In recent weeks we’ve had mid-term elections, recounts of votes, calls for gun control, wild fires, shootings, states of emergency and the list goes on. Today is Veteran’s Day (observed), and is a reminder that our freedom is a fragile thing that must be nurtured and protected. The newspaper had a 2 page listing of events for Veterans, everything from high school performances of bands, orchestra and/or choirs to addresses by elected politicians or dignitaries. There are wreath laying ceremonies, a drive to collect suits for veterans, and a canned goods drive. However there wasn’t any mention of the local grocery store chain where son#1 and son#2 work. I suppose it was so well known that they give away hot meals (fried chicken meals – 2 pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, biscuit, and another side) to veterans that there didn’t need to be any advertising. Although it is officially Veteran’s Day today, they gave away meals on Sunday in alignment with the Treaty of Versailles signed on November 11 at 11:00 AM that ended WWI. It is such a big deal that son#1 worked in the kitchen making chicken (he is so good that people will call in to find out if he’s cooking). He said they gave out over 200 meals at their location from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. It pains me to think that our military veterans are not being accorded the assistance to heal from the trauma of combat, reintegration to civilian life, and assistance with finding good paying jobs. Which brings me to the startling fact that the children in school now are too young to remember September 11, 2001. Seniors in high school weren’t born yet in 2001! The college students were too young to even remember the horror of seeing the World Trade Center fall.
So why am I talking about September 11 now? It is November and I should have been posting all this on September 11th, right? Well, the reality is that I went to Baltimore and saw this:
This is a chunk of the World Trade Center. It is a twisted and compressed piece of the interior steel skeleton of the tower. It sits on a marble pedestal outside the Baltimore World Trade Center. I walked past it on my way to a dinner. I was walking with 2 women (one from San Diego, CA and the other from Pittsburgh, PA). We had discovered that we were all going the same way and since it was dark we decided to walk together. As we passed this monument, I paused to read the plaque and take a photo. They patiently waited for me. As we walked away one asked me why I was taking a photo of the “modern art”. I explained that it was a piece of the World Trade Center. She stared at me blankly. I realized that both were probably only 25 at the most and the event that is seared into the minds of most adults is but a historical footnote to her generation. For them it is the reality not of foreign terrorists but gun violence in schools like the Sandy Hook Elementary school in 2012 and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL in 2018. Seems the memory of the twin towers is dimming and being replace by other unspeakable tragedies.