Celebrate Life

Date Submitted: 09/05/2002
Author Info: Cynthia (Palm Harbor, FL - USA) 
Occupation: Education/Training
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

I was born on 9/11/45, shortly after WWII ended. Nothing of huge importance seemed to have occurred on my birth date – something that nagged at me through the next 56 years. (Be careful what you wish for.)

On 9/11/01 I was at work in St. Petersburg Florida, trying to ignore my increased age when I heard someone say a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. I imagined a small plane, a Cessna, perhaps flown by an errant pilot. A moment later I heard the second plane had hit. I knew immediately that this was an intentional terrorist attack. I sat in horror with the rest of the world as the terrible events unfolded.

I have always loved my flag and have flown it proudly – especially during trying times.

It means much more to me now. Along with the deeply ingrained love of my country and my flag there is now a strong sense of defiance for those who would attempt to disrupt our freedom and our democracy. Don’t even try it.

I wrote the following poem for Aunt, a nephew, and myself and anyone else who shares their birthdays with us on 9/11:

Conversations with God and Publix
(For Patrick, Sr. Marcy and me)

Part I. Conversation with God
Please, Sir, may I change my date of birth?
No, not the years
I’ve earned them – every one – for what it’s worth
Just the date
Formerly inconspicuous, unobtrusive
Typed anonymously into the 254th square of my DayMinder ® calendar.
No war began or ended on that day
No Magna Charta signed
No pilgrim landed
No mention in the dusty tomes of history
Just the beginnings of three familial lives
Brought forth in consecutive generations
By couples seeking warmth and love on a December’s night
But now
It doesn’t seem right to celebrate a day
When towers burned like candles on a cake
And sacred ashes frosted the streets and
Seared the lungs and disbelieving eyes
Of those who prayed
That they could make a wish
And blow out those candles
And stop the fall of metal, glass and flesh
That wrapped those unexpected gifts to God
I understand
I know You must not undo what has been done
And anyway
To change a date
Is not the healing answer to the question
Instead we will stand strong and resilient
(The common American denominators)
And celebrate life
On a day so tragically marred by senseless destruction

Part II. Conversation with Publix:
“What colors shall I frost this cake for you?”
“Please, Sir, make it red and white and blue”.

© Cynthia Ann Conciatu, 2002


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