of loss and despair.
Is yours, Mister.
The childs voice startled me, and I shot my head up to see who had spoke, my knuckles clutching the stripes I worked on in fear. He stood on the concrete shards, so covered in dust that he seemed to have crawled out of the rubble itself. Tan skinned and almond-eyed, the only thing that was reasonably unmarred about his presentation was the hat he wore. It was your generic baseball cap, which read Bejing 08 interspersed in the Olympic rings.
His hand was outstretched, and in it was a bloodied cloth star.
Suddenly, the mountain of debris seemed to heave all around me. The slabs of concrete and steel were tossed aside as something from below arose. The shuddering pile coughed gales of dust and ash, and in the clouded air I could see people rising from the chaos, pulling themselves from the destruction and standing on their own accord. Multitudes drew themselves from the ashes, and made their way towards me, and my Glory.
Slowly, they took their places next to the child, and I could now see that each was different, even through the musky cloud. One wore the Star of David on his sleeve, another was a lanky African man, and still another smiled like they only do in Bavaria. They kept coming and coming, waves of them, crawling from the discarded rubble and coming forth, and in each of their hands was a woven white star. They spoke dialects that I had never heard, foreign languages, and yet all of their messages sounded the same.
One by one, these people, these strangers filled the holes in the navy field, sliding the stars into place, covering the jagged and sharp metal that tore through. In a daze, I stitched them together hastily, my expression empty, my mind still not fathoming what I was experiencing.
I could not count, but each tattered, crimson-stained star fell into place, and I sewed them together and joined them with their wayward siblings. I didnt notice when the stars stopped falling, and the words stopped being spoken, I only reached my hand out to accept another.
It was clutched and hoisted up by a surprising strength, the hand that held mine gnarled as a southern oak, and grayed with age, not ash. I bore my patchwork Glory up with me as I was lifted from the wreckage. My feet lost purchase, and I was steadied by the man who lifted me. He was an elderly gentleman, who carried himself with more purpose than I could have mustered in a lifetime. He wore a dress Navy uniform, clean as the day it was made, with stripes and medals adorning his breast. His hands were knotted and arthritic, but gripped mine with a strength belling their visage.
Let me have that, young man. With no resistance from me, he gently took the hastily sewed cloth from my hands. He took a few steps away, and we all watched as he approached the overturned spire, a cable attached to its length snapping hungrily in the wind. With shaky hands, he ran the wire through the holes of Old Glory, and raised her high as he could. We all watched in silence as she took purchase in the wind, her broad stripes and bright stars once again flapping in unison.
She was different, somehow, and yet, still the same. Her tattered navy badge, quickly hewn stripes were a strange visage, but I could not bring to my mind anytime that she had not looked more beautiful.
The old man saluted her as I approached, his hand sharply underlining the 12/07/41 that was embroidered on his hat.
Is is this what it means to be an American? I asked, my voice barely heard even in my own ears.
No, son, He took my shaking right hand in his left, steadied it as he straightened my fingers and pressed them to my forehead. My heart instantly exploded in my chest, and rivers of joy ran marathons down my cheeks.
That is what it means to be an American.