Summer of lies and truth
The journey was long as usual but more importantly the event beckoned me to return home and like any other calling I did what was expected. Metro was an odyssey but crowds were patient and helped each other out. Amazingly so Metro didn’t add more trains nor their station personnel showed up to help out of town folks purchase their tickets. That was okay; the rest of us pitched in, thanks Metro. It was a full house at Pentagon City station around 9 AM but again, crowds were polite and somehow we all managed to make the short ride to L’Enfant Plaza then off to the Smithsonian.
In spite of all the controversy and the fears of violence the August 28th rally at the Lincoln Memorial was wonderfully boring. The National Mall, the World War II memorial and every shady spot under or top of a tree; masses joined by hundreds more as they walked from the Metro or other monuments forming the sea of humans we saw that day. I don’t like large crowds but this place helped people in the hundreds of thousands to converge calmly and politely over the course of the day. Many of us were happy to have a comfy spot at the bottom of the hill by the Washington memorial but after walking a good portion of the mall; carefully weaving in and out of tight crowds to hear part of the speeches.
I hate speeches. Most of the event is a blur to me and know I can view the whole thing online. The real experience was to observe so many people come out on that sunny day, many who brought their families and incurred great expenses for travel just to be there, would behave. I am a keen observer of humans. I also wanted to study my own reaction. This rally was more like church to me which is fine; that is one thing this country could use, not religion but closeness to God. Coming out to celebrate honor and service of those who are fallen in the name of those very qualities was the purpose. The crowds were diverse; and no I was not going to document their presence by taking pictures. Being there was their choice. Those who were paid to hold up Obama/Biden signs and staged lame anti-anyone but themselves displays and played recorded speeches by Al Sharpton you looked hungry, scared and way out of your league. You were schooled in the art of civility by so-called right-wing nuts who are said to be violent only in your tiny minds.
For those who know me who dared ask if there were people of other colors at the rally gave me pause; this is precisely the kind of question we should not be asking. In a way that would be bad pride in that we’re focused on making some quota that the presence of such people of their own volition to me, has become shallow. The pictures I took are all the same so I took only a few. Everywhere we looked there would be more and more people. This is Washington DC; it’s like a huge museum filled with history and so many things to do and the occasion was proper for all that to happen. Many of us were just amazed at how many people showed up. It was overwhelming to me I know that much.
Now we have some idiot enjoying his freedom of speech by riling up people everywhere; a nobody in this country can get that much publicity for himself. Imagine trying to do that in other countries. Perhaps a gulag would fix that right up. The thought of a holy book which represents the torturous spectacle of murder and terror taking place at the twin towers that fateful morning pales in comparison to the 9/11 attacks. It was one of those turning points in life when one sees that there’s more than our pathetic little lives; that there is more out there that can harm us. That was the death of innocence. So for this idiot to play games with his koran burning threat only shows how great we area; he’s still entitled to his stupidty. I had waited 2 years to get cleared to attend the NCIS class at the Dept of Justice downtown and I was excited to be in class. Around 9:15 one of our officers walked into the classroom and whispered to another in class. They walked out into the hallway. They came back. He took his seat. The officer came back in a few minutes later and asked him back out. I wasn’t paying attention to class anymore. Next the class was stopped and we were all ordered back to headquarters on 9th street.
Driving in the cage car was hell as all streets downtown were clogged with traffic. I mean, the attacks had just occured and panic had quickly set in as news blasted on radios across the city. I noticed there was a short cut on 7th street and told the officer driving to punch it and cut across traffic. That was a lucky shot. Secret Service had been rumored to have moved Cheney near by and most of us watched the sky like idiots waiting for something to come from the sky. There were power struggles. I yelled at drivers trying to make third lanes where there were only two. There are only 3 ways out of downtown and they’re all clogged. Then later on in the HQ lounge everyone huddled in the big room and watched people leaping to their deaths from the twin towers. I stood in the doorway. I had just argued with one of the sergeants that me and the other guys had been on duty since 0600 for class and had gone over our hours. He wanted us to go back to nights. I was pissed. Then the people were leaping, the man and woman seemed to be holding hands on their way down to their deaths.
They made the choice; the last choice they had as Americans.
Eventually driving home I had to take some different routes through Arlington which was teeming with check points. I flashed my badge. The guys waved me through. I wanted to go see some of my former colleagues at the Pentagon. It was dark, the air smelled of death and smoke and the big building I once knew so well had a gaping hole in it. A good section of it used to be Navy I thought. The helo pad. Everyone I knew was okay some hurt during the rescue. It was tense. Going on patrol was no fun. Daily people would slow so much on the road they were like zombies. It was as though the world had been shut down; souls had vanished. People working the Red Cross at the Pentagon when I visited less than two weeks later were talking of reliquishing everything just to make it all go away. Well guess what Virginia; justice is gone I said. Careful what you wish for. Here we are. Nine years? This is my first 9/11 anniversary, if that’s even a proper term for this day, since I left home.
I went to the 9/12 rally this weekend. There was the 8/28 rally weekend before last. We’re a good people and principled people but anger is easy and feels good when remembering the lies of summers past. The big lie here is represented by the opposition’s zeal in painting true patriotism into something is not and that those of us who take to the streets to show our collective displeasure with mounting tyrannical rule are painted as violent savages by leftist violent savages. We couldn’t be more civilized if we tried but there’s a limit to everything. There will be divisions even amongst the good people. There will be pecking orders being exercised in the name of patriotism; and at some point we’ll have to plug our noses look over shoulders one more time and take the plunge. The truth eludes me still but after seeing the acts of civility on our side of the great argument – whether government has become too large and too insatiable to be trusted even on small things – Americans will continue to show their character. That is the truth.
Naturally the media will give soft coverage of this non-event and pass it up as it does each time but no matter. There was a good feeling about today that I was not expecting; the November election will be crucial but not final in dealing with our troubles. I’ve said this many times, liberty is a full-time job and soon after we get our people elected we click our heels and go back to doing what we do. You know better than this America. You can’t let the hired help make its home in your place and tell you how to run it. Just don’t drive to the store for milk when strangers are in your house. Don’t be angry your stuff is gone. That’s my take on this weekend but the past nine years, given where I’ve been and what I’ve done and witnessed I have to say big shocking things will happen. That mid-term election is a start and not what worries me but continuity of governance and greater accountability. That does not happen alone. We’d better get past the feel-good stage and start cranking up the heat as our current monarchy grows fat, scared, and utterly addicted to our livelihoods. God bless America; she needs it.