Never forget

WARNING: There is a video included in this post that contains video footage of the news reports as they broadcast the attack on the second World Trade Center tower on the morning of September 11, 2001. If this is disturbing to you, please do not view the video.

No one will likely forget that early morning on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. How could we? It was the day that, for many Americans, changed the way we lived our lives. Unlike any other day before it, our nation came under attack by a faceless, nameless enemy who sought to do America great harm. And for a time, they succeeded.

I remember that morning. I had gotten up earlier than I normally did, and was sitting on my couch putting my shoes on when I turned on the TV. I wasn’t looking for the morning news at the time. I had actually turned the channel to ESPN to see if there was a status report on Ed McCaffrey’s broken leg from the Broncos/Giants game the Monday night before. So you can imagine my surprise when I turned on ESPN and saw a CNN report of what was transpiring in New York.

I quickly scanned through the channels on my TV to see if this was a big story. Indeed, every channel that was broadcasting was broadcasting the story as it unfolded. I remember seeing the first of the two big towers burning from the top and seeing the black smoke billowing from the top of that building. I remember thinking to myself “how does a fire start way up there?”. I also remember thinking “how are firefighters going to attack that fire?”. As I sat there, amazed at the spectacle before me, and hearing the news reports that there may have been a plane involved in this fire, I watched, stunned, as the second plane hit the second tower. I was without words, and without thought for a moment.

Then it hit me. The security that we as a nation had come to take for granted was being exploited right before our eyes. As the news reports continued to pour in it became evident that evil people managed to infiltrate our country, steal four airplanes and proceed to attack us with them. With an intent to kill, these terrorists successfully carried out the largest single concerted killing attack on American soil to date. We were, in a word, vulnerable.

The reality of the attacks become even more grave later in the morning as I drove to work under a clear blue sky. There was not a cloud above. Neither were there any airplanes. The FAA had grounded all flights in the country so the sky was quiet. I had never seen the sky like that. I live in the middle of the San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose triangle so I see airplanes overhead every couple of minutes. Yet on this clear blue morning not even the sound of a prop plane could be heard. It was eerie.

As I got to work I went to my boss’s office because he had a TV. A lot of the people I worked with were in that office watching the news continue to unfold. We heard about a potential attack on the white house and another one on the pentagon. We began to learn of who the attackers might be and what their plan might have been. We learned that all of the planes involved in the attack that day were east coast to west coast non stop flights which meant they were completely full of fuel when they left New York. It also meant that a good number of passengers on those flights were from California.

We learned that a plane had crashed somewhere in Pennsylvania, in the middle of a field. We later learned that it ended up there because some brave men and women would not settle for being taken captive and fought like hell for their lives. Later in the day we watched as the towers fell with people still in them. Workers, firefighters, police officers, good Samaritans… thousands of lives were lost in an instant when those towers collapsed.

We also learned later that there were people jumping from hundreds of feet up to avoid the raging and intense heat of the rocket fuel burning them up. We began to see the damage wrought by the attacks of a handful of evil cowards that sought to do us harm as a nation. But we learned something of supreme importance that day as well.

We learned that we are a country of red-blooded, ass-kicking, proud and strong Americans and don’t take to getting punched in the face that easy. The “great American rally” started that day and brought us closer as a country than we had ever been. Religious lines were shattered, political lines erased, socioeconomic differences set aside. We came together starting that day for the common cause of showing the world that we are stronger than the attackers and more resilient that they thought.

I will never forget that day. I will never forget the fear I felt, for an instance, for my children and the world they would eventually grow up to inherit. I will never forget the sense of vulnerability I felt that morning. I will never forget seeing the men and women who knew they were going to die run into those buildings to save just one more person. I will never forget the people on the ground helping hurting, crying and dying people. I will never forget.

And I will never forget how our country has responded to the attacks. I will never forget the sense of pride I had as an American as people dug deep to raise money for families affected by the attacks. I will never forget the outpouring of people attending churches in the months after the attacks. I will never forget the mass movement by young men and women to join our armed forces for the purposes of fighting this cowardly, faceless enemy. I will never forget the sense of urgency our country felt in living life to the fullest after the attacks. I will never forget what it was like being an American after those attacks.

So today I would ask that you keep the surviving family members of those lost in the attacks in your prayers. Remember the families, remember the losses, remember the rally and remember our country. I will remember that day forever. I will never forget.

An all day sleep

You ever had one of those really weird days where things go different than you thought they would and leave you wondering what happened at the end of the day? Yeah, I kinda had one of those yesterday. And today, too, actually.

I think this has to do a lot with the way Valentine’s day went and the subsequent collapse of said day at the end. Whatever the case, all I know is that my wife was laid up today like she has not been in a long while. She got up to go to church and when she got home she went straight to bed. And stayed there. Pretty much all day.

I am cool with that. It gave me and the kids time to spend together. I was able to handle not only lunch for them but dinner as well. And we were able to play the Wii a lot. But I think I rather missed my wife being part of our family today. About a year and a half ago, when she began what would become a heated year long battle with depression and anxiety, she would spend days on end like this. Up until three or four in the morning then sleep all day long. She would have bouts with physical ailments and conditions. It was a rough time.

