DRUNKS OR HEROES?

My husband and I were standing at our living room window, watching a man walking down the distant road. The man lived nearby in a broken down house.  Every day he walked two miles to a neighborhood bar where he spent his time.

 

“Night fell, darkness hid the two from sight”

He worked at walking.

Stumbling, weaving, tumbling, falling…

Each night at dusk he headed home, deaf to traffic sounds.

 Reeling into roadside ditch, he lay upon the ground in bleak half-conscious stupor.

With effort, he crawled laboriously to the ditch’s edge, then worked at walking once again.  The man continued through his nightly ritual.

 A friend approached the sodden hulk;  bending down, he knelt beside the fallen man.  With steady arms, the friend began THE RESCUE.

 The friend was not a hero.  I was a bystander.  Though years have passed, the vivid scene remains.

 Whose life was changed?  Whose journey reached a crossroad?  Whose path was interrupted by a chance encounter?  Was it the man?  Was it the friend?  Was it me?

 What are you thinking now?

 Night fell. Darkness hid the two from sight.

 THE RESCUE had begun.

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 * * * * * * * *

Many years have passed since this incident took place.

 My husband and I were standing at our living room window, watching a man walking down the distant road. The man lived nearby in a broken down house.  Each day he walked two miles to a neighborhood bar where he spent his time.

 We didn’t usually see him traveling on the way to his daily destination. Nor did we see him when he was going home.  But this day, we saw him walking home.  As we watched, he staggered and stumbled, falling into the deep ditch beside the road.

For moments he was out of our sight.  Then, we saw him crawling out of the ditch and struggling to his feet.  Walking a few steps, he fell once more. Once more, he crawled up the side of the ditch on his hands and knees and attempted to stand.

 I became aware my husband had left my side. Now, in his truck, he was driving down our driveway toward the distant road.  I saw him stop at the place where the man was lying beside the ditch. Getting out of his truck, he approached the figure.

 Taking him by the arm, he helped the man to his feet.

 My husband later told me he intended to help the man into the cab of the truck, but he protested.  “I’m not clean enough to sit in your truck.  Help me into the back.  I’ll ride home there.”

 As this scene unfolded before my eyes, I was surely not aware it would be in my memory and my heart many years later.

 How many of us, including me, would leave the comfort of our own home to help a drunken, smelly man get safely to his home?

 This was a view of my husband about which I wasn’t aware.  Yes, he was kind, gentle and caring.  The scene I watched was more than that.

 The experience changed me.  Maybe it has changed you.

 At this stage of life it has become clear to me, we all need to be rescued.

Our Friend is on His way.

————–

 In later years, as we discussed the incident, facts revealed themselves about the man who was rescued.

 He was a veteran from World War 2.

 As years have passed, we’ve become aware of the experiences our soldiers endured during that time of war. 

They were too  horrible to remember.

 We now call it PTSD.

 It has been found, for some of the veterans, it is easier to drink away the memories than to relive them in their minds.

 In our village, there were three World War 2 veterans who spent their days at the same local bar.  The world called them drunks. Should we call them heroes?

 How do you feel about it?

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

NEVER FORGET THAT DAY-September 11, 2001..

A large plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York City
 and completely disappeared. 

 

A DAY TO REMEMBER

           I wanted to feel the comfort of shared grief.
 “The quilters were a blessing to me.”

Let me explain…

Standing before the television,
 getting my last look at the news
 before beginning the day,
 I couldn’t comprehend the scene before me.

A large plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York City
 and completely disappeared. 
 Smoke and flames were billowing out
 at a point six stories from the top of the building.
 The remnants of the plane had not appeared on the other side.
 It didn’t make sense.

I knew I wasn’t watching a video or a re-run.
 How could this have happened?

I called to my husband who was working outside. 
“Come in here and look at this.”

As we stood together before the television,
 another large plane appeared 
and flew into the second tower, 
not emerging on the other side,
 causing an explosion of smoke and fire.

As the day progressed,
 a tower collapsed and disintegrated into the ground 
sending unbelievable amounts of soot and smoke 
racing through the narrow streets.

Hundreds were running away 
in an effort to escape the terrible scene.

 An event, which I have never viewed,
 although I know it was captured by cameras,
 shows thousands of people
 jumping from the fire in the buildings 
to their deaths on the ground.
  I cannot bring myself to look at it.

 

It was reported that 400 police officers and fire fighters 
were killed
 while attempting to rescue as many as possible
 from the blazing buildings.
 These brave men led many to safety.
 They are heroes. 
This is America.
 Tragedies such as this don’t happen here.

As the day wore on,
 I couldn’t draw away from the sight
of the events before me.

 I felt fear and a heavy sadness
 for what was happening in New York.
 How could anyone
 living in the United States of America
 believe this could be possible?

Thousands of people had gone to work that morning,
  never to return to their loved ones. 
How do we accept such an event
 except through fear, confusion and sadness.

