Remembering 20 years ago this week

Jim Blasingame

This article was first published in The Small Business Advocate NEWSLETTER, Volume II, Issue 45, September 17, 2001, the first edition following the terrorist attacks of 9-11.

The NEWSLETTER is different this week from past editions. This week is different from past weeks. 

For days now, I've wanted to talk with you. I considered a mid-week edition. Uncharacteristically, I just couldn't get the words down. 

Only once before did my normal prosaic method fail me. Not being a poet – not wishing to be a poet – at first I didn't understand that my thoughts would only come out in verse. But the return key proved stronger than the word wrap. At last I gave in to the meter, and a poem was born.

This week, again, the prose came with difficulty. But this time I recognized the pull of the return key and another poem was written with less struggle.

I have no small business thoughts for you this week. Nor do I claim to have inspiration for you. I don't feel inspired. I feel numb. I feel angry. I feel frustrated. I can only tell you about my feelings. Perhaps you will recognize them. 

I Just Keep Shaking My Head

©September 15, 2001

The images are burned into my brain:
The impacts, the fires, the destruction.
I want to wake up from this nightmare.

I just keep shaking my head.

Who could do this?
Why would anyone do this?
How could any human being do this? 

I just keep shaking my head.

Four airplanes gone.
So many buildings destroyed.
One rural meadow scarred.

I just keep shaking my head.

Hundreds – no – thousands of innocent lives taken.
Thousands – no – tens of thousands of families grieving.
Millions – no – billions of civilized humans disbelieving.

I just keep shaking my head.

So much love denied.
So many friendships abbreviated.
So many spirits lost to another dimension.

I just keep shaking my head.

Years of productivity gone.
A world of promise stolen.
A wealth of contribution eliminated.

I just keep shaking my head.

Survivors' faces in pain and anguish.
Loved-ones' hearts broken.
The toll – incalculable.

I just keep shaking my head.

A few evil people.
Thousands of innocent victims.
Why is evil easier to leverage than good?

I just keep shaking my head.

The irony is palpable:
Evildoers with blood on their hands.
Courageous recovery workers with blood on their hands.

I just keep shaking my head.

Why is there despair simultaneous with hope?
How could there be loathing concurrent with admiration?
How can this be?

I just keep shaking my head.

At last I witness hopefulness in unity.
I see selflessness and courage.
Now we unite behind a purpose.

I begin raising my head.

Here there is love being shown.
There we see hope springing forth.
Yonder there are demonstrations of leadership.

I raise my head further.

America is strong – Americans have strong spirits.
We summon the resolve for which we are known.
We demonstrate the courage with which we have been blessed.

I hold my head high.

I have faith in myself.
I have confidence in our people.
We have been here before.

God be with us.

God bless America

Jim Blasingame is the author of The 3rd Ingredient, the Journey of Analog Ethics into the World of Digital Fear and Greed.

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