Tag Archives: 9/11

Memories Are the Key Not to the Past, but to the Future


The Hicks Sisters ca 1983

“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom ~

It had been a glorious, beautiful, brisk autumn day. I stood and breathed in a stunning panoramic view as I watched the sun lower into a captivating sunset. Faster than I realized, dusk took over, and then twilight swiftly took hold as I watched evening begin to dance alive in the streets below in Manhattan.

It was a wonderful magic show – partly Divinely created and partly man made. It was etched into my memory for the rest of my life.

I was standing in the observation deck of the World Trade Center.

Little did I know 18 years later the very spot I was standing on would topple to the ground in rubble and dust and become part of Ground Zero. My magical space would be destroyed by Islamic terrorists filled with hate, determined to destroy my country and thousands of innocent people.

I was a young lass on that magical day in 1983, the mother of a toddler, full of hope for a bright future. I look at pictures of my sister and me taken during that visit and I get chill bumps because I see us and I want to shout, “Look long and hard. Burn these memories into your mind because you will lose so much in the future!”

How could I ever imagine the terror that lay ahead for me personally and the terror that laid ahead for my country? How could I have ever imagined something like 9/11 happening in my country?

But, it did. And, it happened in a year that was one of personal turmoil for me. There were things that happened to me I never thought I would experience in my world – vows broken, trusts broken, violence committed. And, then in the midst of all that – September 11, 2001 happened.

I had just returned home the day before from a trip to Florida with a friend who had gone down to see her parents. On the trip I’d had a health crisis and spent time in the ER.

So, I was still feeling frail and in recovery mode on that September morning when I got a call that said, “Turn on your TV!”

As we speculated – was this an accident or an attack – the second plane plowed into the second Trade Tower. That pretty much settled it – we were under attack.

From that point on, I was glued in place in front of the TV just to watch the unfolding events. Since I had lived in New York for about a year, I knew how many people lived and worked in that area of the city and the numbers were massive. Small city-size massive. We could be looking at unbelievably high death tolls. I began to cry and pray.

Then, one of the most horrific things I’d ever seen in my life happened – one of the Towers began to crumble, to accordion down on itself. It was falling like a stick of hot butter in a microwave.

How could this be happening?!

I desperately wanted the other Tower to be saved – but in my heart I knew it more or less faced the same fate. And, it did. It fell, too, leaving a trail of cascading destruction and death.

And, then the aftermath began…mountains size heaps of debris, personal locators of first responders trilling constantly indicating a man down here…and here…and there…and over there…and here… It was a new level of hell.

It took this country a while to recover from 9/11 just like it took me a while to recover from the personal cataclysm going on in my life at the time.

But, recover I did. I did by beginning to move on. I married the man who should have always been my heart mate. I grew stronger inside and stronger mentally regardless of what my disabled body tried to tell me.

Every year when 9/11 comes around I remember. Some years are worse than others. This year was bad. My PTSD kicks in many years. Every year I have a man that stands by me with unyielding compassion and understanding.

I have a very growing concern that Americans are growing away from 9/11. They are forgetting 9/11 – the cause, effect and aftermath and how we were one Family after the attack.

Unlike the generation before who “Remembered Pearl Harbor!”, it’s deemed not very politically correct to “Remember 9/11” any more. Patriotism is almost view as “deplorable”. Some of our leaders like to play political footsies with the very people who financed the terrorism against us and are getting wealthy themselves from these relationships.

This is very unfortunate because history and the past are our teachers. If we forget our past, many times we are destined to repeat the past.

Corrie Ten Boom and her family were Gentile Dutch living in Nazi occupied Holland during WWII. The Ten Boom family saw what the Nazis were doing to the Jews in Holland and they made a decision to make a difference. They began hiding Jews in their home. Eventually the Ten Boom family was discovered and the Nazis rounded them up and sent them to concentration camps. Corrie lost family members in these camps.

After the war, Corrie understood the importance of putting the past into perspective. No, we don’t live in the past, but as Corrie said, “Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”

We must take the lessons of 9/11 and learn from them – for the sake of the future and so the death of the thousands lost that September day are not in vain.

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.








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Filed under 9/11, Anniversaries, History, Islamic Terrorist, Life, Memories, New York, New York City, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, September 11, USA, World Trade Towers

The Bonds of Family Can Be Severed in an Instant, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“9/11 was a reminder that the bonds of family can be severed in an instant. They are essential, crucial, valuable, fragile.” ~ Peter Jennings ~

Bev & Pam in NY ca 1983

I don’t know who came up with the saying “time heals all wounds”. There must be a committee of pencil heads sitting in a room somewhere whose specific job is to do nothing but come up with dumb platitudes. This one is probably one of the lamest.

