Remembrance Day

The following are excerpts from Almost Like a Day for Peace by Steven Laffoley originally published on Commondreams.org on November 9, 2005. Thought this might be of interest…
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My wife and I arrived in New York just a couple of hours earlier. We came to New York, in part, to enjoy the city. But I’ve returned, in part, to stand at the spot where I had stood in March of 2002, looking for some meaning in Ground Zero – only to find none. Two and a half years later – after two wars, tens of thousands of dead, and tens of thousands of words written trying to make some sense of it – I came to look again, to see if I had missed something then or if some kind of meaning had arrived since. Early the next morning we take the subway south to the financial district, and emerge near Ground Zero. The sky is cloudless and the air cool as I take a deep breath and cross the street to the site.

I stand at the new ten-foot-tall, chain-link fence and look at Ground Zero, now devoid of the blackened debris and the acrid smell of burnt paper and metal. The steel girders, in the shape of a cross, are the only familiar point of reference to March 2002. We walk further along the chain-link barrier, stopping every twenty steps or so to look at large wooden billboards affixed to the fence, each telling a different chapter in the history of the New York skyline and the building of the Twin Towers.

We come across some people having their pictures taken with the site as backdrop. One guy in a red windbreaker and blue ball cap with the words “North Carolina” on it stands by the fence, smiling, his arms raised. His wife – holding out the digital camera in front of her – snaps the family photo.

We walk on. At the corner of the fence, attached at the top, is a makeshift memorial – a large plaque of sorts, dedicated to the “fallen heroes.” I wonder about the choice of the word “heroes.” It wasn’t such a leap from “victims” to “heroes,” I think. How much longer before “heroes” become “martyrs?”

Or has that already happened?

A young man in a suit disrupts my thoughts. He walks by us, talking business, rapidly and loudly, into a small black cell phone. Though he walks along the length of fence overlooking Ground Zero, he never once looks at it.

Two years earlier, American flags were everywhere and patriotism burned white hot. But now New York seems apolitical. In the course of the morning, we’ve seen only a few American flags and no one talks of patriotism – or, for that matter, the election that just took place, or even about the Iraq war.

I look again at the Ground Zero site – busily being primed and prepared for new construction – and it occurs to me that Ground Zero is no longer a physical place. It has become a pure idea, to be bought, or sold, or manipulated. Or put another way, Ground Zero no longer resides in New York City. It exists only in the minds of those who give it meaning.

Later that night, we eat at an Italian restaurant. The crowd is well-dressed, eating dinner before taking in the shows along Broadway. We ask the waiter about the menu and decide on a pasta plate. On the walls around us hang dozens of photos of Italian Americans from the late 1890s to the 1950s.

Sharing a bottle of red wine and a plate of pasta, my wife and I talk about the day – Ground Zero, Chinatown, the Lower East Side, the parade on Fifth Avenue. Save for the parade, and a gaudy display of fifty American Flags outside Rockefeller Center, we saw nothing that spoke of patriotism. I keep thinking about the changes at Ground Zero, and about the passage of time.

When we finish eating, I get up to pay the bill. I cross the center of the room and approach two waiters standing at the register. They are talking about the Veterans’ Day holiday.

“I remember when this was a day to celebrate peace,” says the older waiter to the younger. “It was a day to celebrate the end of World War One.”

“Really?” says the younger waiter.

“Yeah, I can’t remember the name of the day,” said the older waiter as he rings a bill into the register. “But when I was kid – I think it was sometime in the ’50s – the politicians didn’t want a peace day, so they turned it into a celebration of soldiers.”

Perhaps because of the red wine, I feel talkative. So I interject, “It was called Armistice Day.”

“Yeah, that’s it,” said the older waiter, turning in my direction. “It was called Armistice Day, a day for celebrating peace.”

“In Canada,” I tell them, “they call it Remembrance Day.”

“Remembrance Day?” he says. “I like that – Remembrance Day. It’s almost like a day for peace.” He hesitates and then adds, “Right now, we could use a day like that.”

I smile and nod, then hand him my bill. He rings it in, and after I pay, he wishes me well. As we leave the restaurant, and walk to Times Square, I think about what the older waiter said, “Almost like a day for peace.”

And I think: He’s right. We could use a day like that.
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Perhaps we should all take time out of our busy day for our own Rememberance Day for those who have fought for our nation, and those who stand ready to defend our country. Remember especially those who have died, and those they left behind. It does not matter what the cause or circumstances, they deserve our thanks for defending our freedom, our home, our families.

We should also never, ever, forget the victims of September 11. Not as heros, but as our neighbors who perished in a tragedy made worse by deranged terrorists. We must never forget, and never allow this to happen again.

Random Thoughts & Topics

First off, I need to state that I am needing to take a little time off from blogging. Life and an insane work schedule are catching up to me. The result is that I’m starting to shoot from the hip on my responses to comments on this and other blogs. Not a good thing, to say the least, especially if I can’t hold a decent train of thought while I’m typing. I will use this time to put in some decent research on a couple of topics that I believe are important. Hope you will find them as interesting as I do. I do intend on visiting your blogs just to keep up with what your interests are, and commenting if I can do so intelligently.

Now on to a few random topics inspired by the headlines and other places:

Partial Birth Abortion to be reviewed by the Supreme Court: I don’t think there was a single person that followed the Rogers and Alito hearings and didn’t know that there would be a case concerning abortion coming up before the Supreme Court. No matter which side you are on, this will be interesting.

