Children Playing at Lee's Summit City Hall

It is safe to play as children do, thanks to the Heroism of those who defend our Freedom

LEE’S SUMMIT, September 11, 2011 – ten years ago today I felt the world shake as I walked into work and everyone was watching the television in the small gym.  The twin towers were already on fire.  I didn’t know it then but a friend of mine was about to die that day, if she was not mercifully dead by then.

I came to the United States in March of 1970 shortly before the towers were visible from the rooftops in Hoboken. the towers were not as elegant as the Empire State Building but they were my connection to my first days here.  They were a powerful image for me of the strength and might of the country to which I, by choice pledged my allegiance to because I learned to love it, honor it, and respect it.

On that beautiful and devastating morning I remember getting a call from my daughter asking in her fear what was happening.  My heart broke for her.  I could only give her words, but I was too far to give her my arms to bring her comfort.  My connection to New York and to my early days now meant nothing to me, her fear and sadness ripped at me as it does now in writing this.  It still, to this day brings back all the emotions of that day and the week’s that followed.

As I haves been struggling with my attempt to capture and express my own feelings about this day, I found two things that say more than I could ever say.  The first is the song by Julia Othmer that follows.  It is a deep and truly inspiring song that captures the intensity of the memory.  I hope you play it.

The other is the emotion captured by Alfred Lord Tennyson in “The Charge of the light brigade” put in the context of two events on September 11th.  While the poem was written to memorialize a foolish charge, in this case It can be revamped to express the courage of those men climbing up the towers the 343 fire fighters trying to save lives trapped high up on the towers.  They knew that going up there was dangerous, but they also knew that people need to be saved.  They did not think of heroism, only of duty to their fellow man.  Up they climbed with rescue gear on their backs.

A hundred flights upward,
A hundred flights upward,
All in the towers full of Hope
Climbed the 343:
‘Forward, the Fire Brigade!
Climb for we have lives to save,
All in the towers full of Hope
Climbed the 343.

High up in the air another group struggled valiantly to overcome the intent of those bent on destruction.  Men, husbands, fathers, women, mothers and wives took on the attackers of our homeland and said: No.  They too did it because it was the right thing to do, not to be heroes.  No one really knows how many lives they saved on the ground, but I can tell you that they are an inspiration to all.

In closing I have to say that such cowardly act of war could not and has not gone unpunished.  The United States may have its political differences, but Americans have always risen to a challenge.  They came here from other lands to make a better life for themselves and their children: That which is fought to obtain is fought to maintain!

The following poem was in The Lee’s Summit Tribune on Saturday by Jerry Plantz called “I Held the Flag Today” and it seems a fitting closure to this blog.  The poem comes from  here, and I highly recommend you read it:

I Held The Flag Today

 I held the flag today,
It’s been awhile, and it’s not my style
But I touched it where it lay.
It’s been in a drawer, it’s been in a war
That took my dad away.
It brought back tears of grieving years
From that military day.
I remember the shoot – the gun salute
And I saw my mother pray.

I held the flag today,
Mom nearly collapsed when they began the taps
For it took her breath away.
It was solemn and sad and she thought of my dad,
Yet a smile broke through her dismay.
As they folded the banner in a reverent manner
My mom began to sway.
As they presented it to her- her mind was a blur
As she held the flag that day.

I held the flag today,
Thinking of mom, who is now gone,
Now I’m proud to say
I reclaim my land and pledge this hand
To honor and obey.
As my countrymen die ashamed am I
Before I could allay
All of the doubt I harbored throughout,
For I’ve been sympathy’s prey.

I held the flag today,
When the New York sky was terror most high
And our Capitol was in disarray.
Yet over a rural field heroes didn’t yield
And caused their plane to stray.
As our eyes were locked as we gazed in shock
When the towers suddenly gave way.
Then those heroes in strife searching for life,
Their spirit had something to say.

I held the flag today,
As our nation reached out to help pull them out,
For that’s our American way.
To see our leaders react and vowed to attack
And that someone is going to pay.
I felt its fiber and thread, its living and dead
And I could hear it say
If we forget we’ll always regret
Until our dying day.

I displayed the flag today,
It’s flying aloft that beautiful cloth,
Ready for the fray.
Whomever the foe, they’ll reap what they sow
Starting from today.
I’m humble and proud and I say it aloud,
I’m an American-come what may.

Are you guys ready? Let’s roll!


God Bless and strengthen you.

Paul Zainea,
Immigrant, and Citizen of the United States of America