It wore a crown of azure as in postcards or dreams of perfect days. A day for long lover’s lane walks, picnics or journeys, ideal and blessed.
Fathers awoke. Kissed their wives good morning. Shaved, tied ties and kissed goodbyes to little ones eating soggy sweets from bowls of milk alongside colorful boxes adorned with cheery, morning playmates.
Moms hurried them along as they prepared lunches for a day filled with hope, learning, fun and the excitement of meeting new schoolmates on field trips to the big city.
As daddies pulled out of driveways and school buses arrived on sunny street corners, the cities of the Atlantic awoke to a crisp, clear day in the life of you and I
Rush hours began. Busy hubs of activity commenced with travelers boarding for skyways anticipating longed for destinations.
Some to see an important business client to show appreciation for loyal patronage over the years, many, however, were looking forward to visits with loved ones in distant locales or perhaps families with little ones excited to reunite once again in the arms of home.
Morning scurried about. Policemen in the streets blew their whistles and helped everyone along with colorful gyrations that instructed and entertained.
Elsewhere people rushed off the street into neighborhood delis or coffee shops for a morning brunch or coffee to quench away a cloud or two behind still sleepy eyes. Another welcomed opportunity to elbow up with those alongside in life as it prepared for another day of the sojourn in which we’re all guests.
Those on a normal workday welcomed dazzled schoolchildren on tours or spending a day with mom or dad at work in silver spires that provide livings for men and women. Exchanging beaming smiles only eclipsed by that brilliant orb shining down on us all on that most beautiful of days.
Skilled tradesmen in crafts concerning structures and their environments went about resolving problems or installing improvements for the comfort or aesthetic enjoyment of those who’s days are spent there.
Seemingly held aloft by the wind itself, ones who ensure all is clean and shines smiled invites to those settled within to enjoy the bright, clear waves flooding in though translucent walls glistening from their squeaky swipes.
As on any average day, there were sightseers intermingling with residents and workers all partaking of the many activities and occupations that comprise this most dynamic of cities.
From windows above you could see the streams of humanity flow like bubbles in the surface foam of a brook hurrying over a forest floor.
It is on days such as these that a wink of an eye blinks and fates are known.
Children on flights for field trips or visits, international businessmen on the phone with clients, fathers working in the hallways of commerce and industry stealing a moment to call a loved one with reminders of love, perhaps a newly wed just back from honeymoon calling his new bride or a mature gentlemen reminiscing with the love of his life on the eve of a silver anniversary. A multigenerational, multinational cast, all unaware of the unwitting part they would play in an imposed drama for which they had no rehearsal.
Suddenly, eyes looked up to the brilliant blue which only moments ago beckoned them out to enjoy the Lord’s beauty and traced a dark malevolent shark’s manufactured fins slicing that blue waveless sea, hungry with animosity, unrealized by those in its wake or course. Pawns in the presumed path to vainglory caught in the throes of manipulated ignorance. Slaves of arrogant will to power guised in robes of righteousness hurtling headlong towards the very brink of interrupted destinies.
As if in slow motion, fear vied for center stage in a liar’s play to tell the story of a nation.
At this moment many miles away, sojourners, hearing of their bothers and sisters fate, called goodbyes to loved ones and readied to fly home but not to one of brick and mortar. On this day bravery spoke to ears of the ordinary. Revealing them for what they truly were, extraordinary. Who stepped up selflessly and shouted with their very lives “This will not happen on my watch!”
Everyday fathers, grandmothers, college students with promising tomorrows. Caucasian, African, Asian decent. On this day, Americans all, one in purpose, men, women and youth of the 93, united. Determined that fear was an insolent invader to be summarily vanquished. For those, such as themselves and their families, would suffer if this imposed destination were permitted its will. They dedicated their own for ours and embraced a rural field in Pennsylvania as their holy pilgrimage.
Back in the city, men with somber determination embroidered on their brows, charged into hells fire regardless of outcome for chance at just one soul saved. Though from this time on, they would suffer affliction for their selfless deeds, given the same, all would do the same again without moments hesitation.
Men and women stood horrified as souls, forced to risk their chances in the air, leaped from above for dread of encroaching flame which brought certain death. They overcame the fear of their harrowing flight making it subservient perhaps to the even greater fear of never seeing a daughter’s walk down the isle or a son’s graduation. Those on the ground tried in vain to help. Yet they tried and tried again.
Others felt their way down though black suffocating, poisoned night in claustrophobic stairwells unsure if their world would plummet beneath them at any given moment and their next step be their last. Encouraging each other on, hand in hand, downward to meet the men with determined intent rushing onward and upward towards them.
Out of that azure fell a crushing rain.
Upon them, before them, around them
and after—the silence.
The kind that would keenly recur from the dark cellar of dreams.
It lasted for a hint of eternity until suddenly, hell’s wind rose from the ashes. Men and women of valor rose up wearily to meet it and meet it they did. Swearing an oath by their very actions that, as long as breath was in them, they would never blink to fear but look it straight in the eye and stare it down.
Many untrained in such things had only their humanity to guide them and they followed it unhesitating, unrestrained. Common folk, who on a day such as this, rose above fear, conquered self to shine through the darkness brilliant as suns.
Many told of here, guests of their own sojourn, on this benevolent day, slipped from time and space to mingle with infinity
Our tribute is the least we owe them and our undying witness to the true story of a nation.
Hell’s minions hurled their hate into steel and glass in an attempt to forge a furnace of fear, thinking, what we made is all we are. Then from the ashes of things made, we showed them of what we are made.
Written by Scott Schoffstall
This written on 10th anniversary as tribute.
© August 25, 2011
all rights reserved