 

Later, as the hours passed,
 a report was given that a passenger plane was down. 
Flight 93, had crashed and disintegrated 
in a field in Pennsylvania. 
Forty unbelievably brave passengers attempted to take over the plane. 
 All were killed as they tried to retrieve control from the terrorists.

 

We remember them as heroes.

 

A report was given about a fourth plane
 with 184 passengers aboard 
which had flown into the Pentagon.
 Many were killed.
 The scenes before me could not be denied.
 It was reported Fight 93 had been destined
 to destroy the White House.
 Because of the actions of the passengers
 the plane had crashed 
into an empty field.

 

That night
 our church, 
which will hold 300 people,
 held a prayer meeting. 
Every available place was filled.

 This was the beginning of a new awareness.
 There are people who hate us because we exist.
 They hate us so much, 
 they willingly die
 in order to kill as many of us in this country 
as possible.

 

I felt a strong need to reach out to people far away,
 wanting to feel the comfort of shared grief. 
How could that be accomplished?

My recently developed  hobby of quilting 
had led me to discover
  a program on the Internet 
designed for exchanging quilt materials.

 Choose a listed name and address,
  send twenty-four two-inch pieces of material 
in a variety of colors.

They would be sown into a quilt. 
I should send my material to them
 and they in turn 
would send theirs to me. 
 Along with the material,
 the guidelines suggested also sending
 a little note about myself,
 where I lived 
and briefly about my life.

 

I received exchanges from every state in the union
 including one from Israel.
 Eventually there were enough squares
 to make a full sized quilt,
 covering both sides with the material received.

Opening each package
 I felt warmly connected to these women
 I would never meet. 
 I felt strengthened
 knowing that their hands
 had prepared the material, 
which I now held in my hands. 
 The quilters were a blessing to me.

 

Each message I received now resides in a folder, for remembering friends unknown.

 

I was sixty-six years of age.
 My life
and thousands of others,
could never be the same. 

 We must not let the evil existing in the world 
change us as persons 
or as citizens 
of the United States of America. 

The events of September 11, 2001 
have been burned into the minds
 of those of us who witnessed it.

 

To many of our youth,
 September 11, 2001,
 is only a piece of history.
 It may be likened to the story of the First World War, 
Viet Nam, or the Korean War.
 The difference is
 this happened in the United States of America
 in the twenty-first century. 
It didn’t happen 
under the leadership of George Washington
 or Abraham Lincoln. 
 It didn’t happen 
when Theodore Roosevelt or Harry Truman 
held the office of president.
 It happened 
under the administration 
of the forty-third president of the United States of America,
 George W. Bush. 

To President Bush, 
in office for less than one year,
 fell the responsibility of dealing with a people who hate us.
 These are people 
who consider our very existence
 to be an affront to their god.
 It fell to our president
 to comfort
 many who were frightened and grief stricken.

This isn’t the world in which I grew to adulthood.
 Could I have imagined
 a foreign nation taking the lives of 3000 people
 on a fair September morning in New York city?
 Would I have believed 
I would be a witness 
while standing before a television in my home
 as it was happening? 

 The answer is no.

We must NEVER FORGET September 11, 2001.

 

 The memories remain vivid 
on September 11, 2018.
 Sadness comes quickly.
I WILL NOT FORGET.

copyright©2018

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN

The county fire trucks were blowing their sirens
as they slowly drove along the parade route.
The driver in each truck waved happily to the crowds
as they passed by.

 MEMORIAL DAY

2015

MEMORIAL DAY in our town is a special occasion.

Standing beside the highway

we awaited the moment when the parade would come into view.

 It’s an exciting time for folks, young and old,

to celebrate the lives and service which many have given

for our country.

We could hear the high school band playing

several blocks away

as they announced their arrival.

We heard the foot tapping music of the parade,

God Bless America

and I’m Proud To Be An American.

 The county fire trucks were blowing their sirens

as they slowly drove along the parade route.

The driver in each truck waved happily to the crowds

as they passed by.

People dressed in clown suits walked on either side of the highway,

giving candy to the children

who were enjoying the fun.

Each and every road leading to the main highway

was blocked off by law enforcement

until the parade had passed.

This year, the highway near the library

was our place to watch the parade.

Next to us, a young Mother and her two little girls

waited excitedly for the moment when the American flag and the high school band 

would pass directly in front of them.

little girls watching clydes coming

I could hear the young woman softly advising her daughters

to stand on the curb until the parade was in view.

She told them,

“When the American flag passes by,

stand quietly with your right hand over your heart,

face the flag until it has passed.”

(And she showed them, which hand was the right hand,

and where one’s heart is located.)

She didn’t know I was listening, but I’m pleased that I was.

Through the years,

and especially the last few years,

I’ve found that certain moments can bring me to tears.

This was one of those moments.

I’m sad that we may have forgotten the need

to teach our young children

respect for other people,

our country’s flag, traditions and beliefs.

We’ve somehow overlooked the responsibility of passing these legacies

to the children of future generations.

The quiet young Mother and her little girls left a lasting impression on me.

MEMORIAL DAY

God Bless The USA

copyright©2017

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com