Heather Whaley

U.S.A.

Common Sense

I am fed up with the stunted, obstinate, greed which defines the tea party and its affiliated conspiracy groups who spout offensive rhetoric and lies, who would rather see America fail than to shut up and listen for a minute.  God did not give you the Constitution, but he did give you a brain.  I could here list a number of these offensive conspiracies, beginning with the shooting in Newtown being a hoax, and ending with Obama’s plan to invade your home and take away your weapons.  But I won’t.  Rather I will use this forum for something positive.

 

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We need a new movement in America. A new party. The party of Common Sense. Here’s what I think it should look like.

Common Sense dictates when two people disagree about something very important, requiring action, such as the financial welfare of our country and it’s citizens, they each must bend a little to reach a positive solution.

Common Sense dictates that all people should pay a similar percentage of their wages to support our military, our schools, our infrastructure.

Common Sense dictates that more money should be spent researching how to harness wind and solar power than on trying to extract every last drop of fossil fuel from the earth, when the fossil fuel is going to run out anyway, probably sooner than we think.

Common Sense dictates that our greatest priority should be our children. The people entrusted with the immense task of educating our children, caring for them when they are not in the presence of their parents, and sadly sometimes giving their lives in protecting them, should be financially rewarded in an appropriate manner. Only by offering competitive salaries, can we expect to lure top graduates into the teaching profession. After all, this is America. That’s Common Sense.

Common Sense dictates that when our people are hurting, have suffered great loss due to natural disaster, we act swiftly to repair the damage.

Common Sense dictates that as our climate is changing, incentives should be given to people who are living in areas now more prone to natural disaster, to rebuild elsewhere, and for our infrastructure to include flood prevention measures.

Common Sense dictates that decisions affecting the whole should not be based on the religious ideology of some.

Common Sense dictates that scientific fact should not be ignored or invalidated without reason. The earth was not made in seven days, it is, in fact, over four and a half billion years old and more awesome and inspiring and humbling than any book could even allude to.

Common Sense dictates that morality does not come from a book. It is the responsibility of parents, schools, and communities, to shape character.

Common Sense dictates that a clear path to citizenship must be available to those living and working in our country.

Common Sense dictates that we help those living in poverty, we have a responsibility to feed the hungry.

Common Sense dictates that all people have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, including the right to marry whomever you choose.

Common Sense dictates that as our weapons have evolved, so must our laws pertaining to them.

Common Sense dictates that art is important.  Art is the means by which we represent ourselves as a civilized society.

Common Sense dictates that women are deserving of rights equal to those of men.

Common Sense dictates that in our nation medical care should not be governed by the law of supply and demand, but by compassion and necessity.

Common Sense dictates that we do not inherit the earth from our parents, rather we borrow it from our children.  We must take care of it- not later, NOW.

 

 

Maybe, just maybe, if enough people agree with me, we could turn the tide of conservatism, greed, and obstinacy that has hijacked our nation, and build something truly great.

 

 

NRA, Defenders of Mothers’ Rights, and Other Bullshit

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I was in Newtown on Wednesday night as the Connecticut Legislature’s Task Force heard testimony from parents, first responders, and other Newtown residents.  It was riveting, heartbreaking, and at times infuriating.  The shock and grief of parents who lost their children that day is still unimaginable.  The courage it took for them to stand before this legislative body is profound.  Unlike the Monday hearing in Hartford, most of the testimony was strongly and unequivocably in favor of stronger gun laws, including a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines and assault rifles.  The NRA and the CCDL will tell you that assault weapons are already banned in Connecticut.  But that’s not really the whole story.  When they banned assault weapons, the gun manufacturers just altered them to get around the ban by not allowing them to spray bullets.  The NRA says that the rest of the features are just to make it look cool. The reality is that every feature of that gun has a purpose, to make it more accurate and efficient.  If they wanted it to look cool it would come in different colors.

There were a lot of good ideas mentioned in the testimony.  In my town there is a budget hearing next week to allocate over $300,000 toward new security measures for our schools, including the hiring of two full-time police officers to be stationed in the school buildings.  There are about 9,000 people in my town.  There are about 5,000 guns in my town, too.  On Wednesday in Newtown a father stood before the task force and said, “The Right to Bear Arms is the best marketing slogan of all time.”  Then he went on to say that increased security measures should be paid by the gun manufacturers.  This is just about the best idea I have heard.  Increased security is the price we pay for living in a society teeming with guns.  Alternately, just as the NRA gets a dollar each time a gun is purchased, schools could get a dollar.  Or tax the permits, so that the money is staying in the community where the guns are held.

