NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, September 11th, 2017

In memoriam, sixteen years later

Today is the six­teenth anniver­sary of the Sep­tem­ber 11th attacks, which destroyed New York’s World Trade Cen­ter, dam­aged the Pen­ta­gon, and claimed the lives of thou­sands of inno­cent Amer­i­cans. In hon­or of those who died that day, we’re repub­lish­ing a poem that we post annu­al­ly here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate.

New York's Twin Towers

Two thou­sand one, nine eleven
Two 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, “Let’s sit, let’s 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 Yan­kee 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 two 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 20 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 as one.”

With that the man in the stovepipe hat said
“Take my hand,” and from there he led
two thou­sand plus heroes, New­com­ers to heav­en
On this day, two thou­sand one, nine eleven.

— by Paul Spread­bury, ded­i­cat­ed to the vic­tims of Sep­tem­ber 11th

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