In Remembrance

12 09 2006

On today, the fifth anniversary of 9/11, we remember the 2001 atrocity committed against our nation and the world. The previously “friendly skies” of United and American were turned into weapons at the hands of Islamic-fascists, destroying the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and close to 3,000 lives.

Along with the lives lost, our illusions that our nation is a safe place were permanently shattered.

Five years later, we are still fighting a global war on terror against those who want to destroy us. Some feel its a failure, others feel we need to stay the course and are gaining ground. I’m not here to argue the validity of either viewpoint. My focus has been on what five years of terror threats and the federal and local action and reaction to it has produced.

Three weeks preceding the 9/11 anniversary, a terrorist plot in Britain was thwarted. Radicals who were either al-Qaeda, or of the same fundamentalist ilk, planned to blow up several airline flights in mid-air, ratcheting up our safety alert, and producing additional news about flights being diverted because of security concerns. One report stated that travelers were jittery, but that seems too mild of a word. Fed up, bone-weary, and ready-to-pounce, would be more apropos, due to this aspect of our lives becoming more limited, and travel becoming more fraught with restrictions, challenges, and more than a bit of danger.

After five years, fear still hovers over our nation like a dark cloud. Unfortunately, what the fear has bred is not the unity that characterized the days after the 9/11 attack, but infighting. We have debate and ire on both sides about whether the war on terror is a legitimate response or a fabrication of the Bush Administration, and whether racial profiling is necessary in this fight, or an excuse to blame a race and religious culture for a crazed wing’s actions. The sad commentary after five years is that where we initially were a nation unified, we have now become a nation at odds with our government, and one another.

But for one day, some—not all—are choosing to come together to remember. Whether through tributes, interfaith services, or their own personal rituals. I chose to memorialize the day by turning on the television and listening to the tributes and commentary before going to work. This is not a part of my habit. I despise morning blather and news, and avoid it at all cost, preferring to listen to music or prepare for my day in silence. But I felt honor-bound to do this, not only as a reminder, but in tribute. To alter my normal routine in order to reflect that this is not just another day, and because of it, our world will never be the same.

As I listened to the tributes and commentary, several thoughts occurred to me. What if the terrorist goal was not primarily to destroy America and its way of life by killing our people that day and killing our military in this war, but to keep everyone divisive and on edge so that they cannot function or act appropriately or civilly? If that’s the case, then the terrorist are indeed succeeding. Or perhaps their goal is to push our infrastructures to such a chaotic state, that they grind to a halt? On that front, we are fighting tooth and nail, and may we continue to do so.

Then there’s the aspect of just everyday life. I’m thankful that terrorists plans are being thwarted, but how much does all the news increase people’s fear and suspicion to the point where it immobilizes them to the point where they have altered the way they function, or the way they perceive the wide world?

Those questions have been bouncing around my brain over the last few weeks, and crystallized into my own resolve on this particular morning.

So in reflecting on 9/11, what have I learned, and how do I choose to continue to respond in the coming days? In three ways:

1. Combat the Fear: We don’t call them terror-ist for nothing. Everything they do is geared toward fright and dread. My way of combating fear is to pray. It’s a tremendous comfort for me that the world is not controlled by an administration or a terrorist threat, but a Supreme God who is watching over the affairs of this earth and interceding in ways that we cannot see, and cannot comprehend—particularly when we invite Him to do so. And there are many people who choose this. Faith makes a difference, and many churches, mosques, and synagogues are memorializing the day and continue to combat the fears we face, with prayer.

2. Choose to Live. Along with keeping connected to the source of all life, I choose to live life; not in fear of the next attack or the next policy decision designed to combat it, but to embrace, take advantage of, and enjoy the freedoms I still have. I can still freely roam the United States and some parts of the world. I can still speak freely in my nation. I can still breathe free air, drive my car and be gainfully employed. There is still much to live for, and the threats of terrorist acts have the potential to kill you by degrees just the same as it can kill you instantly if you do not make a conscious choice to live.

3. Continue to Dream, and Continue to Plan. I make decisions and plans as if the whole world is open to me, and terror does not exist. I won’t lock myself away, just because I’m told the world is unsafe. Some people would consider that denial—I consider it self-preservation; because if I live in anger, fear and dread all the time and it leads me to wrong action or inaction, then the terrorist have indeed won. And in my own personal war against terror, I refuse to let them do this.

May God continue to bless all the families and friends who lost loved ones on that day, and may God Bless America.

In My Orbit: the Boston Marathon Bombers

19 04 2013
Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

Whose eyes, thoughts, and prayers are not on Boston this evening? The entire city has been on lockdown for almost 24 hours while Boston Police and FBI  hunt for the remaining suspect in the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon that left three dead and over 160 injured.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Chechen immigrants and radical Muslims, were at large after photos of them were distributed Thursday afternoon. The brothers went on to kill Sean Collier, a 26-year old MIT police officer, then got into a firefight with law enforcement in the wee hours this morning. Tamerlan was severely wounded, and died in the hospital; he is meeting his 72 virgins as we speak. The search for Dzhokhar continues.

The closest I have come to being locked into one space for a period of time was after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, when everything in my part of Los Angeles came to a standstill. In the surrounding communities that make up Boston, the police insisted people stay in their homes and not answer the door unless it is law enforcement. I heard reports that during the firefight, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ran over his own brother’s body to get away. That is not surprising for this 19-year-old who’d set a bomb near to 8-year-old Martin Richard and his family, knowing the consequences. It sends chills up my spine.