One woman on Wednesday night said, in a very soft voice, “A mother bear has claws to protect her young.  A mother tiger has teeth.  Please don’t take away the one means of defense I have to protect my children.”  During her testimony people near where I was sitting were visibly disgusted, and many of them left.  This is an argument we have begun to hear over and over.  For example, from “independent woman” Gayle Trotter at the Senate hearing, we heard this:

On Monday in Hartford I heard so many stories of home invasion and rape that I lost count.  I’m not sure where those people were from, but according to them there are places in Connecticut where each night your home is more likely to be invaded than not.  These stories are meant to do one thing – frighten us into buying more guns.  Specifically, to frighten women into buying more guns.  It is your DUTY as a mother to buy a gun.  And because you are small, and fragile, and unable to shoot properly, you’d best get yourself a nice Bushmaster because you’re going to be shooting all over the place, and you’ll need a high-capacity magazine of at least thirty rounds so that hopefully one of them will hit your target.  Don’t worry your pretty little head about where all those other bullets are going.  Just make sure your kids are behind you.

I find this so outrageously offensive.  Does the NRA really think women are so stupid and weak?  I can just imagine the meeting where they came up with this crap.  A bunch of men sitting around a table, saying, “Okay, we’re looking like the bad guys here.  How can we make us the good guys?  I know!  Women.  They’re so naive and impressionable – we’ll just tell them a whole bunch of stories about scary bad guys busting down the door, and how women were able to defend themselves.  We will turn this from a debate about how to prevent a classroom full of children being slaughtered, to a quest for women’s rights – mother’s rights!”  It makes me sick.

You know another mother who had guns in her house?  Nancy Lanza.  Her face was blown off.  You know the rest.

Gun Violence Prevention Committee Hearing, Hartford, CT 1/28/13

Yesterday I testified before the Connecticut State Legislature Subcommittee on Gun Violence Prevention.  When I arrived at 10 am, the line was already very long, it was snowing, and I was really regretting that I hadn’t taken the extra five minutes to find my missing glove.

This is just the back half of the line.

This is just the back half of the line.

There were a lot of moms there – not nearly as many as NRA members, and most had to leave in time to get their kids off the bus.  The rest of us were in it for the long haul.  How long?  I sat down at about 1:00 PM and got up at 3:45 AM.  In the hearing room we were outnumbered by at least 40 to 1, which is a shame as it does not reflect the feeling of the majority in the state or the nation on this matter.  Here’s a photo of the number of people calling in to the Legislative Office in support of new gun regulation on the right, and those opposed on the left, to give you an idea of how mobilized they are.

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Calls placed in opposition to gun regulation on the left. Calls for new gun laws on the right.

What I heard, over and over, from the members of the NRA and CCDL, which is like a local NRA, is that these people are terrified, and I can’t say I blame them because according to their testimony, they have each been the victim of three or four home invasions, and they know for a fact that the government, including the tyrannical subcommittee itself, is coming to take away their guns and force them into concentration camps.

There were a few voices of reason, like the Skeet Shooting instructor worried that his team won’t be able to use the weapons required for their sport, and the gentleman who questioned why it is that when a young black man shoots someone, he’s thrown in jail, but when a young white man commits the same crime he must be “mentally ill.”

In truth, I don’t know how we are going to solve this mess.  I feel responsible that we let it get this far.  Where was I in 2004 when the assault weapons ban expired?  See what happens when we get complacent?  I didn’t take to the streets when Al Gore was fighting for the presidency, and look where that apathy got us – Iraq, The Patriot Act, financial collapse, an expired assault weapons ban, too many shameful legacies of George W. Bush to name in my current state of exhaustion.  My point is that I listened to hours of testimony from people who are genuinely terrified to not have these weapons.  Gun control?  How could we have let it get this far out of control?  I will write more after I’ve had a few hours of sleep.

Here’s my testimony:

What are you going to do about it?

 

Here is a video I made with some local kids from Connecticut.  Please share everywhere, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, email.  I appreciate it.  Really.

Alex Jones and the Great Divide

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On Friday I attended a meeting for the March for Change which is advocating for common sense gun laws in Connecticut.  In a world with common sense, it would be harder to buy an assault rifle than to adopt a dog.  In a world with common sense, the main goal of teachers would be to educate, not to defend.  In a world with common sense, the safety of many would take precedent over the paranoid fantasies of the few.  Speaking of those paranoid fantasies….