I personally don’t believe time heals all wounds. I think it may scab over the wound and then scar over it, but totally heal it? No. In the long run, time may help us deal with a wound or a hurt or teach us how to survive.

Take for example my two bouts of non-smoking lung cancer. I have two long scars that run from under my breasts, around my sides and across my rib cage and onto my back to within a few inches of my spine. There’s a scar on each side because I’ve had cancer in both lungs. So, for all practical purposes I was cut almost in half – twice. I have scars where those wounds were. I will always have them. They are a reminder I have survived cancer twice. But, time will not erase the scars, the memories of what I went through or the fact I am minus major portions of both lungs.

For the past 12 years our country has marked a wound on our nation. One that left a terrible scar. A void where almost 3,000 hearts use to beat. They went silent on September 11, 2001.

For the past few years I have marked that day here, usually with pictures I took on trips to New York City – all with views of the World Trade Towers. This year is no different. For you see I had very fond memories of New York and the day the Towers went down left a deep scar on my heart.

The picture this year is of me (on the left) and my sister. We are standing on Liberty Island with the Trade Towers over my shoulder. It was a spectacular sight and I still get choked up when I see pictures like this.

But, looking back on us 30 years ago, I realize how fleeting time can be. Has it really been 30 years? There are children in school now who were born after the Towers fell – they have lived in a world that never knew the Towers. There were people born after that picture was taken that didn’t survive that September morning.

If only those two young lasses could have spoken from the picture and warned of things to come…

My parents are in their 80s now. They have seen history and world changes that 70 years ago would have seemed like science fiction. A man walking on the moon? Pictures from Mars? Organ transplants? Smart bombs? Smart phones and tablets?

But, one thing does run constant through the history of mankind – the bonds of family. My precious aunt passed away June 23, 2012. I have missed her every day since then. Time has not healed that wound. It was a personal 9/11. I continue to try and move forward, much like our nation did in those first scary days after terror and hate took down two famous buildings and stopped the beating of 3,000 hearts.

We continue forward because we have to – those bonds of family are essential, crucial, valuable and fragile. Savor them while you can, tend them, enjoy them, nurture them and protect them because we never know when the next cruelest moment might strike.

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under 9/11, Family, New York, New York City, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, September 11, Sisters, World Trade Towers

And, Now the Rest of the Story…, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Yesterday I shared with you my feelings on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

I also mentioned that as a whole 2001 was a turning point…a seminal year for me personally. In May of that year, on our son’s 21st birthday, my husband of 27 years walked out to start a new life with a woman who was a co-worker.

But, there’s more to that year, a turning point if you will and as Paul Harvey would have said, this is the rest of the story…

Little did I know that in the burning rubble of 9/11 and the crumbled decay of a 30 year relationship something new would rise up out of that and would be a new start for me. It’s almost cliché to use the Phoenix rising from the flame, but in a way that’s almost what it was like.

At the time it seemed pretty hopeless. I had been a stay at home mom for about 21 years.

But, I had kept up certain skills and developed new ones. I had worked part time here and there, done some civic work, aided my ex in some home-based businesses, homeschooled our son, co-founded a quilt guild, served as President for the guild for several years, launched the guild newsletter and served as editor for several years and then served on the board of the state at-large quilt guild.

But, there was one very important thing I had done that paid off in spades. I had begun developing computer skills. Yes, I was mainly self taught, but it is truly amazing what you can learn on your own and you can be underestimated by others when you are self-taught which can lead to a big advantage.

I originally began my journey through the would of tech when I began publishing the guild newsletter, using it for quilt design, home-school purposes and the real hook was genealogy research.

Those computer skills helped me snag an amazing job I really enjoyed, but unfortunately my health could not hold up under the stress of the job and over time my health began to be harmed in ways I never knew imaginable.

It was also those under estimated computer skills that cracked the caper of Gomez and Morticia, yes the ex and his new gal’s code names for their computer communications. It was all just an elementary matter of following simple internet cookies and temp files which he didn’t realize I knew about. When he finally realized I did know how to do that, ashen faced he said, “I knew I should have done a better job of cleaning up that computer.”

But the rest of the story is this…

After all of that, the turmoil in the country, the dashed hopes of a life and family, it was time to start looking forward.

Statistics told me the outlook was dismal for me. For someone with my health challenges and my age finding a mate would be about like finding a chicken with lips…

I prayed for a knight is shining armor…any girl’s dream…young, middle aged and yes, based on what I had seen in the media, yes, even the dream of blessed women of a certain age beyond middle age…we all want our knight in shining armor.

Statistics told me that in todays less chivalrous society they (knights) are about as rare as reptiles that walk on two feet, especially if you’re looking for a man who knows how to deal with chronic illness.

