Monday, September 12, 2005

Pipe Dreams on 9/11

On September 11, this year I assembled with the New London Firefighters pipes and drums band in Mystic, Connecticut. We usually gather in some parking lot, tune, drink a few beers and muster up to march and play. While we were tuning, a piper and I were talking.

"Have you noticed, Vern, that every September 11 is just like the day it happened. A beautiful day," I said.

He nodded, "It's like we have to keep doing this day over and over again until we get it right."

As we formed up in our ranks and file, my drum slinging over my shoulder; I was thinking about what Vern had said. He was right. As we marched down the street, food festival guests watching us pass by, I began thinking about living a day over and over, waiting to "get it right." I began to wonder what we might do to put our lives, our nation back on course. I began to wonder how we can change the catastrophic, the sadness, and the mark on such a beautiful day.

We circled and began playing our memorial sets. In that sober moment I watched people show some indication of reverance, taking off their hats, hands across their hearts, looking up to the American flag.

We started the last two songs, Going Home and Amazing Grace, and the crowd grew quiet as the single piper began. As the rest of the band drew in, I felt a surge of sadness and distress, but it was beyond the tears and the mourning. It was the panic of having lost something intangible, and not knowing where to find it and foster it. America has taken the human out of humane and that is evident now down in the south. As we rolled into our final notes of Amazing Grace, I felt a surge of emotions that drew me away from some of the terrible sadness and out, looking for something that has been lost in war, politics and sadness. Looking for the soul of America is better than mourning its loss forever. Until we find it, we have to keep living that day over and over again until we get it right. -- Ron Samul


carmen palmer said...

Beautifully said, Ron, and very true.

ACW said...

I agree with Carmen. This is so eloquent.

Every 9/11 I wake up and think about the sky too. I can still see myself crossing the street to my work, I was rushing to make an early meeting, and I just kept staring at the sky, it was so blue and striking. Every 9/11 I think about a friend and former trainer I worked with, whose young son I met in June 2000 on top of the World Trade Center during a press conference. The trainer had asked if his son could attend our press conference announcing a joint venture, it would be a great learning experience for him. He was young, full of life, handsome and equally as kind as his dad. One of the planes went through his floor, just 15 minutes before he was to leave for the day (he was a European trader).

I think about a lot every 9/11. But I think your words take those multitude of moments and memories and succinctly capture the spirit of everyone who remembers.

Thanks Ron.