And though I believe it is possible to be healed of disease and sickness quickly, historically depression takes a long time to work out. Not to be counted out, Sandi has shown remarkable signs of improvement since this past October and it wasn’t until today that there seemed even the most remote chance of it creeping back. I pray that is not the case. I hope Sandi is just not feeling well and needed the rest all day to help her body recover. Whatever the case, I did enjoy my day today with my kids. I kinda wish the weather was better so we could have gone out and done something, but still, just having time with them was pretty rad.

In any event, today being as strange and long as it was, I had a good day. I hope your Sunday was good, too.

Is this the start of something?

Yesterday I wrote about a family that was murdered by the head of their household who subsequently killed himself all because he got fired from his job. I have a special level of anger and negative feelings for pieces of crap like that and I am always shocked when I hear stories like that.

What shocks me more is that today it was reported that in Ohio another family was found dead from what appeared to be a suicidal, murderous, cowardly father. Come on. Where are all the men going?

All day long we hear about the “tough economic times” and the “economic downturn”. We hear about layoffs, cutbacks, belt tightening and conservation. Everyone is going through it. Why in the hell would anyone take the life of their family because of it? WHAT THE F***?!?!?!

Again, I am at a loss for words. Again, I am shocked that this happens. My heart goes out to the families that are left behind to deal with this very confusing, nonsensical incident. They, like the families of the bastard that did his household in down in Los Angeles, need prayer and comfort right now. Lift them up in your prayer. And pray that this epidemic stops.

What kind of a piece of crap does this?

I was reading a story today about a man in Los Angeles who took the lives of his wife, his five very young kids and himself after he and his wife lost their jobs and could not put the pieces of this thing in my head. How does someone see this as the only solution?

I mean if you want to shoot yourself in the head Mr. “no-way-out” by all means, do it. Being a coward is a tough thing to live with. Sure, it would make life for your family very hard but at least they would still have a life and a chance.

But how do you point a gun at your babies, eight years old and under, and pull the trigger not once, but five times on them, then on your wife, then on yourself? And all because you and your wife got fired from your jobs?

At some point a man needs to step up and be a man. Life is tough. God knows that everyday is a struggle to maintain our masculinity and position of authority. But for the life of me I cannot fathom how a person does this.

I was flabbergasted today. Left without words. Totally shocked by this to the point of confusion. That doesn’t happen to me much. Maybe it was because it was so close to home for me. I mean, I have a wife and five kids too. Not as young as those, but still, kids that need a mom and dad. It just rocked me to the core reading the story.

Now all I can think is that there are relatives left with the task of making sense of this all. They need prayer. Lots of it. So if you pray, please lift that family up in prayer that they would be protected, covered, blessed in some way by all of this and that they could find peace somewhere in the midst of this tragedy.

No sooner did I say I didn’t want to …

… then I do it anyway: today was teh suck.

What made it the suckiest day of the year so far was a combination of miscommunication, lack of financial accountability and complete failure of management on my part. You see, it was just after noon today and Sandi had gone to the store. While she was out a black, unmarked tow truck slowly drove through my court. Up the court it went, down the court it returned. And it stopped, in front of my house.

Anyone that has ever been even remotely associated with the car business knows that plain Jane tow trucks, whether white or black, mean only one thing: The repo man cometh. But it couldn’t be for me.

Immediately I thought that there was no way that this truck could be at my house to take my Vibe. I just paid it, just before Christmas. And the Suburban had to be in at least decent shape. At least I thought it was. But to be on the safe side I decided to call GMAC and see where my account stood. Apparently it didn’t stand at all.

I was told by my account rep that my account was severely past due and that I needed to come up with some ungodly amount of cash to remove the repo order that was on my account. Yes, you heard that right, my truck was slated for repossession. And that scared the hell out of me.

I had a vehicle repossessed once before, back in 1997, and it took forever to get that case resolved. It was costly, embarrassing and detrimental to my credit for years and years. There is no way I could allow this to happen again. So I had to negotiate and negotiate fast. And I did.

In the end I agreed to immediately pay some smaller ungodly amount of money to hopefully get the repo man off my back. That was, of course, after I discovered that GMAC has apparently been trying to get in touch with me for weeks. Though I have had no messages from them at work, at home or on my cell phone. There has been this one 800 number that has called quite a bit but every time I answer it there is no one on the other line. I guess this must be the times my rep says he left messages for me.

Either way I had to get the repo order lifted, so I ran around today getting large sums of cash gathered up and sending it by wire to GMAC in hopes that the repo man could be called off in time. I am still not sure if it worked, but I am hoping that when I wake up tomorrow that my vehicle will be where I left it (which incidentally is not at my home – I cannot take the chance that the order didn’t get lifted in time). This is a hell of a way to start the year.

Pray for me. I need it. Times are tougher than I thought they would be two days into the year. I really cannot afford to start off this way, so I am coveting as many prayers as I can get. And pray for my kids, too, please. They are taking this well without knowing everything. But I can sense they can sense something. So I need prayer for them as well.

Regardless, something has to give. I cannot end a year like last year by getting off to a start like this year. That is a recipe for disaster.