Years ago I read a study with statistics that related some stunning information. In relationships when a female becomes chronically ill, overtime about 97% of the men eventually leave. When a male becomes chronically ill about 94% of the women stay in the relationship. I was stunned and just didn’t know if I really believed those stats. I guess the truth was I didn’t want to believe them…

But, now I was faced with the fact of “what now” and the unknown.

Little did I know that just weeks after the turmoil of 9/11 I would meet my knight in shining armor. He would be a Southwestern cowboy who sometimes wore a Stetson and cowboys boots and had strong, deep Southern roots like mine. And even though I was upfront with every health situation he didn’t run the other way. He is one of the most decent human beings I have ever known in my life.

So, why do I tell you this with today’s picture?

Well, this picture was taken on Sept. 11, 2010. We happened to be on Jekyll Island, GA that day and we wanted to be somewhere that took our minds off the past tragedy of the day. We were approaching Driftwood Beach, my Tall & Handsome was a little ahead of me because I had stopped and taken a picture of two. I looked up and saw him right at this time and I caught my breath. It was the perfect time, the perfect place and a perfect picture.

There was my lone knight, my Tall & Handsome who’s long arms have comforted me many times. Even in his ball cap and his Alabama T-shirt, he was still my knight in shining armor.

“Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Loa Tzu ~

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under 9/11, Driftwood Beach (Jekyll Island GA), Georgia, Gomez, Jekyll Island (GA), Loa Tzu, Love, Morticia, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

This is What I Remember and Why I Remember, by Beverly Hicks Burch

It’s been 11 years today…and every year I remember it with the same ache as when it happened that morning.

That summer had been a dreadful summer for me personally. My husband of 27 years walked out on me for a new life with another woman. My health was in a continual decline. I had one outbreak of shingles after another, a constant fever of an unknown source and a list of other serious health problems too long to list. Just the weekend before 9/11 I’d been rush to the ER while out of town with a friend who was visiting her parents.

And then 9/11 happened…

I was alone that morning. I was actually still asleep, recovering from my health crisis from the previous weekend. My son who was with the Alabama Air National Guard was actually at the base that morning called me and woke me up.

He said, “Mom, turn on your TV! We’re being attack! A plane as been flown into one of the Trade Towers in New York City.”

I asked, “Honey, are you sure it’s an attack? You know a plane flew into the Empire State building back in the 1930s or 1940s.”

‘’Momma, this was a large passenger jet, full of people and it was aiming for the Tower!”

Then as we were talking the second tower was hit and there was absolutely no question as to what was happening.

Air travel was shut down that day in the US, but my son’s wing was launch later that day to do refueling runs. During one of those runs they flew over the smoldering damage at the Pentagon. Yes, there was positively no question as to what had happened. The US had been attacked much like it had at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

It was a seminal day in the USA and in my life.

A year or so ago I was going through some of my older photographs and I came upon this one. It instantly gripped my heart and brought back memories and reminded me why 9/11 had affected me so personally and continues to do so. Yes, it had affected me as an American…to see the attack on our soil, see so many innocent people suffer in such horrific ways. But, there was something else…

I remember the very first time I saw the Trade Towers. It was the early 1980s and I was a young lass from Alabama fulfilling a lifetime goal or as we call it today, marking off a bucket list item…and that was to visit New York City. In my case I not only had an opportunity to visit, but I was going to be living in Westchester County just north of the City for several months, so I would be visiting the city often.

I took this particular picture one day as we were driving into the City. I was actually sitting in my car (a 1980 5 speed Toyota Corolla if memory serves me) and I was quite taken with the view. I took the shot with my Pentax 35mm which has long since died and given up the ghost, but served me well for many years. I’m not really sure if I managed to capture a lightning strike in the upper right of the picture or if that’s a scratch on the surface of the picture. Either way, it chilled me when I saw it considering the events that unfolded on 9/11. Some 30 years later it appears as a spooky, ominous harbinger of things to come.

I may have share this picture before, but given today’s somber anniversary I can’t help but share it again. Because every time I look at this picture I am reminded of one of the reasons 9/11 affects me so year after year. For you see, not only did I see these monolithic giants from afar, but I stood as far atop on one that the public was allowed, in the observation deck and looked out on a 360 degree view of Manhattan that was breathtakingly stunning. It was the sun setting on Manhattan and the lights beginning to twinkle and come alive one by one across the city. It was magical.

I will never see that particular view again…no one will…and I grieve that loss…along with the thousands of lost souls who no longer walk upon this earth.

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace; one must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it; one must work at it.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under 9/11, Eleanor Roosevelt, New York City, Photography, Picture of the Day, September 11, Trade Towers, Travel

American Spirit, by Beverly Hicks Burch

That Says it All

I took this picture in Jan. 2009 from our Grand Canyon Railroad train as we were pulling back into the station at William, AZ. This car was setting in the yard at the station and I loved the name. We were returning from an inspirational visit to the Grand Canyon.