I’ve been reading a lot about the fight for gun control.  The one argument I keep hearing over and over is that people are afraid the U.S. government is going to burst into their homes and kill everyone.  I have a lot of irrational fears.  I’m convinced that if I’m at the beach and decide to go for a swim, there will be a shark lurking in the exact place I choose to dive under the water.  I swim anyway, and do not carry a harpoon, or giant fishing pole, or whatever it is that you use to hunt sharks.  However, I have absolutely no fear that the government is going to come into my home and attack myself or my family.  I would really like to understand why people have this fear.

I have read a little about Ruby Ridge.  Not a lot, I will give you that.  It’s hard to find information online that does not include the tagline, “We are a community of White Nationalists.”  But even reading the Wikipedia entry, in spite of the fact that I also believe the government was wrong to attack those people, I’m still not afraid that the government is going to shoot at me.  Do the people who have that fear– to the extent they are stock piling weapons and ammunition– all live on compounds?  I’m genuinely asking that question.  For real.  Because why would you think it’s going to happen to YOU?  I live a few miles from Newtown, and if I thought that was going to happen in my town, my kids wouldn’t be in school right now.  I kind of wish they weren’t, but that’s another story.

I watched, open-mouthed, with a combination of delight and horror, this interview.

What struck me as absurd, aside from Alex’s British accent, references to Jaws paranoia (to which I take offense!), the proliferation of suicide/ mass murder pills, was the implication that the U.S. government was responsible for 9/11.  But not George Bush– he had nothing to do with it.  What is so strange to me is that if we attacked ourselves on 9/11, then do Alex Jones and his followers feel we owe an apology to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan?  Since after all, they had nothing to do with 9/11 and their people are simply more victims of the U.S. killing machine, like Vicki Weaver.  Do they offer an apology to Muslim people in general after the horrible way many Americans have treated them these past eleven years?  Or are Alex Jones and his followers the same people who think Obama is an unlawful president because they believe he’s Muslim (disregarding that it would not be illegal in any case)?

Which brings me to education.  According to his Wikipedia page, Alex Jones– and honestly I had never heard of him before about an hour ago, so I only use him as an example– “briefly attended Austin Community College.”  Now, I am NOT saying, in any way shape or form, that a good education cannot be found at community college, and many people simply can not afford college today, and often community colleges are an affordable choice.  But to only “briefly attend” to me says that Alex Jones was not motivated to learn.  He didn’t care about his education.  Which brings me to this:

My ten-year-old and I say this all the time.  “Jeremy Lin went to Harvard?  What a snob!”  But to us it’s a joke.  An obvious joke.  First, Santorum has two graduate degrees, so what’s he talking about?  I’ll tell you.   He’s preaching to the choir.  He’s not trying to lift people up, educate, and inform.  Neither is Alex Jones.  His goal is to keep people afraid and ignorant, and the choir keeps on singing, or shouting, as the case may be.  Are they worried that if people went to school, took an interest in finding the truth about the world, understood and respected cultural differences, they would be harder to manipulate?  Is an uneducated population easier to control?

Is the real thing dividing America today education?  I’m not talking about liberals and conservatives.  I’m talking pistol-packing conspiracy theorists who want to replace science with prayer, and the rest of us.  I realize I sound like the liberal college snob that I am, unless Theater majors don’t count, which is entirely possible.  (Just kidding.  I was also an English major.)  I’m just trying to understand the other side of the argument, and it’s really hard to hear what people actually think and feel over all the screaming.

http://www.Ctmomsonline.com/marchforchange

Time for Action

When I was in fourth grade at Increase Miller, newly transplanted to Katonah, I remember very distinctly sitting in Miss Yohan’s class when there was a loud wail over the P.A.  It wasn’t a fire drill and I had no idea what was going on.  We all had to go in the hall and put our heads between our knees, and someone told me it was in case of an air raid.  I remember thinking it was absurd.  Who was going to fly over Increase Miller and drop a bomb on me?  Nevertheless there were many nights I stared at my ceiling worried about the Soviet Union.  Our kids today have it so much worse.  Their worst fears have been realized.  They are afraid to sleep in their own beds.  We need to do something about it.  And we CAN do something about it.

