Monday, September 12, 2011

A Reflection

I am always a day or so late . I was planning on blogging a  short piece on Sunday about the importance of the day . It was the 10th Anniversary of the attack on New York and Washington DC. I watched the footage and the numerous docos on Australian TV . I become numb to the real impact as I remember watching live 10 years earlier the Second plane crashing into the South Tower of the World Trade centre.

I had been up on the viewing deck 15 years earlier  on a beautiful  New York summer day.Better and wonderful memories of a summer spent in New York and Connecticut in 1986 .The 100th anniversary of the Statute of Liberty. I watched an interview of a young  Australian who survived the attack even though he was on the 92nd floor. The many families who lost loved ones and those still badly scared by the attack. The young Australian interviewed only felt sadness on the day .

No one spoke of hate . Most refocused their lives to honour those who died. They do not forget , they remember but as most said life goes on . There is an endless cycle and the human spirit seems to have an unquantifiable ability to absorb all that pain and suffering and move on. It is not a boundary anyone readily wishes to test . But each day we are possibly confronted with that ultimate test and our mortality.

Whilst I prefer not to be introspective and self absorbed by the hype of TV commercialism of  such a serious event.It is personal , it is private and so individual  to those who have lost loved ones . I prefer to give them that privacy .I do not need to intrude or gawk at the spectacle. It is tragic and sad . There is an over hyping by  media for the sake of  TV numbers . Having said that , I do reflect on what it is to be a citizen of this world and to ask , a simple question. After a decade  of the end of the cold war , the reduced tension of global nuclear annihilation, what and how can a group of individuals feel so aggrieved that they resort to such a horrific degree of violence.

Having said that , 3000 lives lost in New York and countless more wars and violence  in Africa and Cambodia and Gaza. What draws us and our attention. Whilst taking life to justify a cause is wrong . We do have a myopic view of justice and causes . The Palestine problem remains and does not attract the attention of the World as 9/11 does . The insoluble problem in the Middle East remains the catalyst because no one is prepared to invest the effort required . The United nations remains divided . Similar to the climate Change debate . It remains the greatest threat to world security. But indecision and self interest remain paramount.

We seem to always move closer to the  cliff face of annihilation . I hope we pull back in time . I hope we learn the lessons of history . I hope we learn respect and tolerance. I hope we have wisdom before it is all too late . It is on such a day good to reflect , I am safe here , a beautiful spring day in Perth .

Finally , A short poem by Brisbane Poet Rupert McCall called A Fire Fighters Dream:


His voice boomed like a beacon and it echoed in my soul

From the land of opportunity, reverberations roll

All across the mighty sea to where the Southern Cross stars gleam

I was listening…and I heard it…when he said…I have a dream…

And the dream I had was beautiful – what more could someone pray

Than to wake up in the middle of a perfect summer’s day?

An aqua blue-like canopy pays tribute to the skies

And there I see this young kid with a hero in his eyes

The hero is a humble man and not the type to shirk

A proudly spoken fire-fighter on his way to work

His profession is his passion, his adrenalin, his spark

The hat he wears to battle is his way to make a mark

And waving from a window, now the boy begins to cry

You see the hero is his father…and he hates to say goodbye

And the dream I had was terrible, from nowhere they appear

Monsters in the New York sky that choke the day with fear

It can’t be real – the questions burn with why and who and how?

Go and turn your TV on…please…just do it now…

An evil cloak in plumes of smoke replaces freedom’s gown

The flames reveal their secret truth – the world is falling down

Falling, sprawling, screaming, calling, crying as they go

A fire fighter grabs his hat and flies to meet his foe

Forward into battle now – he hears a church’s bell

Forward into no man’s land - Forward into hell

And the dream I had was powerful – the best of humankind

Courage is a heartfelt word not easily defined

It doesn’t equal ‘fearless’ as some sideline experts claim

No…courage is ‘to be scared…but to go on just the same’

To rally in the moment then to rise and climb the stairs

To save as many people as an act of courage dares

To dig and dig then dig some more – to be there for your mates

To look your leader in the eye and know the end awaits

Underneath the carnage, when the count is done and said

The only thing recovered is his hat of ‘firey’ red

And the dream I had was personal – I’ve put my kids to sleep

But the images still haunt me and reality cuts deep

I see the faces of the fallen – the tape forever runs

I see the mothers and the brothers and the sisters and the sons

And the comrades and the colleagues, they are never to return

But for every face, a candle…and tonight, that flame will burn

It burns for something precious – something every hero gave

It illuminates ‘ground zero’ and commemorates the brave

Of religion, race and rivalry, it burns across that scope

It is pure in its simplicity – tonight, it burns for hope

Yes the dream we share IS hopeful in our darkest hour of hours

Beams of light now kiss the sky where, once, we saw two towers

Of this, be strong and steadfast - Of this, stand tall and say -

There are some things that an enemy can never take away

I can feel it through the flag that flies, defiant in the gloom

I can see it through the window where a boy waits in his room

He is waiting for his hero, still, to walk back through that door

The hat he holds is scuffed and scratched but this, he knows for sure

One day he will wear that hat and pride will reign supreme

Because his father’s gift was freedom and for that…he has a dream…

Rupert McCall 2010