Why have I picked this picture today? Solely for its name…On the eve of 9/11 I believe it has been American Spirit that has carried us this far and helped us survive the past ten year. I truly believe we are on the verge of loosing that American Spirit to an amalgamation and hodgepodge of nothingness and “political correctness” that is leaving us weak, dispirited, directionless and disheartened.

On this anniversary on 9/11 I hope we can reflect back on the unity and strength we mustered on 9/12 and the days after to survive and get past the worst terrorist attack in history on US soil.

In Oct. of 1941 after the Blitz Winston Churchill gave a speech at Harrow School. I would like to quote, in part, a section of that memorable speech. It was fitting then, it is fitting now:

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” ~Winston Churchill, October 29, 1941~


© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved


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Filed under 9/11, American Spirit, Arizona, Grand Canyon Railway, Photography, Picture of the Day, September 11, Trains, Travel, Winston Churchill

I Remember… by Beverly Hicks Burch

In six days we’ll mark an anniversary of the worst kind. As Americans we are given to celebrating and marking memorable events. Some are grandiose with bands, food, parades and fireworks. Others are rather solemn and somber.

Sept. 11th or as it has come to be known in our vernacular as 9/11 is an event I think we’d rather not have to mark. We mark the occasion of the worst terrorist attack on US soil in history. You can rewrite history or try to justify it, but that is exactly what it was. It was an evil cowardly act.

Everyone of us alive on that day has our own story to tell. We know where we were, how we found out and how we felt as we watched those giant twin towers fall into oblivion and history.

I like to try and remember the Trade Towers as they were. I did have the privilege of visiting them many time and viewing New York from the top…a sight never to be seen again.

I found this picture while going through some old pictures the other day. It made me cry…

I remember - World Trade Towers 1984

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


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Filed under 9/11, History, New York, New York City, Photography, Picture of the Day, September 11, World Trade Towers

What’s Up with This? by Beverly Hicks Burch

What’s Up with This?

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Let me ask you something. Have you flown the “friendly” skies lately? Well, just in case you haven’t let me fill you in on the “pleasure of flying in the Brave New World…

First, you need to arrive at the airport hours ahead of your scheduled departure. Why? Simple. You have a whole lot of “security” measures you have to go through. You have to make sure you have plenty of ID…driver’s license, passport, anything with a photo, name, address, you know the drill.

Be prepared to pay dearly to check bags…the price range is your first born for the first bag and a child or pet for each bag thereafter. You are allowed to carry a wonderful 50 pounds per bag. For the average person that’s a few pair of underwear, shoes and jeans…you buy the rest where ever you’re going because it’s cheaper than paying the excess weight charge airlines charge at gunpoint check-in.

Then you have to go through the security check where they go through your bags. Nowadays you can no longer carry anything liquid or gel larger than 4 ounces on your person. If you do have something like that on you, it has to be in clear quart size baggies…no gallon size…quart size. If you use the wrong size it goes in the garbage. If you happen to be high maintenance and use several lovely products to maintain your beauty, well you can use as many quart size baggies to squeeze those products into as you like. It’s also a perverse pleasure to pull those out, let me tell you 😉

If you happen to have an autoimmune disorder (called Sjogren’s Syndrome) like I do that is killing your moisture producing glands and you happen to bring a bottle of water from home to stay hydrated, well be prepared to toss that puppy in the garbage, too and be prepared to pay $800 for another bottle once inside the airport. (Yes, Virginia, there are people who taken advantage of bad situations.)

Next, be prepared to go through metal detectors, but before you do you will have to take off your shoes and all your jewelry. Gals, let me tell you here…an underwire bra will set off the detector…but, the “girls” have to have what the “girls” have to have…I hear x-ray searches are coming soon…groovy…

Then, you schlep to the gate where you sit in tiny stadium style seats, listen to insane conversation, hyper kids, irritable travelers and finally you hear your magic number called and you queue up for the pleasure of being crammed into flying tin cans that are usually overbooked and packed like a cattle car. You are “served” by surly attendants who have turned into bullies who just dare passengers to look at them wrong so they can use a federal law to throw them off the plane because they are “dangerous”…

I think they call this a volatile situation and I recommend sedation for the flight…

Oh, and there is also no more having loved ones escort or meet you at the gate for a final goodbye or hello…they might slip you some type of contraband…like a 6 ounce bottle of Lubriderm…

So, you may be asking, “What in the name of God happened to cause the change?”

Well, I can tell you this, it wasn’t because some little old lady that looked like Granny Clampett got on an airplane and hijacked it and caused the plane to plummet into the Kansas Cattle Stockyard. NO!

We suffer through these changes in our way of life because 19 Islamic terrorists (a word the current administration is challenged to use, even now) began planning mayhem on the USA in 2000 and brought it to fruition on September 11, 2001.

