Thursday, September 11, 2008

National Tragedy and Natural Phenomena

It's not what is in this picture but that which is not. Contrails. The time of day this photo was taken the sky is usually full of them. Today, as in the aftermath of 9/11, it is not.

I had planned to write about them being there, as a tribute. I had therapy this morning so I took my camera along thinking if I saw the shot I wanted I'd get it. Nothing. I ran some errands afterwards. Nothing. It was eerie. Mother Nature, in her own way, has done it better.

One other time comes to mind when Mother Nature sent chills down my spine. November 22, 1963. Dad had business in New York City. Mom had gone along for a long week end and I hitched a ride to visit my Pittsburgh Playhouse buddies who had gone to the Big Apple hoping for the big break.

Looking for an attendant at a service station, I found them in the garage glued to the radio. I went back to the car and asked Dad to turn on the news. We sat, stunned, while it sunk in. The President had been shot.

The sky clouded over as we continued on toward the city. The news came that the President had died. The skies grew even darker and finally opened and it poured. I remember thinking how it seemed to be trying to wash the away the horror. We canceled dinner plans as the city shut down. Instead we gathered at my friends' apartment and talked of what could have been and what indeed we had lost. The rain continued.

The entire weekend remained damp and dismal. We as a nation had lost our innocence. That may have been forgotten until September 11, 2001. I think back to that loss of innocence, what we have and have not yet regained and what the future might still be - or not.

Mother Nature, whether in fury, dark and fierce - or blue skied and breezy has her own way of reminding us that there is a greater force than ourselves in charge.

In due respect, we best not forget.


Linda said...

Yes, I remember well that day. I was living in Texas in the Fort Worth-Dallas area. For years I could not believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone because my mind wouldn't let me believe a single depraved man could do such a thing to our nation. Since 9/11 I have accepted that something done by a few can bring our country to its knees. Lee Harvey Oswald is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Ft. Worth very near some of my family. Oh my, those were awful days. CBS journalist Bob Schieffer is a Ft. Worth boy and got his break in the news business when the Ft. Worth Star Telegram sent him to deliever Lee Harvey Oswald's mother to see about her son in custody in Dallas, Texas. She was a real character. It's painful, even today, to look back on those days.

Sylvia K said...

I was just browsing your blog today, some posts I hadn't seen and found this one. I, too, was in Dallas that day, had come into town from Denton where I was back in college and was headed for a dentist appointment. Everyone at the dental college was huddled around radios and when I asked someone what was going on, they told me that Kennedy had been shot. As I've mentioned somewhere along the way, I had met him in CA when he was campaigning. It suddenly felt like a very personal loss. A sad day it was.