ANGELS CAME IN A SONG

It was the perfect message in a time of sadness.

The gymnasium was filled to capacity when we arrived. Two large blocks of chairs, with an aisle between, faced the lonely casket.

Chairs were filled with friends and family. It seemed best, for us, to sit in the bleachers.

Row upon row of floral arrangements had been placed on tiered shelving, occupying an area the length of the gym. Local florists had been asked to stop delivering orders since there was no more space for display.

Moments before the appointed hour of the service, a group of young men began to arrive. Neatly groomed in white shirts and jeans, carrying their hats, the young rodeo men quietly took their seats near the back of the congregation.

His name and date of birth were printed on the program. Nineteen short years on earth and today we were mourning his passing.

Riding chaps lay draped over the casket. A large painting of the deceased was placed at the side.

Travis was a rodeo man.

On his way to Alabama to compete in his specialties of Team Roping and Saddle Bronc riding, he was tragically killed while driving through the state of Kentucky.

Tired and excited about the next event, he asked his friend to drive while he rested his head against the back of the seat. As he slept they came upon an 18-wheeler parked on the side of the road. Too late to react, their truck veered off the road and lodged underneath the semi.

The friend survived the crash. Travis did not.

I am usually in control of my emotions at funerals. My husband and grandson were attending this sad occasion with me. Our grandson was, at that time, a bull rider in the rodeo circuit. Knowing the potential for injury and death, our love and concern for him and for these young men was strong.

For them, the excitement and the challenge outweigh the potential danger.

I was determined to control my emotions.

Near the end of the service, the Dad and Mom of the young man quietly approached the casket. A song I’d never heard before, was played through the sound system.

It was the perfect message in a time of sadness. There are angels among us. I hope you take the time to listen to this song.

Angels Among Us by Alabama

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Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

SEPTEMBER 11TH… TIME PASSES QUICKLY..

2019

ANOTHER SAD ANNIVERSARY OF REMEMBERING….

Programs on television.. re-runs of  videos…towers in smoke and flames..people standing in disbelief, not knowing what to think about what they were seeing or what to do at the moment…

Stand?  Run?  Where should I go? Is it real? What is happening?

Devastation.

It seems like only yesterday. Has it really been 18 years?

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It all comes back to me.

REMEMBER how you feel when a loved one dies?  Emptiness, hurt, sadness…Those feelings didn’t go away in the days to follow.  Feelings of despair remained.

I remember one night shortly after September 11th,  I had gone for a ride in my car.  I was alone and darkness had fallen earlier.  My husband was at work at his business and I wanted some time to be with my feelings of loss.  I couldn’t get rid of them it seemed.

The radio was on in the car.

 A song began by Alan Jackson, country singer.

“WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE WORLD STOPPED TURNING?”

…Did you go to your church?  I did, as did many others .  I don’t really  remember all the lyrics to that song, but I still remember how they spoke to me at the time.

I was driving down a lonely road in the darkness of the night and the song comforted me.

 God bless Alan Jackson for writing and recording it. Through it, he touched everyone who heard it then, and now.

copyright©2018

(“Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?)

 

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

 

PEARL HARBOR

Tenth Grade English Composition
 1951

Mary Anne Whitchurch

December 7, 1941

 On a cold, grey morning

when the fog had yet to rise;

The seagulls made a flutter
 like a bird of paradise.

The waves were as a rose vine
 coils in an arbor,

Thus began the day
  Japanese bombed PEARL HARBOR.

The sun had yet to rise that day, 
December seven.

Dawn had just receded 
to another day in heaven,

When from the sky a frightful noise
 came booming from the guns.

Now in the place of clouds and sky
 had come 
The Rising Sun.

Their guns were all ablaze.
From the air there came a shrieking of bullets whizzing by to find their targets,
 quickly streaking.

The planes upon the ground 
were shattered as they stood.

For the men to take their stations,
would of course, have done no good.

The people who had lived at PEARL HARBOR
 were not spared.

Families of the fighting men 
were sadly not prepared.

A couple that had risen right at dawn
 to walk for pleasure

Were shattered,

killed by bullets 
which were made for such a measure.

A moment quickly passed.
  The air was filled with death.

Looking toward the morning sky, 
only clouds were left.

The sun had risen in the east; 
its bright light showed a flood

of red, red streaks 
upon the ground,
 now sadly stained
 with blood.

The stillness in the morning air 
seemed empty, 
dark and chilling.

A group of planes had quickly come. 
 Their one intent was killing.

The second world war began.
 With it came the strife

for families

of the men 
whose fate it was 
to lose their life.

PEARL HARBOR was the turning point 
in nineteen forty-one.

It was to bring a mask of death 
for five long years to come.

The seventh day of every month 
we pause 
and should remember…

The Japanese bombed PEARL HARBOR
on the seventh of December.

* * * * * *

I’ve often wondered at the intensity of thought
 of a 16 year old girl, (that was me),
 considering the awful event of PEARL HARBOR.

This was written in 1951.
 The event had happened only ten years earlier.
 Although it seems to us in 2018 
as only a point in history, 
it was very real to a teen-ager 
in those days.

The war had been over for 6 years at that time.
 It remained fresh in the minds of our people.

The men and women who served in the war, 
some  of whom are still with us today,
 can never erase the images 
of  horrors they witnessed
 during their time of service to our country.

December 7th is a date to remember.

If we cannot remember what happened on that date,
investigate the history books.

It must never happen again.

***

copyright©2018

Photography by Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

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