Now, let me ask you something else. Do you really remember 9/11? The fear, the terror, the sadness, the emptiness, the darkness, the anger? Or has your memory been dulled by the day to day fight to survive? Do you remember all the faces of 9/11? The Islamic terrorists bent on destroying the Great Satan (us)? The First Responders? The Victims? The heroes like United Airline 93?

There was another incident that lent changes to air travel. The infamous British “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. Reid was the British born son of Jamaican Colvin Reid who was of African descent and British born Leslie Hughes. Reid’s father was a career criminal and Richard himself began a career in crime at a young age. He was advised by his father to convert to Islam because they got better food in prison. Umm, great reason for a conversion…pretty self-serving…no thought of the ol’ afterlife there or doing better for mankind, but then bombing innocent people doesn’t do others too much good either… Next time Richard was sent to prison for his crimes, he converted to Islam and he became known as either Abdul Raheem or Tariq Raja.

Upon his release from prison, Richard joined the Brixton Mosque which was lead by Abu Hamzu al-Masri who was a rabid anti-American cleric. Before long Richard had Al Qaeda ties and was training in terrorist camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. (Are you beginning to see a pattern here? On a side note, why are American companies outsourcing American jobs to these countries where the people hate us? Especially when we need jobs so badly here in this country?)

Finally in December 2001 Reid boarded a plane in Paris that was bound for Miami, FL. He was wearing shoes that were loaded with plastic explosives. I think the intent was clear…he intended to blow up the plane and every living soul with it.

And, thus my friends that is why we take our shoes off now when we want to go see grandma, go to a family funeral or travel to a cancer treatment out of state or even to a business meeting…

Because of an Islamic terrorist

Now, in my world 2 + 2 = 4. But, in this strange new world there is strange new “math” at work…

For instance…did you know there are children as young as 4 on the TSA “no fly list”? Or 8 year olds? There was one particular poor kid who was given a “pat down” when he was as young as 2 years old! Recently I saw on a couple of news shows a 12 year old who is in the same boat. Of course the TSA denies this…but so did OJ and Scott Peterson…

Now, here’s where I’m having some issues…how the heck in this day in age does someone like Faisal Shahzad, an apparent US hating, Pakistan born Muslim become a US citizen (just last year) get a gun permit, plastic explosives and large amounts of fertilizer (albeit the wrong kind…guess he misses his ride on the Martyr Rocket for bumbling) make a car bomb (fortunately ineptly), place that bomb in Time Square and board a plane to Dubai, make it onto the runway (and contrary to what’s being portrayed, Shahzad was a hair away from being a free bird) and do all this without being on the radar?!

Meanwhile, Granny Clampett and 2 year old kids are patted down at the gate and put on the TSA “no fly” list and Joe the Plumber jumps through hoops of fire to fly to Disney World…just watch, the powers to be will use this to “amend” our Second Amendment Rights…also known as our right to bear arms when all the “powers” have to do is their job to keep the bad guys from doing their job…

Meanwhile, New York Mayor Mike BloomingIdiot Bloomberg, sage that he is, bet 25 cents the bomber probably was some duffus that was upset and went off the reservation because of Obama’s healthcare plan. No profiling there, huh, Mike? While he’s scraping egg off his face, I was wondering, “Where in the world is Rudy”?

All this just keeps me wondering, “What’s up with this…?” 2 + 2 is not adding up to 4 with these people… Makes me think mortgages and the economy aren’t the only things upside down and underwater…and don’t even get me started about the Crotch Bomber…

© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under 9/11, Airplane Travel, Faisal Shahzad, Islamic Terrorist, Mike Bloomberg, New York City, Politics, Richard Reid, Shoe Bomber, Terrorism, Time Square Bomber, Travel, What were they thinking

At Uncommon Sensibilities – Howdee Doodee Obobblehead

Well, now it’s a Presidential offical decree…the USA is now one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. Read all about it in Howdee Doodee Obobblehead Does It Again.

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Filed under Muslims, Obama, Politics, September 11

I Do Remember…, by Beverly Hicks Burch

I Do Remember…

By Beverly Hicks Burch

The ringing of the phone jolted me out of my sleep that morning at a little passed 8:00 AM CST. On the other end was an agitated and alarmed male voice admonishing me, “Momma quick, turn on the TV. The World Trade Towers have been attacked!!”

What?! How could this be? Surely I was having a hideous nightmare. “Son, what do you mean the Towers have been attack?!”

“Momma, quick…hurry, just turn on the news! It’s awful…we’re under attack!”

With a trembling hand, I reached out and grabbed the remote and clicked on the TV. Oh, dear God, he was right! How can this be possible?

As he began to fill in the details of the unfolding events I sat in the bed…my eyes transfixed on the TV screen…not wanting to watch, but knowing I had to watch. And, as I watched, my son began to spill out the horrific details of that fateful morning.