On Monday, January 14th at 7:30 PM at the Redding Community Center Saul Cornell, author of A Well-Regulated Militia: the Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America will moderate; you can learn more about him by clicking HERE.  We can turn the tragedy of the massacre in Newtown into a catalyst for positive change.  This will be a very informative event.  If you live nearby please join us, or tell your local friends!  It’s time.

Redding Community Center
37 Lonetown Road
Redding, CT 06896

New Year’s Letter from Connecticut

On the Monday after our country, and the world, were still reeling from the horrific events in Newtown, I walked my daughter to the end of the driveway, hugged her too hard, and put her on the school bus.  The driver and I exchanged a solemn nod.  After the bus pulled away I cried deeply but silently in the driveway before going inside to get my son ready for middle school.  It was an act of faith on my part, and courage on hers to get on that bus.

The previous Friday I arrived very early to pick her up from school.  I wasn’t the only one.  More than one parent ran to the school the moment they heard of the attack.  Sandy Hook Elementary is about ten miles from my daughter’s school, and it was a struggle to wait until dismissal.  I watched as one by one the kids came into the gym, where they meet their parents.  They rushed, backpacks heavy, artwork in hand, to their waiting parents who each in turn picked up their child and held them closely.  It was overwhelmingly sad, knowing that a few miles down the road there were parents who would never again feel that mundane joy.  We were informed that the kids didn’t know what had happened.  I knew that would not be the case with my son, because so many middle schoolers have cell phones and iPads.  Sure enough he got off the bus informing me that someone had shot a whole bunch of people at a school in Newtown and now there were two gunmen on the loose.

I told him that wasn’t true.  That a man had gone to a school and a lot of people were hurt, but that he was dead and nobody ever had to worry about him again, and please don’t tell your sister because she doesn’t know.  He understood.  But it was Friday, and she’s allowed to play on the computer on Fridays. I didn’t remember in time that our home screen is CNN.com.  She would have seen the coverage on her way to Club Penguin.  When I asked about it, she said she hadn’t seen anything.  But later, as my son was working on a project to organize a field trip for the fifth grade, she said, “You could go to Newtown.  That would be depressing.”  My heart sank.

That weekend was rough.  My daughter, who is normally very independent, didn’t leave my side, showering me with kisses and hugs.  She slept in her brother’s room all weekend.   Then came Monday.

I was glad to be going to a meeting at the elementary school, because I didn’t want to be far from my children.  The meeting was at 9:30 in the cafeteria, and we were to discuss the best way to talk about the tragedy with our kids.  My husband and I had just arrived, our nerves still frazzled, our eyes still red from crying, when an alarm came over the P.A. system and the principal’s voice, tight with fear, said, “We are in lockdown. This is not a drill.”  It was as if my entire body had become hollow.  A strong breeze could have turned me to dust.  A door opened and the custodian said, “This way.”

We were ushered into the computer room, the lights were turned off, windows covered, we were told to sit on the floor and be absolutely quiet.  Parents started crying.  I might have been first.  I thought of my daughter.  She’s eight years old.  Her class was having a China Festival and she was so excited to wear the Chinese dress we ordered for her online.  She had picked out the outfit a week before, and it was all she talked about for days.  I pictured her hiding in the closet of her classroom in her Chinese dress.  It was lavender.  Of course I pictured those kids in Newtown hiding in their schoolroom closets.  I couldn’t breathe, and when I tried, the tears just came.

We are new to the school and I didn’t know any of the other parents I was with, but they grabbed my arm in the dark and told me it was going to be okay.  I felt overwhelming guilt that I had moved my children to this place, assuring them that it would be a better life, that it was a better place to be a kid.  In New York City they had never gone into “lockdown.”  I felt I had lied to them.  Across the room my husband was talking to another father whose tears ran freely down his face.  I wanted to know what was going on.  I found the teacher in the dark.  She said they had been told that morning there would definitely not be a drill of any kind that week.  Then I stared to listen to what was happening in the halls.  It was eerily quiet.  I was expecting, really honestly waiting, to hear gunfire.  I knew it was coming.  I just wanted to know what part of the building it was going to be in, and if I could run to get my daughter.  But it didn’t come.

A while later we learned that a suspicious man had been spotted carrying what looked to be a rifle at a nearby train station.  In reality it was a man with an umbrella.  It was raining.  Because of that man, schools in at least five districts had gone on lockdown on the one day when that was the second worst thing that could happen.  It brought the horror of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary right into those schools.

