Write In Between

Sunday, September 10, 2006


A few random thoughts:
  • I am a native New Yorker -- born in The City and raised on Long Island. I will always be proud of being from New York, no matter where I live. My three children were born there. New York's politics don't usually agree with mine, and the traffic is beyond belief, but I will always remember the sight of thousands of New Yorkers helping each other, comforting one another, and walking silently over bridges toward safety after the attack on the towers. We had family in those crowds and we prayed a thousand prayers for their safety that day. New Yorkers are often characterized as being tough. Well, it has served them well. Tough enough to come through such an ordeal, and tough enough to reveal tender hearts. We remember all those who died at the World Trade Center, those from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and those from Boston and beyond on the planes.

  • Just this past July I walked in the summer sun with my husband and three children as we toured Washington DC while en route to the Outer Banks for vacation. It was a gift to be there and to remind our children of the preciousness of our freedoms bequeathed to us by our courageous men and women in the armed services. It was 16 years since our last visit to DC. We began our walking tour on The Mall, beginning at the Lincoln Memorial, where we took time to read the immortal words of a weary President who sought to bring dignity amidst thousands of war dead. The Gettysburg Address is inscribed on the wall beside Lincoln's imposing statue. It was a fitting start for as we traversed the Mall. We decided that the highlights for us were the (never seen by us) Korean War Memorial and the World War Two Memorial. We also visited the Vietnam Memorial and the Washington Memorial. Capping off our Mall visit, we walked to the Natonal Archives to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I am grateful to my four uncles who served in the military while I was growing up and to my grandfather as well. All of these men came home after their years of service to the joy of their families. Many military and civilian lives were lost in the Pentagon attack, and we honor their memory.

  • In June I drove from Ohio to Massachusetts by myself as I returned home from taking a college course. On the way home I drove out to the crash site of Flight 93 in the rolling hills of Shanksville in western Pennsylvania. It was a holy time. I stayed and prayed there, and hung up a set of rosary beads on the memorial in honor of all the victims who fought the first battle of the War on Terror in the skies over Pennsylvania farmlands. I also visited the chapel there and spoke at length with the priest who is making it his life's work to keep the chapel open as a place of prayer and quiet remembrance of all the victims of that crash on 9/11. The tiny town of Shanksville will never be the same. It is now a place of pilgrimage and a shrine in our nation's history. I came as a pilgrim that day to honor people I have never met in a town I never heard of, but will now never forget.

Copyright 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

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