“Mom, we were all standing around getting ready to started the day (they had been in the ready room or command center room, whatever those military types call that kind of room…he was at the AL Air National Guard base at the time of the attack). Mom, we have the big screen TV on in the room (usually it was on news channels to monitor world situations). All of a sudden one of the guys hollered out one of the Trade Towers in New York had been hit by an airplane. I turned around to see what was going on just in time to see a second jet approach the other Tower and fly straight into it. Momma, this was a deliberate attack…we’re at war.”

Of course by then, as he gave me a blow by blow detailed account of the morning thus far, the major news outlets were looping over and over the scenes my son had witnessed just minutes before on TV. I sat there in stunned disbelief. I couldn’t possibly be seeing what I was seeing…yet, there it was…broadcasted around the world.

As that September morning continued to develop, God in heaven help us, what I saw next was even more horrifically unbelievable. At 8:59 AM CST one of the gleaming, steel and glass pinnacles of the New York financial district began to fall…it slid down upon itself amidst a gigantic column of dust, ash, debris, steel and glass and human life. The North Tower was gone! Oh, God no! My first thought was, “Oh dear, Lord, all of those people inside! Help them please!”

Of course this became more fodder for the news media grist mill and the collapsing building was added to the loop of the planes flying into the Towers. I sat there and held my breath…afraid that one little breath would surely place the last colossal, burning Tower in peril. I hoped and prayed this Tower would be spared and become a symbol of survival and reminder.

But, alas, like a womb twin, this solitary survivor seemed unable to stand alone without its twin. Suddenly at 9:28 AM CST pandemonium broke out…people were running away from the site like their lives depended on it…and they did.

Just like the first Tower, the second began to implode upon itself, collapsing downward in a single column of destruction only to become nothing more than part of the world’s largest junk heap. As it made its deliberate slide downward…all my memories fell with it. Like the earlier Twin, this one would also become the final resting place for many souls. Parts of Lower Manhattan lay in ruins…looking like a bonafide war zone…people, wounded and some miraculously unharmed, wandered the streets covered in a white powdery ash. Most were almost catatonic with disbelief.

Evil had not done enough to our country and our countrymen in New York City, the city that seems to never sleep… As the morning had continued to move forward in a surreal state more rumors started flying…and then were confirmed. Another rogue jet had hurled into the Pentagon in Washington DC at 8:37 AM CST.

News flashes advised us there was yet another suicidal controlled jet still in the skies above the USA. Reports hinted it was also aimed for Washington DC…possibly the White House or Capitol Building. For the first known time American military pilots were faced with shooting down a jet liner full of their own countrymen.

But the patriots on United 93 had surmised what was happening. Through cell phone calls with loved ones on the ground they had been told of the morning’s events. They vowed not to let their flight become another weapon of terrorism against their country and they took matters into their own hands and launched a counter-attack. They rushed the cockpit of their flight and at 9:06 AM CST United 93 slammed into a field outside of Shanksville, PA. They understood and epitomized “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 NASB

Our air transportation system was shut down and would remain so for months. Only military planes had clearance to fly the US skies.

At that point, I knew the world as we knew it had ended…

My heart broke and ached and I shed many tears that September morning seven years ago…

United States soil had been attacked by a terrorist group out to bring down the Great Satan (translate the USA). We would never be the same…as a nation and as a group of people. Our lives and way of living in the land of the free would change forever. We would have to become hyper vigilant…CAUTION: there’s an unattended bag or package…even an otherwise harmless looking child’s book bag would have to be viewed as a suspicious potential weapon.

How we travel across the USA would change, too. They took away our scissors (no more hand appliqué on long flights for me), our nail files, certain liquids and cosmetics (another big inconvenience for a Sjogren’s syndrome patients because we need to keep our throats, mouths and eyes moist). Airport security became a gigantic hassle adding long lines and insult to injury when we became forced to remove our shoes at the security checkpoint. Crazed terrorist had found a way to kill with shoes…

There would be no more flying the friendly skies…

For a time we pulled together and rallied as a country. 9/11 had become this generation’s Pearl Harbor. Songs were written and sung, American flags flew everywhere. Thousands of pictures of loved ones lost and missing were plastered everywhere, asking “Have you seen this person?” Compassion and concern could be seen once again on the faces of Americans in the street going about their daily business.

And, then as human nature is want to do, people began to forget. Just like the Israelites of the Old Testament…who began to forget…and grumble and complain. The Israelites had suffered slavery and oppression at the hands of the Pharaoh of Egypt for generations. They had cried out to God for deliverance…for freedom. The great I AM, Jehovah God sent then a deliverer in Moses…Pharaoh’s adopted son of all people! After battling the Pharaoh for the freedom of his people, with God’s help, Moses won their freedom. They must prepare and leave quickly for their exodus out of Egypt…thus, the history of Passover.