Weapons of Mass destruction not found in Iraq: We know that Iraq had WMDs because he used them on his own people (the Kurds) and in the war with Iran. Any explanations of where they are now have simply not held up to scrutiny. So where are they now?

Where is your tax dollar going? How much is being wasted on unnecessary and ineffective programs & services? Waste is present in both military and social programs, and we all would like to know what is being done to cut it out.

What is your take on the state of America? Your opinion, please!

Does the ACLU represent your opinions? Again, your opinion, please! I think I’ll stop for now…

Andrew Jackson vs. Liberal Democrats

The following is from the DNC:
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When Andrew Jackson (a Democrat) ran for president in 1828, his opponents tried to label him a “jackass” for his populist views and his slogan, “Let the people rule.” Jackson, however, picked up on their name calling and turned it to his own advantage by using the donkey on his campaign posters. During his presidency, the donkey was used to represent Jackson’s stubbornness when he vetoed re-chartering the National Bank. By 1880 the donkey was well established as a mascot for the Democratic party. A cartoon about the Garfield-Hancock campaign in the New York Daily Graphic showed the Democratic candidate mounted on a donkey, leading a procession of crusaders.
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I was watching a History Channel while washing dishes the other night (no cat-calls, now…), and there was a little blurb about Andrew Jackson and the Democratic mascot, the donkey. When comparing Andrew Jackson with the Left-leaning Democrat portrayed by Mike over at America Under Attack posted When the Left Left America Behind, it is really depressing how far the Democrats have fallen (Mike – do I get extra credit for using this post twice?)

Stop to think about it – Andrew Jackson fought many battles for this country, and yet the modern Democrat can’t stand up to do the right thing for the right reason unless there is some sort of political advantage. Gone are the Democrat leaders with fire in their belly for the cause of freedom, only to be replaced with cream-puff flip-flops (I voted for the war before I voted against it!) Instead of a General Jackson, we seem to be stuck with the likes of Non-Compoop Kerry who would run & hide instead of finishing the job and draft-dodging chumps who don’t even want to protect our liberties (you know who I mean!). Even now, I don’t hear anyone making the statement that they thought Al-Gore would be doing a better job than Bush.

The Dems are so far out there, I can’t believe it. They criticize almost every program & proposal that the Republicans put out there, but they do not have a counter-proposal. It is almost as if they want to return to the days of when they were in power.

Well, I hate to break it to them, but 30+ years of them running the Congress has almost put this country in bankruptcy, and has left a bloated shambles of the Social Security, Welfare, Medicare, and Medicaid programs. And then they have the nerve to state that they would like to run a National Healthcare program!! Would you, the interested reader of this blog, think that is wise? I don’t.

A quote attributed to Albert Einstein states, “There is no surer sign of insanity than trying the same thing repeatedly expecting different results.” Having the Dems back in charge and expecting them to change things for the better based on their track record is exactly that – insanity.

I’ve made the statement on a couple of other blogs, and I’ll make the statement here: The Democrat Party of today, by and large, resembles the South end of a Northbound jackass, and I can’t think of a better mascot for the Democrats. Can you?

OK, rant is over. Flame on!

NSA Wiretapping Letter

John Eastman, director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and Professor of Law for the Claremont Institute, has written a letter to Chairman Sensenbrenner of the House Judiciary Committee, about the terrorist surveillance by the National Security Agency: “Under the Constitution, confirmed by two centuries of historical practice and ratified by Supreme Court precedent, the President clearly has the authority to conduct surveillance of enemy communications in time of war and of the communications to and from those he reasonably believes are affiliated with our enemies.” (link

John Eastman, director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and Professor of Law for the Claremont Institute, has written a letter to Chairman Sensenbrenner of the House Judiciary Committee, about the terrorist surveillance by the National Security Agency: “Under the Constitution, confirmed by two centuries of historical practice and ratified by Supreme Court precedent, the President clearly has the authority to conduct surveillance of enemy communications in time of war and of the communications to and from those he reasonably believes are affiliated with our enemies.” (link here)

This letter (with references) reaffirms the Constitutionality of the President’s authority to wiretap the communications of foreign nationals that are of interest to the United States. Further reading into this subject by searching on Google & looking at the law libraries of various universities also support this position. Also, please note that the Constitution of the United States did not have rights to privacy nor does it grant rights to foreign nationals.

The furor of the media is nothing more than a smoke screen to continue the harassment of the Bush administration. For those of us with longer memories than the average person, President Clinton used the same arguements for the use of the NSA’s Echelon program during his administration. May I ask the media – where was your outrage then?

Other Blog Posts to Read

Life, as usual, has a way of getting in the way of posting topics that are of interest. However, there are many other blogs that are taking up the slack! Posts that have caught my eye are:

When the Real Shooting Starts: Beyond the Cartoon War is a post over at Mike’s America which reveals a darker, more sinister view of what is really behind the recent violence over the publication of the infamous Mohammed cartoons. This is a more in-depth view of one of my earlier posts.

America Under Attack has a post titled When The Left Left America Behind. It is a fascinating view of where the Left has come from and where they are headed to. Scary, to say the least.

Whatever Happened Too….? is a look at where we as a nation have come from and what we have become. Hat tip to Patriotic Mom for this link.

The Raving Conservative posted Club Gitmo Oh So Special which reveals the anti-Christian attitude of our “friends” at the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Mark Steyn at the Chicago Sun Times has an interesting view of the media at large over the news presented over the past week. Hat tip to Betsy’s Page for the link.

Last, Views on World Affairs looks at Russia’s “offer” to negotiate the current Iran nuclear problem. Thanks to everyone in advance for your comments here or on the originating blog sites.