The Week of 9-11... In a Time of War
You can't help but notice the number of commercials for upcoming programs and specials commemorating the 7th anniversary of 9-11-01. There is one show that I would like to see -- the compilation of New Yorkers' photos and film taken on that day.... 102 Minutes That Changed America. I find it somewhat quizzical (think of Mr. Spock's raised eyebrow) that the two Presidential candidates are making a joint appearance at Ground Zero... I have heard John McCain speak candidly about his thoughts and reactions that day... I have never heard Barrack Obama speak of his. The anniversary and thoughts of that day still -- and I suppose will always -- make my chest tighten when I am forced to think about it. I scheduled a medical appointment and other mundane tasks for most of the day more as a distraction than an attempt to make it a normal day. 9-11 will never be a normal day. Our flags will be flown at half staff (in the case of the stationary flags that don't lower, with a black streamer) this Patriot Day.
People tell me all the time how 9-11 changed them. I remember my email to a dear high school friend living in Colorado as the events of that day unfolded... he had emailed to ask if I was ok and was there anything he could do for me or my family. I was, at that moment, ensconced in my midtown Manhattan office in the relative safety (relative being a relative term in those hours immediately following the attacks) 26th floors above the Grand Central complex. I remember telling him some of what we were experiencing and finished my email response with "The world as we know it has changed forever..." How prescient but how little I really knew!!
One day I'd like to go back to Ground Zero... be there when the new Freedom Tower is dedicated. I'd feel the circle closing. I'd like to still be around when they rebuild the rest and the memorial and the museum. I like to occasionally log on and watch the rebuilding at Ground Zero from the live cameras (Cam 1, 2 & 3...)
9-11-01 changed virtually everyone -- some for better and some not. Sometimes we can be distracted from just how much one event can affect peoples' lives... but it's occasionally good to be reminded.
I recently received an email from Bill Murphy, Jr. who said,
Several years ago, I first learned the story of the U.S. Military Academy's class of 2002, the first cadets in a generation to graduate from West Point in wartime. Theirs is a story of service and sacrifice, inspiration and honor, heroism and heartbreak---and it is a story I absolutely had to tell.
After 42 months of work, more than 600 interviews, and reporting that took me across the United States and to Iraq, my new book---“In a Time of War: the Proud & Perilous Journey of West Point’s Class of 2002”---is set for release on September 16.
The video is touching (and they are working on getting a download of Jeff Himmelman's awesome version of the Army song you hear on the video)...
I am looking forward to reading the book... We lived for a number of years very near to West Point and loved to wander the grounds there... sit on the great lawns and read... Watch the fireworks at Trophy Point and listen to the cannons roar at the conclusion of "The 1812 Overture" (though it was a nightmare getting in/out and parking -- it was worth the effort!) We had tea and attended receptions at the Thayer Hotel... we have pictures of each of the children sitting on the cannons... and while they could not officially walk down Flirtation Walk, after hearing the story on a family visit to "the Point", our [now] son-in-law actually got down on one knee and proposed (for the second time) to the beautiful H. and somewhere I have a picture of him doing so in front of the marker... We attended many concerts and functions at Eisenhower Hall... ate many a meal at the O Club there, as well. Shopped at the Commisary and PX (Post Exchange). Noah crewed (rowed) on the Hudson River there. My friend, Thomas Martin (KIA 10/07) was an '05 graduate of the Academy. I have a very personal connection to West Point and the fine men and women who accept the honor and the responsibility of attending and graduating from there. As I said, I am looking forward to reading this book... although I know it will be another "hard read".
There is a website for In a Time of War where you can read about the book and even read the first chapter for free. There are a number of events and appearances already planned so be sure to check out the "Appearances" tab on the site. You can also pre-order the book from any number of sellers -- the links are on the site. The burden of this war on terror has been borne by an inordinately small percentage of the American populace... and the story of USMA '02 reminds us how great the burden -- and how remarkable those that bear it.