But, after fleeing Egypt and beginning the trek towards the Promised Land, attitudes and memories began to change. They were tired of pushing forward…and heaven forbid they were certainly tired of eating that manna from heaven! They began to gripe and complain, moan and groan. Surely, they said, their lives had been better in Egypt! Maybe they should return. They had forgotten! They forgot the oppression, the slavery and the whip of the taskmasters…just because they were a little inconvenienced. And, as a result, they lost their vision and wandered in the wilderness for 40 years…

Now, Americans have forgotten what was at the root of the 9/11 attacks and the war on terrorism…they forgot the almost 3,000 souls that where vaporized in places that should have been one of the safest places…their work place. They forgot the sights, the sounds and the smells…the sounds of hundreds of emergency homing units emitting a haunting, shrill wail, indicating the spot of a fallen emergency and rescue worker.

They forgot the images of panicked, frantic souls flinging themselves off the sides and out of windows of the Trade Towers. These poor souls were willing to take their chance with a fall…or face a known end and breath precious air to the very last…rather than face the ungodly inferno behind them that was smothering them with super heated air, singeing their throats and lungs.

Many Americans have forgotten the falling debris that showered down of the streets below…papers from offices in the Trade Towers, building materials and office equipment and they have forgotten the waves of white hot clouds of ash roiling down the streets of Manhattan seeking to engulf, consume and suffocate the very air from all left standing.

We have fallen back on the old political hack of political correctness…afraid to breath wrong least we offend. How dare we consider what some call “racial profiling”? After all, there could be an 85 year old Caucasian granny hijacker willing to fling her life away and commit terrorism. I mean, come on, after all what does she stand to loose but a set of dentures! How utterly, insanely ridiculous!! Why is it wrong to investigate people of certain groups who harbor known hatred for the US and avow to destroy the US and its people? They have made it their life work…their mission in life. You can not negotiate with blind hatred…

Some delusional souls would have us think a conspiracy theory that claims our own government set up and perpetrated the attack. Just the logistics of such a conspiracy would be mind boggling and involve thousands of co-conspirators and take years to plan. It is illogical and grasping. Sad, desperate, sick people will seek attention any way they can…this is the lowest of low…

2001 was a bad year for me. I had been the victim of a form of personal terrorism and betrayal from someone I had trusted the most. I was gravely sick much of that summer, even having to be taken to the ER the weekend before 9/11. My windshield was smashed sitting in my driveway. A tornado hit and damaged the house, the air condition unit flooded downstairs, and even though he hadn’t lived there in months and did nothing to help restore the house, the ex, Gomez the unremarkable demanded half of the insurance money. What a Prince!

And, then 9/11 happened…

As I watched the news coverage that morning waves of grief swelled over me that were devastating. When I saw the Towers fall I remember thinking, “I’ve been there. I stood under their shadows. I stood at the top of one Tower and breathed in the magnificent panoramic view of New York and the surrounding area. Oh my God, never again, never again…how could this happen?”

An unbelievable seven years have passed since 9/11/2001. My world has changed in more ways than I could imagine. My son, my only child was deployed and activated the day of 9/11. His unit flew refueling runs between Alabama and the northeast. They refueled military jets that were patrolling the skies of the US during those dark days, keeping us safe. On one run just hours after the attacks, he literally saw the Pentagon burning from the air. He was later deployed to the Middle East several times with his unit where once again he flew refueling runs. (He had been a boom operator in the AL ANG.)

My life moved forward. I met and married a white knight…my Tall & Handsome who has offered me love, acceptance, support and encouragement over the last few years.

They say time heals all wounds. Well, I don’t know that I can agree with that, but I can say this…time does cause wounds to scar over and protect the wound. But, on occasion that wound can be pricked at and reinjured. The one thing time should not do is give us amnesia and cause us to forget. People that forget are doomed to repeat history and mistakes over and over again…

Never forget…never forget…never forget…

The Hicks Girls in New York - Nov 1983

© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All rights reserved.

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Filed under 9/11, Conspiracy Theories, Gomez, History, New York City, News, Passover, Pearl Harbor, Pentagon, Racial Profiling, September 11, Sjogren's Syndrome, Tall & Handsome, Terrorism, United 93, World Trade Towers

So, What’s New…and What’s Old, by Beverly Hicks Burch

So What’s New…and What’s Old

By Beverly Hicks Burch

It came and went…the very last day of the year. For some reason, I have always found New Year’s Eve to be the gloomiest holiday there is. Don’t ask me why. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the passing of something you will never have back…time…a year of your life…chances…opportunities…who knows. But, when I see those last few seconds count down and the big ball drop in Time Square I get a little feeling of melancholy as I watch the confetti fall and the party-goers go wild…it’s like “Who won the lottery?” I wonder what big secret I’m missing.