Later I asked my daughter if she had been scared.  I told her that I was scared, because I had never been in a lockdown before.  She said that she was but she didn’t tell anyone.  “When we were hiding Alice said, ‘I keep looking at the crack of light under the door and thinking someone is going to put a gun under there,’ and I was thinking the same thing.”  Across town my son had been pushed into a different closet.  He said that he was “a bit” frightened because it went on for so long that he thought maybe “something bad was happening.”  When you think about it, hiding from someone who has broken in and is looking to kill you is just about the scariest thing you can go through.  Our children do that as routine.  It is part of their reality to know that some people are going to try to shoot them in the places they feel the most safe.

I don’t think we will ever be able to imagine the toll this massacre has taken on my neighbors in Newtown, and our country as a whole.  I can only measure it against the toll on my own children.  About a month ago I ordered fire safety ladders for the upstairs bedrooms in my house.  When they arrived I showed my son how to use them and he said, “Is this only for fires, or for if there is… something bad happening in the house?” Something bad.  Those are the words he has chosen to describe the most frightening and awful thing possible.

Perhaps out of guilt, or the constant reminder of how lucky we are that we have our children, my husband and I went totally overboard on the Christmas presents.  They got a foosball table. We gave my son a cell phone.  I thought that if he’d had one when he was stuck in that closet I could have texted him to let him know it was just a precaution.  My daughter has been desperate to get her ears pierced, knowing full well that I’ve told her she wasn’t allowed until she was in middle school.  But on Christmas morning, she opened a big box and inside she found a pair of earrings.  We went the next day to get them pierced.  I was worried that every time I looked at her earrings I would remember the kids who died in that school, but what I remember is how fortunate I am to have her, and to treasure every moment I have with my children.  When my son asks me to play foosball, I say yes.  Every time.

I don’t know much about mental illness.  I don’t know about what drives a person to commit mass murder.  I do know that those people have one thing in common.  They have high-powered weapons.  The second amendment was written by men who never conceived of the weapons available today.  Their intention was to enable citizens to fight against an oppressive government.  With muskets.  As our weapons have evolved, so must our laws pertaining to them.  In spite of what the NRA claims, nobody needs a Bushmaster rifle to shoot a deer.  The only thing you hunt with an assault rifle is people, specifically a lot of people in a short amount of time.  There is a lot of talk about making it harder for people to buy guns, but that’s not going to work.  Connecticut, I am told, has fairly strict regulations, and in any case, the weapons used in Sandy Hook Elementary belonged to someone else.  We need to get rid of the guns.  Period.

Our children are hiding in closets at school.  That is too high a price to pay for someone’s supposed “right” to own whatever weapon they choose.  Where is the line drawn?  In the U.S. an average citizen can own a grenade launcher.  Why?  I can go into a nearby Walmart and buy an assault rifle designed for military use.  Why?  The NRA argues that anything can be a weapon – a fork can be a weapon.  But on the same day as the shooting in Sandy Hook, a man went on a stabbing spree at a school in China. The difference is nobody was killed.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about what kind of people want to own assault rifles.  Perhaps they would be a good pool from which to begin mental health screenings.  I can’t imagine there are all that many of them.  Certainly there are more people in America who want assault rifles off the streets than want them in their homes, so why are they so hard to regulate?  There is only one answer.  Money.  The NRA has a lot of money, and is a powerful voice in Washington.  It’s time to scream louder than the NRA.

This New Year I resolve to do everything I possibly can to protect my children, to make this world a place where my children can feel safe.  I will not allow the rights of some gun nut to come before the basic rights of happiness and security for my children.  I will not stand down, or grow discouraged because an old man thinks I am just hysterical and will eventually get over my knee jerk reaction to a tragedy.  What Wayne La Pierre doesn’t realize is that nothing infuriates a woman more than a man being dismissive of her anger.  It is a coward who believes in America the Brave, but arms himself to the teeth.  I am braver than him.  I am stronger than him.  I am louder than him.

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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2011

The past few months I’ve been running in the morning, getting up early before my husband and the kids. But with school starting this week, today I ran after dropping the kids off. Their school is near the West Side Highway in lower Manhattan. I always run along the Hudson River to avoid the awkward jogging in place that one must do when stopped at a traffic light. Today, a beautiful, crisp morning, I ran west to the river and turned left. This is what I was looking at:

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That building with the cranes on top is 1 World Trade Center, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, under construction. I have lived in New York for eighteen years. The view from my apartment used to be of the World Trade Center. After it was gone, the view, in spite of all the buildings I could still see, was nothing more than a huge, gaping void. Today, running along the river, I was staring at this new building and, I don’t know why, but I decided to run there. I ran down to the pedestrian bridge, against the swarming mass of commuters emptying out from the PATH train, and stopped just in front of the site.

