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    Not Today

    If I look I'm not sure that I could face you.
    Not again. not today. not today…


    September 11th. So much changed in these twelve years, and yet… here we are standing - again - on the brink of more war. This knot in my stomach - stubbornly unforgetful when the calendar turns to 9-11 - I can't help but think back.


    I want this day to pass peacefully; I want that my children will never experience a day like that day.


    Love & peace, for those taken on that day, and those left behind.


    video: REM - Final Straw

    …love will be my strongest weapon.
    I do believe that I am not alone.
    For this fear will not destroy me.




    Posted: Sep 10 2013, 23:58 by kelly | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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    Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

    Eleven years ago, fear ruled the day in our country, and its echoes were felt around the world.

    Those echoes - manifest as war, violence, discrimination, hatred - continue to this day.

    And because the vividness of my memory of that day doesn't seem to fade with time, I carry a dream for my children: that one day they and their children will know only peace in this world.

    It may be a dream in the present, but it can become a reality in the future.

    It is with this reality in mind that I teach my children the value of peace, love, acceptance, tolerance, empathy.

    So that it is normal for them. So they know nothing else. And so that they will teach their children.

    War doesn't have to be the way of the world.

    What we believe… becomes what is and what will be.


    Last night I had the strangest dream

    I'd ever dreamed before

    I dreamed the world had all agreed

    To put an end to war

    I dreamed I saw a mighty room

    And the room was filled with men

    And the paper they were signing said

    They'd never fight again

    And when the paper was all signed

    And a million copies made

    They all joined hands and bowed their heads

    And grateful prayers were prayed

    And the people in the streets below

    Were dancing 'round and 'round

    And guns and swords and uniforms

    Were scattered on the ground

    Last night I had the strangest dream

    I'd ever dreamed before

    I dreamed the world had all agreed

    To put an end to war.

    {Words & Music by Ed McCurdy as performed by John Denver, 41 years ago, at a peace march in Washington DC}

    EDITED TO ADD: As I was just finishing up writing this post, my daughter came over to my shoulder. She asked what I was writing about, and we talked a bit about the events of 9-11. I let her know that they might talk about what happened at school, and she nodded - yes, they already had. At that point, I turned on the song above... and to my surprise, she started singing along. "You know this song already," I asked? "Yes," she said, "We learned it at school". My dream of peace for my children, it seems, isn't my dream alone. I ask you all to BELIEVE that we can change our course in this world, one song at a time, one child at a time, one action, one word. We CAN have peace.

    Deep Peace

    On this September 11th, I wish deep peace to everyone on our earth.

    Libera singing one of my favorite sacred chorale songs (it's beautiful, take a moment to listen):

    Deep peace of the running wave to you
    Deep peace of the flowing air to you
    Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
    Deep peace of the shining stars to you
    Deep peace of the gentle night to you
    Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
    Deep peace of Christ the light of the world to you
    Deep peace of Christ to you

    ~Gaelic Blessing (John Rutter)

    Posted: Sep 11 2011, 20:34 by kelly | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |
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    Striving for Peace Amidst the Celebration of War

    I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother, what was war?" 

    ~Eve Merriam


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    I slept uneasily the night I learned Bin Laden was killed.


    The next morning, on the way to work, and throughout the day, NPR was in “breaking news” mode: all the regular programming had been usurped by this news of Osama’s death. I heard our President’s statement. I heard of Americans cheering and honking horns, saw photographs of celebrations in the streets. Juxtaposed with images of the towers falling and the sounds of people screaming, crying, and dying.

    Throughout the day on Twitter and news sites I read words of congratulations, celebration, even joy. I listened to President Obama use words and phrases to describe the mission like, “justice has been done” and “satisfaction” and “true to our values” and “achievement” and “greatness of our country”.


