I will never forget the Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001, nor should I or any of us. For the first time in a long, long time our country was invaded by a very cunning enemy. Our great armaments, our great intelligence forces were all thwarted. I was living in Los Angeles at the time. My daughter Willow called me and woke me from my slumber stupor telling me to turn on the TV. She could barely talk. I turned on the TV and saw for myself what she could barely utter. I felt an ever-consuming sadness. I wandered about my house as if in a drunken daze. I did not know what to do. However, I knew I had to do something just to maintain my sanity.
I decided to walk around my Los Angeles neighborhood. Unsure of what to do or say or anything other than breathe. The feeling was similar to when two of my heroes, brothers Kennedy were assassinated. I was young then and just went about my business as well as I could. Nevertheless, I could not and will not forget those days. But this Tuesday was different, I was grown up and should know how to handle situations like this.
I don’t know how the idea struck me but suddenly I got the idea, to treat my neighborhood (Los Feliz to those who know the area) as if I were in a small town, where everyone knew each other. As I walked down the street, I treated each person I saw with a greeting. Some got a small hello, others a more effusive greeting, and still others just a nod of the head. I felt personally devastated but I wanted to put on a friendly face so we could all come together as a civilization, as a society. For me it worked, and I hoped that others would feel that way as well.
I always hoped that closeness could be maintained. Unfortunately, we are more divisive than ever since the Civil War. It is my hope that as we honor 9/11 this year that we can turn to each other and despite our differences realize that we are brother and sister no matter our gender, race, religion, or political differences we are in this together!
My poetic tribute:
If it falls, will it be heard?
A panorama falls
Everyone was there
It was heard
The sirens heard it
The ambulances heard it
The police cars and fire trucks heard it
The TV channels broadcasting around the world heard it
It was heard far away in Afghanistan
It was heard in Beverly Hills
Even Moscow heard it
It was heard in the South Bronx where I was born
And it was heard in Los Angeles where my children were born
I know for a fact it was heard in Las Vegas where my grandchildren were born because my daughter called me at dawn to let me know she heard it
I am afraid to sleep tonight because last night I slept like a baby and when I awoke, it was a nightmare
It had fallen
Steel by steel
Stone by stone
Person by person
Is it not interesting that 911 is the number we dial in an emergency? For the longest time I could not think of one without thinking of the other. Perhaps we can call up a collective 911 and handle the emergency we face today and put on a friendly face and get through it. A few friendly faces would do us a lot of good!
Sidebar: The other 911 would be a Porsche and I would not at all mind driving one of those.