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    Monday, September 11, 2006

    One September Morning

    On this day 5 years ago a horrible thing happened and many innocent people were killed. I suspect you have the gist of what I'm talking about here. I, like many others were emotionally devastated once I discovered the extent of the human toll.

    As I'm pretty sure this will end up being the "do you remember where you were when you'd heard the president had been shot" of this generation, so let me explain to you how I found out and how I dealt with it;

    I was staying at a friend's apartment for a while and it was bug spray day. The bug man woke me up knocking on the door and we let him in. As he walked around the house he said the normal types of things for an exterminator such as "don't let the cat near it until it dries". As he was leaving out the door, he turns back to say one last thing; "Somebody bombed the pentagon.". Of course, having just woke up I had little control over my regularly in place mental propriety filters, so I started laughing. I thought someone has gotten sick of the government, hauled off and bombed something of importance. I was giddy with the idea that someone finally stopped being afraid of "the man" for long enough to really speak their mind in a way that couldn't be ignored. The bug man said "I'm not kidding". Wiping tears of glee from my eyes, I said "I know!" and continued the chuckle, having managed to stifle a small bit.

    Then I turned on the TV and stopped laughing. CNN had it there in full color. The WTC had been hit by a plane and had fallen. Thousands were dead or dying. It was a catastrophe. With the rest of the world I felt sadness, anger, betrayal, and helplessness. I spent the next few days videotaping the news constantly, only sleeping after changing to a new blank tape, and waking up to change to a new one.

    Like hundreds of thousands of other people, I wondered what I could do to help. I am only a face painter. What good is a face painter in a disaster zone? Then, after a couple of days I heard that the entire US was running out of flags, and I knew how I could help, without even leaving town.

    I drove down to a busy street, set up my table in someone's parking lot, painted some signs, and waited. It didn't take long for the first vehicle to pull in wanting a flag.

    For about two weeks I stayed and painted on cars, vans, and trucks. Friends volunteered to help, and even some people who had come to have work done grabbed a brush and started painting. It was like therapy to us all. Ladybug stopped by several times while I was there.

    A few days later, the news got wind of what I was doing and came out to film and photograph. FOX27, KY3, and KOLR10 came out to film, and the news leader did a mini-interview. I was a bit upset watching what the TV channels showed, as they (at most) said that people were taking matters into their own hands, but not where or when, so I couldn't do more with what talents I had to share. It was upsetting to not be able to do more, but I think everyone said that then.

    The Springfield News Leader printed the article below (the full thing, not just this snippet of it) on the front page mentioning what I was doing (with color picture of me painting a car) while reporting on the flag shortage. I guess somebody painting flags on cars for free was a real surprise to the entire community.

    "Retailers scramble to get Old Glory in stock
    September 16, 2001
    Nationwide, Wal-Mart is sold out innovators paint likeness on car windows.
    By Tom Bray and Angela Wilson News-Leader
    Flying the flag came naturally to many Ozarkers in the aftermath of Tuesday's terror attacks. But finding the flag proved tougher. Retailers around the region were besieged by flag-seekers this week, hoping to display their patriotism and support of attack victims by displaying Old Glory."

    I kept going out there every day, happily serving my community, until people stopped coming to get work done.

    When it was finally over, I took myself home and started learning about what had really happened. There were a LOT of questions out there, and no answers. Years went by, and memorial videos were put out by the major news outlets. As people watched the news footage over and over again, more of them came forward with questions. People in oil-bearing countries were blamed for the devastation, and we went to war. We killed thousands of innocents, our own soldiers, and civilians of the other lands. We were brutal and unapologetic, and we would not stop.

    So several years later, a bit wider and a bit wiser, we all look back on what happened and ask the same questions; "Who was at fault?", "Why did this happen?", and "How can we stop the hurting?". But now even the mass media cannot deny some of the truths behind 9-11, even if they are using their reporting of side-facts as a shield to save them from having to report the real news.

    60 Minutes: White House Officials Changed EPA Reports after 9/11

    Of course if you have any questions yourself, or want to see what the fuss is really about, I strongly suggest you watch 911 in plane site It is a film that asks questions, but does not presume to give the answers, instead opting to let the viewer make their own decisions. It is made by a Missouri radio journalist, and uses footage that was aired on national television to illustrate the questions in a clear and easy to understand manner. It is a serious must see.

    Let's not forget those who passed. Let us mourn their passing and give sympathy to those who lost loved ones, as well as those who continue to do so in this horrible war. No matter who (or what) the perpetrator of these unspeakable acts were, those innocents who lost their lives are still gone from this world, and no amount of blaming, fighting, or compensation will ever bring them back.

    That said, let's stop the killing.

    Support our troops, bring them home alive.

    (Painting photos are of some of the more imaginative designs people came up with for us to paint on their vehicles.)

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    [1428 E Sunshine St Springfield, MO 65804]


    Anonymous said...

    That is really cool :)

    All i did on was get pissed off that gas was $2/gallon. Now that's CHEAP. Remember that? People totally lost their minds; i was in highschool, and parents were signing their kids out early so they could buy gas, fearing the stations would run out. Some probably did.

    Whimspiration said...

    Several people have said they were upset about my first response to the news of 9-11. However, upon reading the entirety of the post, one realizes that I am ashamed of having laughed.

    While I know a good many people (including myself) are apalled at the use of violence for any reason besides protecting oneself or one's family in a dire situation, I am not such an optimist with regards to the behavior of others.

    Since I was 14, I have been waiting for the next civil war. Not looking forward to it, mind you, rather, simply knowing that it was on it's way. I thought the time had finally come when I heard the news.

    Lastly, I would like to remind folks that laughter and glee are not always signs of pleasure. Sometimes laughter is caused by nervousness, discomfort, or panic. Like thousands of others that morning, I thought that the end had begun, and I was not prepared.

    Anonymous said...

    Beautiful read, thanks for sharing!!

    Bruce said...

    Hey, I got that you were ashamed the first time round ;)

    Have linked to you BTW. Good stuff.