OPEN: JANUS FILE #0402
I knew that I wanted to write something to mark this anniversary, but I didn't know what that would be. I think my best entry on September 11 may have been three years ago (Janus File #0271, "Never Forget, Indeed"). But I was looking through some old email, and I found this poem that someone sent to me on September 11, 2003. And I knew that this was what I wanted to share today.
As far as I know, the author of this poem is unknown. At least no name was attached to the poem when it was emailed to me eight years ago. For all I know, the author has stepped forward and claimed credit since then. And I suspect that it has been posted and reposted to any number of websites. I really wasn't interested in checking Google. If anyone does know, feel free to leave a comment.
I've done a little cleaning up in terms of punctuation, but other than that, you see what I found in my email eight years ago.
TWO THOUSAND ONE, NINE ELEVEN (2001/9/11)
Two thousand one, nine eleven:
Three thousand plus arrive in heaven.
As they pass through the gate,
Thousands more appear in wait.
A bearded man with stovepipe hat
Steps forward saying, "Lets sit, lets chat"
They settle down in seats of clouds
A man named Martin shouts out proud,
"I have a dream!" and once he did.
The Newcomer said, "Your dream still lives."
Groups of soldiers in blue and gray,
Others in khaki, and green then say,
"We're from Bull Run, Yorktown, the Maine"
The Newcomer said, "You died not in vain."
From a man on sticks one could hear,
"The only thing we have to fear . . . "
The Newcomer said, "We know the rest,
Trust us sir, we've passed that test."
"Courage doesn't hide in caves
You can't bury freedom, in a grave,"
The Newcomers had heard this voice before
A distinct Yankees twang from Hyannisport shores
A silence fell within the mist
Somehow the Newcomer knew that this
Meant time had come for her to say
What was in the hearts of the five thousand plus that day
"Back on Earth, we wrote reports,
Watched our children play in sports,
Worked our gardens, sang our songs,
Went to church and clipped coupons,
We smiled, we laughed, we cried, we fought,
Unlike you, great we're not."
The tall man in the stovepipe hat
Stood and said, "Don't talk like that!
Look at your country, look and see,
You died for freedom, just like me"
Then, before them all appeared a scene
Of rubbled streets and twisted beams.
Death, destruction, smoke and dust
And people working just 'cause they must
Hauling ash, lifting stones,
Knee deep in hell, but not alone
"Look! Blackman, Whiteman, Brownman, Yellowman
Side by side helping their fellow man!"
So said Martin, as he watched the scene,
"Even from nightmares, can be born a dream."
Down below three firemen raised
The colors high into ashen haze.
The soldiers above had seen it before,
On Iwo Jima back in '44.
The man on sticks studied everything closely,
Then shared his perceptions on what he saw mostly.
"I see pain, I see tears,
I see sorrow -- but I don't see fear."
"You left behind husbands and wives,
Daughters and sons, and so many lives
Are suffering now because of this wrong,
But look very closely. You're not really gone.
"All of those people, even those who've never met you,
All of their lives, they'll never forget you.
Don't you see what has happened?
Don't you see what you've done?
You've brought them together, together as one."
With that the man in the stovepipe hat said,
"Take my hand," and from there he led
Three thousand plus heroes, Newcomers to heaven
On this day, two thousand one, nine eleven.
-- Author Unknown
CLOSE: JANUS FILE #0402