1 World Trade is really quite eerie when you imagine what it is replacing – you can see them – really see where the twin towers once were. Craning your neck, looking up into the empty air, it is hard not to picture the people who were just sitting at their desks, turning on their computers, drinking coffee, and ten minutes later hanging out the window about to jump, or the busboys with their faces pressed hard against the floor of Windows on the World trying to breathe. This morning, in front of the site, I was stopped in my tracks. I stood, staring for a minute, and then I just cried and cried. I didn’t even know that I was still that sad. Mostly when I think about 9/11 I feel angry. Not only angry with the people who did this, but also angry at the tourists who go down there sightseeing, ticking “Ground Zero” off their list before catching the matinee of Mary Poppins. I hate the street vendors who sell American flags, souvenirs, pictures of the towers, pictures of the towers on fire, and the people who buy them. I’m angry at stupid right wing politicians like Sarah Palin who praise the virtues of small-town America and the people that live there, and lambaste the “liberal elite” that live on the east coast in lefty places like New York, all the while waving their flags and saying “Never Forget,” and cheering a war against people they know nothing about in the Middle East. The reason New Yorkers are so “lefty” is that it’s hard not to be tolerant and compassionate of your neighbors. It’s much easier to hate what you don’t know, the unfamiliar scares everyone, even my kids know that. And these small town virtues, what might they be? Helping your neighbor? Sticking together, being strong and proud of where you come from? Because that’s what we New Yorkers did in the days after 9/11. While it’s nice to say that the terrorists didn’t win, in many ways they did, because it’s just not the same here anymore.

It was religious fanatics who did this, not Muslims. The guys who run the deli down my block don’t mind if you’re short on money, and they’ll let you come back later when you’ve got it. They’re Muslim. They used to have a sign in their window, written in Arabic, saying their meat was Halal. It’s gone now. They took it down September 12th. The week following the attack I got into a taxi with my husband, the driver wore a turban. In front of us on the plastic partition he had pasted a sign reading, “I am not a Muslim. I am a Sikh from India. I love America.” That’s not something you ever would have seen in New York City prior to 9/11. In New York, a turban wasn’t out of the ordinary. My husband and I both cried, because while the attack was against America, it was also against our hometown, and it was also this cab driver’s hometown, and it was all so sad. Religious fanaticism that rejects any sort of reason is dangerous regardless of the religion from which it was born.

Every year, I hate September 11th. I hate the beams of light that blare up from “Ground Zero” as a memorial, and was really glad they didn’t have them this year. I hate the reading of the names. I hate the flags. It’s too sad. I don’t want to remember that. It was horrible. But of course, nobody has to tell me to “Never Forget.” How could I when the wail of a fire engine’s siren turns my blood cold, and the sight and sound of a fighter jet fills me with deep, gray sadness? I won’t forget checking in with everyone – the guy at the coffee place, my doctor, anyone I saw really, in the days that followed, to see who had lost friends and family. “Is everyone OK,” we’d ask each other, and hold our breath for the answer, knowing that nobody was OK. Not really. I will never forget the smell, like burning plastic mixed with an acrid sweetness which lingered in the air, for even as long as late October when my husband and I came out of a movie on 19th street, and it was as strong as it was in those first days. I don’t remember the movie, but I remember that smell. I remember every time I take the subway, drive through the Holland Tunnel, get on a bus. I was four months pregnant on that day, and when my baby was born I wouldn’t let him out of my sight, wouldn’t even let him sleep in a different room, and when the time came for him to go to nursery school, I sat in front of my window, staring in the direction of his school, waiting for a plume of smoke that would send me tearing down Eighth Avenue to get him.

This weekend, all the warnings, and the advice to be “vigilant,” whatever that means, has brought all those awful feelings back, and it is, this year, as if it happened yesterday. I’m crying more. I canceled the babysitter tonight because I just felt like being home with my kids, and I’ll probably stay home for most of this weekend. I hope that this anniversary brings some sort of closure, not to the pain, and horror, and sadness, because that will never go away. But to the media’s constant reminding us to “remember,” because that’s not necessary.

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Inspiration

You must watch this.  Ken Robinson is so clever, so inspiring and so RIGHT ON.