I’ve never been one to go out and party-hardy on New Year’s Eve. I tend to reflect more and spend that time in quiet intimate gatherings. Yes, of course, fun is allowed.

One big thing I NEVER do…make resolutions. Why set yourself up for failure on the very first day of the year. The only quasi-resolution I have is this: “I make no New Year’s resolutions.” Without fail, I keep that one…I’ve never let myself down once…

So, what is new and what is old? I think we find that no matter what day the calendar says, some things are the same year round. The state and condition of the world, mankind and those around you…those you hold near and dear. Basically December 31st is just like January 1st.

Each passing day can bring something…whether it is the death of a “great one”, or a family member or an event as large and overwhelming a 9/11. Those days can come in March or August…it doesn’t have to be December 31st or January 1st. It tends to be those quiet days that pass unnoticed that make up the bulk of our lives and for the most part add the sweetness to our lives. The kind words, the hugs, the tenderness, the thoughtfulness and just the pure humanity of daily living that are the mark and sum of a life.

I have seen days and things in the past seven or eight years I thought I’d never see in my life…betrayals…some I call the “deepest cut” from people I love the most. That kind of betrayal takes you beating heart and plunges a dagger right into the middle and slowly watches you heart beat slower and slower, beat by beat as you feel like it will surely bleed to death. But, I have also seen unspeakable joy and kindness and bravery. That, my friends makes me want to soar high above the bounds of the problems and pain of this ol’ human flesh.

The year 2007 brought both…things I wish I could lobotomize out of my brain and things I cherish and will till the day I take my last breath. The year saw me enter the blogosphere and as a result I’ve met some fantastic people, brushed up on long underused skills and found a new world. It added a new autoimmune disorder, which I needed like I needed a third eye in the center of my forehead.

Tall and Handsome and I were finally able to leave behind what I “lovingly” called the “swill hole” in Knoxville…the toxic, rental that was full of black mold and mildew. Boy was that ever a “learning” experience. Yes, Virginia, you can teach old dogs new tricks and we have learned not to trust landlady/slumlords who say, “Oh, no, I don’t have a water problem. I had that fixed a long time ago.” Just remember the song “Smiling Faces Tell Lies”…

I spent a good part of the year saying, “Watson, what do you have in your mouth?” He is so much like a baby or a small child…he will put anything and I do mean anything in his mouth. Just the other day T & H looked over at me to see me frantically pushing Watson’s head up and down. Alarmed he asked, “What are you doing?!” It really did look like I had either gone mad or was practicing some kind of evil medieval torture on Watson.

After I rammed my fingers down Watson’s throat and pulled out a piece of plastic he was chewing on, T & H fully understood what I had been doing…an impromptu, quasi-Heimlich maneuver for dogs. T & H doesn’t understand how I can tell when Watson has something in his mouth. Easy…training as a mom… Did I mention the dog will put anything in his mouth?

We closed 2007 by finally closing on the house…yes, it is done! We can now unpack as if we will be here a while. We began 2008 by doing just that and made great progress in the quilt room…but we still have a long way to go. We are discovering things we haven’t seen in almost three years and we are still discovering that “professional packers and movers” could possibly be an oxymoron. Why? Well, consider this one example of many like it: While unpacking a box marked “Quilt Room – Fabric” we discovered there was very little of my fabric stash in the box. Seriously, just a few folded pieces. Over half of the box was filled with dishes…my Christmas dishes and a very large and heavy punch bowl. Those are the maddening things that make the unpacking slow-go, hectic, unorganized and just plain aggravating.

The year 2008 opens with its own set of issues. We still have to decide how to deal with the psycho realtor and the torture she perpetuated. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “To report or not report…that is the question.” Then of course there is still the house in Alabama. Hang on to it as investment property or sell?

I am amazed that it has been eight years since the big Y2K scare and the beginning of the new millennium. Remember the doomsayers? Our whole world would crash because computers wouldn’t know how to read the year 2000. It seems so silly now in the post-9/11 world. It is even more unbelievable that almost a whole decade has passed…we are only two short years away from the changing of a new decade now.

But, there is an old saying that goes something like this, “As much as things change, they stay the same.” In other words, change is an expected and inevitable part of life. We will see that in 2008. We have a national election this year and who knows what other issues and events we’ll see. I can guarantee ups and downs but, it surely has to be better than 2007!

So, as I unpack and settle in and wonder how I will evacuate the growing mountain of empty boxes in the house I have a wish for all of us…for a healthy, prosperous, sane, mold-free, happy New Year!

© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under 9/11, dogs, Life, Miniature Schnauzer, Moving, New Year, Seasonal, Stress, Tall & Handsome, Watson