    Those very positive words and sentiments and images – from our President, my fellow Americans and fellow humans, from people I follow on Twitter and Facebook – used in the depiction of a hunt and kill operation of one man we believe was in charge of a terrible terrorist act which directly caused the death of thousands of people on September 11th 2001, leading to more thousands of deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last nearly ten years, and a generally heightened sense of fear and hatred and unease worldwide of people “different than us” and of Americans in general by the rest of the world – such  overt congratulations and joviality in a discussion of war, death, tragedy… while I can understand a sense of relief and maybe even hope, that Bin Laden’s death might somehow signal an end to an era; perhaps usher in a new era of peace… all the celebrations and congratulations seemed the very antithesis of what I was feeling. So, I tweeted:



    Here was our media presenting our nation as cheering death; yet death and war and killing continues. The ending of life of one tyrant doesn’t signal the end of terrorism. What kind of message are we sending the world when others see photographs of celebrations on what is essentially the grave site of thousands of people of all races, religions, nationalities? We laud the death of Bin Laden as “justice”, but does it really justify dancing in the streets? Do the parents and spouses and children of those lost on 9-11 and in the wars since feel justice has been done? Their loved ones are still not with them. I fear these images the media is broadcasting serves only to add fuel to an already viciously burning fire of hate and anger in our world.


    It all makes me feel so very uneasy.


    Over the last few days I’ve been repeatedly transported back to the day that the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Our world has changed so dramatically in the last ten years. Every year as 9-11 approaches, I think about how to discuss it with our children. I can’t help but wonder how an innocent child would process these recent images of partying on the site of the worst terrorist attack on the US in celebration of the death of the apparent mastermind of said attack. It boggles my mind how to explain the dichotomy of feelings between craving peace and understanding for all people, of experiencing relief or hope that the death of Bin Laden might signal some sort of end to war and terrorism expressed in celebration, and of the dark realization that there still is so much anger, hatred, fear, and violence alive in our world. I can’t hardly explain it myself.


    I realize I can't choose or change the way others react to situations. But I can and will choose for myself to practice and strive for peace in my home and in my everyday life; and hope that my children will learn peace is a way of life, and a goal worth reaching for. I will choose to carry the light and energy of hope with me, so that my children will take it with them through their lives, touching others with the light of peace.  Because I believe it is only from a place of peace and understanding and empathy that the world will heal.


    I came across this eloquently written and touching blog post; a mother's reaction to Bin Laden's death & the subsequent celebration: Why I'm Not Celebrating Osama bin Laden's Death by Josette at Haushki.com and wanted to share it with you, as it moved me.

    Posted: May 06 2011, 00:05 by kelly | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |
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    Remembering 9-11

    I remember where I was 9 years ago. It was our one month wedding anniversary.  I was driving into work, down Rt. 95, listening to NPR, Suddenly, classical music came to a halt, and they cut in to explain that a plane had crashed into the world trade center. Wow, I thought, what a terrible accident.  I was almost to the library.  It was just a bit after a quarter of 9. I arrived at the library, walked through the front doors, to my desk. Everyone was working as normal. “Turn on the radio. There’s been a plane crash – it crashed into the World Trade Center.” I turned on my computer, pulled up CNN.com – I remember it was still working fine at that point.  The office radio came on; our ears glued to the news reports, still indicating an accident; when suddenly – another plane hit the other tower.  It was 9:03.  We were listening as it happened.  There was a transformation in the room at that moment… a sense of confusion descended, as a plane crash (accident) turned to a double plane crash (how can that happen?). Was there something going on with radar systems? Were there other planes crashing? I don’t remember thinking of the people IN the buildings yet – just the planes, and how they could have possibly both crashed into huge buildings. Thinking, almost exactly: what was going on?  


    I called my husband at work – told him to turn on the radio, quickly. I was continually refreshing CNN.com – looking, maybe(?) for some indication this whole thing was a hoax?  But CNN, CBS, NPR, all the websites were showing the same horrible scenes; and talk was starting about purposeful crashing of planes. The morning passed simultaneously syrup slow and lightening fast.  I remember telling every student that came to the library front desk to check the news report – did you hear about the planes? Then immediately returning to my desk to check the news once again.  CNN.com was starting to slow down.  I remember feeling frustrated – I just wanted to know what was going on – why can’t the internet MOVE. At 9:37am, a plane hit the Pentagon.  Anxiety. I felt it.  Suddenly what had once been wow, then confusion, became terror. Panic. What is happening, right here, in my country, right now, in the city where I'd so recently worked? I called my husband again.  My cell phone didn’t connect.


