Before September 11, 2001; the numbers 9-1-1 (nine-one-one) were familiar to all as a means of calling for help and assistance in an emergency situation. Whether the emergency was of a medical, fire or police nature, a child could easily dial it when dire circumstances were at hand. Their has been numerous cases where a child acted responsibly and used this means to call for help and in effect, saved someone's life.
But, now those numbers (nine-one-one) remind us of something else; the event that stopped the whole world in its tracks. Though written and verbalized somewhat differently 9-11 (nine-eleven), the numerals representing both are the same. That day, 9-11, the 911 call went out frantically simultaneously from literally hundreds of people.
That day, nine-eleven, marked both a beginning and an end:
As a beginning, that day caused… 1) Many to rethink, consider and appreciate our great country; 2) As a nation, a new awareness of life, and how fragile it is, and how quickly it can be snuffed out; 3) A fostering of a new respect for those who serve in the capacity of firemen, policemen, and clergy; 4) A renewed and poignant realization that hatred is cruel and deadly; 5) An awareness of how quickly circumstances can change; 6) Understand that in the midst of death and destruction, hero's are born; and 7) Acknowledge our love to those we hold dearest.
As an ending, that day caused… 1) The termination of innocent lives; 2) A cessation of livelihood; 3) Numerous people to suffer debilitating handicaps; 4) As a result of, new security restrictions and regulations have effected, a degree of freedom loss; 5) Children to lose one or two parents; 6) The demolition of two great towers; and 7) The end of at least one corporation.
Effects of that fateful day are yet being recognized. Not all are bad. It should gall those whose allegiance were aligned with those who perpetrated the events of that day; that as a whole, and in spite of great loss--we are a stronger people and nation, for the moment. We have met danger, loss and death; instead of it deterring us--it has fueled the fires of patriotism and courage.
On the other hand, since that day, some have chosen to make public their lack of conviction in regards to patriotism. Some now chose not to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. Just what does allegiance mean? According to the Thesaurus, synonyms of allegiance are: faithfulness, loyalty, devotion, fidelity, constancy, duty, obligation and fealty.
A person who chooses the vocation as a minister does so because he feels a calling and an allegiance to God and/or man. The same attributes inspire others to numerous other vocations, such as; teaching, healthcare, law enforcement, the sciences, etc.
The same should apply to politicians. One who runs for office does so on the premises that they are promising or obligating themselves to faithfully, loyally, devotedly, and consistently represent their constituents. If one does not and cannot exhibit those attributes, should out of honesty if nothing else, resign the office they hold. If one cannot pledge allegiance to the country which hands them their freedom on a silver platter, then how in the world can they represent the people they have been elected to serve? Who is it they are really serving? Perhaps it is their ego getting the most benefit of their position.
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Yeah! School has resumed! Although parents love their children dearly, it is at this time of year many or most are breathing a sigh of relief. Finally, life will once again settle down into a ritual of normality. Summer is fun and greatly looked forward to, but also is the ending of summer when schools start the new school year. On the other hand, school-age children with the exception of those darling kindergarten kids who think that school is "big kid stuff," are groaning in dismay.
This writer recalls the first day of school, second grade, East Morris Elementary School in Dalton. Back then, kindergarten was not prevalent or mandatory, so by the time second grade came around, the glories of "big kid stuff" had paled considerably. Even new shoes (saddle oxfords) and new clothes (no restrictive uniforms back then) did little to rally ones enthusiasm. Classroom floors were clean, shiny, and scuff-free, but my spirit was aghast with apprehension and dismay. The hallways were long and even though well lit, foreboding. There was a distinct smell of paste (not glue or mucilage) in the air. Even today, if I see school paste in a store, I have been known to open it just to refresh my memory of that smell and of days gone by. Then I am beset with a mixture of "glad that's behind me" and "oh, to relive those days again." Do you remember how crayons smelled? I do.
My teacher was so OLD. Not really, but at the time, being a second grader, I thought so. In truth, she was probably in her twenties or early thirties at the most. She did something EVERYDAY that I remember today and still wonder about it. After lunch, she would reapply her bright red lipstick. She would take out her compact, look herself over, and then begin to apply her lipstick. She was meticulous in applying it. Then she folded a Kleenex in half and clamped her lips on the tissue blotting her lipstick. Lastly, she applied another coat of lipstick which she did not blot. This she did everyday without fail.
The Principal stopped by the classroom everyday to greet us. She came at other times too, mostly to convey a message to teacher. (We did not have intercoms back then.) She did not come-across as a looming or detached authority figure that we only heard, but had a kind face and genuinely warm smile; and a somewhat "grandmotherly" way about her. We did not fear her, although we respected her as someone of importance and one found he or she wanting to please her and attain her approval.
The whole atmosphere of going to school was a positive one; it was a dressing room for adulthood. One went to school, learned the basics (the three R's), how to co-exist with ones peers and have a healthy respect for authority.
Gracious, how times have changed! One could write a volume on the ills and the problems kids, parents and faculty face today. The true focus of school has somehow got lost in a mirage of budgeting, state regulations, social ills, undisciplined energy, lack of direction and goals, bickering, politics, overcrowding and a drastically and dramatically changing society. It is a tremendous and overwhelming chore for those professionals to even make a start, then there is always someone around to say, "We cannot do that…."
I am glad to see that a certain principal and school board members have come to terms with their disagreements. It is not a good thing for students to see and know that adults are contentious with one another. After all, should not we work together as a team--all pulling the same direction--educating our children. Name-calling and threats are tactics one see on the playground amongst children. Growing up, we use to say, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words fail to hurt me." That is not always true in the adult-world, words can be very harmful, to the speaker as well as the one spoken of. Caution is a measure of wisdom seasoned with humility. However, my hat is off to all parties involved in your prudence. I just hope the solution was an equitable one and not one of constraint. Call me suspicious, but I fear the latter is more the case.
Thought for the day: "If we lose our freedom, whose fault is it?"