Boston Bombing Suspect

I wrote this post on September 11, 2006, In remembrance of 9-11. I hearken back to it, because the same thoughts rattle through my brain today on the motives behind acts of terror:

Or perhaps their goal is to push our infrastructures to such a chaotic state, that they grind to a halt? On that front, we are fighting tooth and nail, and may we continue to do so.

 “Then there’s the aspect of just everyday life. I’m thankful that terrorists plans are being thwarted, but how much does all the news increase people’s fear and suspicion to the point where it immobilizes them to the point where they have altered the way they function, or the way they perceive the wide world?”

Nothing more life-altering than losing a loved one, or having your limbs blown off. Not to mention  having your entire city on lockdown. The lost income and revenue from the Marathon carnage and the shut down of entire industries has yet to be calculated, but I’m sure it’s considerable.

I don’t end the above-referenced post with my running thoughts, but with points of hope. If you’re inclined, give it a read.

People know I’m a newshound, so some friends have asked me for the best sources of information on this unfolding and ever-evolving story. Here’s my rundown of where I’m getting my intel.

Say what you will about Fox News, they have been doing yeoman’s work on their coverage of this, without the ridiculous hypothesizing done by CNN (“dark-skinned”) and a few other networks. If you are one of those Fox haters, I say, hold your nose and float over there for detailed, relevant, and informative news.

Local Boston Station WCBV is also giving minute-by-minute coverage, and I’m following their tweets on Twitter: @WCBV

Buzzfeed‘s stellar coverage and updates are also worth following. Two of the posts I’ve been distributing quite a bit today:

The Epic, Crazy, Horrifying, Ongoing Story of the Boston Marathon Bombers.

What We Know About Boston Marathon Suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlin Tsarnaev.

But even I have to walk away, and I’ve done just that: to deal with life, to take some moments to count my blessings, and just be thankful. I snuggled with one of my fur babies, went to get a pedicure, and ran some errands to clear out the head space and get some distance from the coverage.

Our fellow Americans in Boston do not have that option. As of the last update, the lockdown has been lifted, but Governor Deval Patrick is encouraging all citizens to stay vigilant. I pray this monster is caught quickly for everyone’s sake.

I do love that Boston’s spirit of fight has not been diminished. One friend posted this on Facebook:


I stand with you!

UPDATE 04-19-2013 6:06 PST: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was taken into custody, Alive! The Boston Police Department, Watertown Police Department, and other law enforcement did a magnificent job.

According to Reuters, three people are being questioned in New Bedford, Massachusetts in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings.

Now to find the answers… Sleep well tonight, Boston.

Hello, yeah… it’s been a while

11 09 2009

Walking Shoes--Avon Walk Blog (9-2009)I have had quite a busy two months.  In mid-July, me, Lynn, Panda my sister Joan, and my niece Nyoki took a road trip up the California Coast.  The first leg of the trip was in memoriam.  We spread our sister June’s ashes at Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur. It was a good point of closure for all of us, especially for Joan, June’s twin.  Big Sur is still as glorious as ever, and the drive up presented the breathtaking views of cliffs and sea spray that I remembered from previous trips this way.  Even though Lynn was born and raised in California, he had never driven the Highway 1 Route, so it was a treat for him, too.  We all bonded with each other and got reacquainted, as we experienced beauty and fun at a casual pace–it was a much needed vacation for us all!

From Big Sur, we headed into Carmel to have a few days of R and R.  We played tourist in Monterey, then moved on to San Francisco, and finally, Napa, to visit my dear friends Shawna and Nasha.  Shawna played tour guide, driving us through the Redwood forest and Bodega Bay, location shoot for Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Birds.  We took the less than scenic route home, along Interstate 5, then it was back to Los Angeles and “real life.”

For me, that was writing more articles for, and setting up more interviews.  I also had two opportunities to speak: at a job clinic, and at our church–I didn’t realize how much of my time this would entail.  It was a blessing, but aside from my birthday and anniversary celebrations in early August, the month simply whooshed by without a break; before I knew it, September was here…

Real life also meant more intensive training!  Each week, I tacked on two miles of increase to my Griffith Park walk, and a week ago I completed 20 miles!  This, amidst record L.A. heat (107 some days) and smoke and ash from the Station fire in the San Gabriel Mountains.  I’m a crazy type of committed person–once I determine to do something, I find a way, no matter what the circumstances.  Or maybe that’s just what commitment is supposed to be, and we’ve moved far away from it in our society.  But that’s a topic for another day…

So here we are, at September 11, 2009, eight years after the horrific terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon.  Normally I am watching all the remembrances, and trying in my own way to identify with those who truly lost.  Lynn and I prayed this morning for our country, and for the families who are still dealing with grief like an open sore.  But aside from lifting today to the ultimate source, I will not turn on the television or the radio.  You see, today is also the eve of the AVON Walk, so I must prepare to head off to Long Beach, get registered, and then tomorrow, I WALK.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed funds, prayers, encouragement, and clothing!  To see people be so generous, especially in these scary and tough economic times, blesses me to no end.  Americans truly are a charitable people, and that generous spirit is exhibited and felt in so many ways.  I am glad I pursued this walk, not only to slow down and get reacquainted with the world around me, but to get reacquainted with how kind and magnanimous people can be.

I have reached the minimum goal of $1,800, but still would like to reach my desired goal of $2,500.  It’s not too late to participate in a good cause–I know it’s made a difference in my world, and to someone else who is battling with Breast Cancer.

WALKING, in Service to the Cause…

My Avon Walk Page

, as well as a time of bonding.

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