      I kept calling, as we all moved down to the library’s basement – to the AV room, where they had a television set up.  All of the library staff was there, crowded into a small room, around a tiny television.  I think there were students there too – what I remember most was being surrounded by people – all of us scared, confused, staring at the screen, which was showing constant footage of two towers billowing black smoke, interspersed with images of the chaos on the ground in front of the smoking Pentagon building. I remember saying, “I used to work right there.” (I had worked briefly in WTC 7 – American Express – across Vesey St. from Tower 1) We were all standing in a group, watching in horror, amazement, disbelief.  The scene was unrecognizable, yet, so familiar. I used to take the E to the Chambers Street WTC stop to the underground mall. I would buy soup from Hale & Hearty. I used to have lunch in the shadow of the twin towers. I think I said some of this, or all of it.  My coworkers looking at me, asking questions.  Everyone confused, talking, trying to get phone calls to connect.  I finally got through to Adam – who told me to stay put.  Stay put.  We watched in amazed horror at people falling from the buildings to their death. Firefighters helping people out of buildings. Listened to people talking about their experience being up in the building, hearing the crash, trying to get down smoke-filled hallways, crowded stairways, repeated (over and over) footage of the second impact. And then…the first of the two towers fell.  The footage was spectacular. Unbelievable. Otherworldly.  Like something out of a science fiction movie.  People running, screaming down the street with smoke and debris in clouds behind them. Then the plane crashing in Pennsylvania.  Then, the second tower falling.  I felt like I was in the midst of a war. It was terrifying. 


     I don’t remember much detail of the rest of my day.  I was going through the motions.  Telling students what happened. Watching their faces go from wonder to horror at the library’s computers. Everyone on their cell phones – trying to contact family members.  I was so frightened, so confused, anticipatory.  What would happen next? I drove home in a daze, listening to NPR, turned on the television the moment I stepped in the door. And I’m not sure that we turned off the television that evening. I kept CNN.com on constantly. I cried. One short week after 9-11, the anthrax attacks started. I know for certain that I didn’t feel safe for a good long time.


    I have yet to visit ground zero.  I’ve driven by the end of Manhattan when the beams of light were shining up at night. Adam has visited. I’m just not sure I want to be there. I didn’t lose anyone in the attacks; just my ability to ever re-experience things there the way they were. I have memories in my mind of how it felt to be there, before the attacks… it still feels that way in some part of my mind. I don’t know when I’ll want to change that.

    As for our children and the attacks on 9-11.  We’ve said that bad people did a terrible thing, hurting a lot of people, on that day, and that we remember them on the same day, each year. I’m not sure that I’ll never be able to convey the real confusion of that day; the fear I – and everyone – felt. The fear that I think we all still live with – to a certain extent – in this country. A fear that my children were born into; are growing up in. I want to tell them the story as I experienced it – someday. I imagine it will feel the way my mother’s stories of the death of JFK felt to me – distant. But I do remember, and I’ll want them to know my memories. I want them to know the love I have for my country, and how scared I felt when I wasn’t sure it was going to be here anymore. I want to tell them how important peace is.  And how an event like this reminds us not to take peace for granted. Someday we’ll share our memories.  For now, I remember. 


    I wish peace to those families far less fortunate than I who lost loved ones in the attacks. Peace to eveyone in this country that I love. Peace to all people in all countries. Peace to the world – this one world we all share.   


    Deep peace of the running wave to you.
    Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
    Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
    Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
    Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.


    ~Gaelic Blessing


    Posted: Sep 11 2010, 23:59 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Nostalgia | Castle Building