Gig Line: Did you watch it again?

Published 2:58 pm Monday, September 16, 2019

September 11th. I can only imagine that on that day this year, you either turned away from the TV or again watched the recounts, ceremonies and testimonies of the survivors of a day we’ll never forget.

It seems that some folks think it’s a horrible thing to watch after the first or second anniversary of the day and events in 2001 that took our breath, flooded our eyes with tears and literally brought us to our knees. Some folks find it too upsetting, too horrific . . . too much to consider the pain and suffering New York residents, first responders, businessmen and women, tourists and travelers and what our entire country went through. But, I find myself watching it each year. Not to observe suffering, of course, but rather to watch it out of respect.

I will never forget that day just like the rest of you and again, every year since 2001, I sit and I watch and I weep. My emotions run the gambit – shock that anyone would plan and actually execute the destruction of thousands of innocent lives just to prove their point; heartache for the loss of life, family members, friends, work associates and all the firemen and first responders who came to the aid of so many; sadness for those dying, running for their lives gasping for air, thirsting for water to rinse their mouth of clouded debris. It had no place in our society for desperate, evil people to hurt, mame and kill others who didn’t deserve it.

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While I watch, I disregard my favorite TV shows focused only on the 9/11 recounts, some of which I had seen before . . . what happened to us on that day is too important to discount, disregard or to set aside. Each life that was affected matters and no matter how many years, the reminders come to us; I will watch. It is history, it is so significant for so many reasons. What makes the reminders so significant is not just the horror, it is the blessings that arose from the ashes . . .

It was that genuine American spirit of strangers helping strangers offering a sip of water, a shoulder to lean on, a hand to hold and prayers for comfort amid tragedy, overwhelming fear and grief. It was the sight that clearly shows how we feel about life and how precious it is in general. It is about courage – unyielding steadfast courage of firefighters, policemen, EMTs and paramedics reaching out, searching distorted areas that were so familiar just moments before – now so foreign to find and help life . . . live.

And when you watch the unimaginable tragedy, you witness the spirt of love, concern, help, prayers, talents, skills, abilities and determination to get up and keep going even if you must crawl.

As for me . . . I love this country and the true undeniable spirit of the love we feel and share with each other. We are NOT perfect. We have our faults, to be sure, but nobody – I said nobody – no matter their scheme, their sick plot to destroy; their heck bent resolve to undermine, hurt or obliviate . . . they will NEVER succeed. We are Americans. We are a people comprised of many nations and we are full of goodness and mercy. That is why so many want to be like us, live among us and enjoy our life as it is and has always been.

On that day years ago, I was at my desk at work in Salvo. I was working on a real estate listing when my friend and associate burst into my office to tell me the news that had just been broadcast over the TV upstairs. My first thought was for our daughter Bonnie who was flying that day. I started to cry just when the phone rang. It was my sweetie pie Billy calling from the RWS Water Plant. He, too, was worried – not panicking, just very concerned about where she was and if I had heard from her. No, I told him, but I would try to reach her as soon as I hung up and I did . . . I tried and tried and tried to get through to no avail. For hours, I redialed her cell phone number as did her Dad. Finally, she was able to get through on a pay phone in an airport. All circuits were busy, phones were in great demand and she was grateful to get one. People were scurrying around the airport she said, people were panicking trying to reach loved ones, reserve hotel rooms since flights were cancelled, grab taxies – it was sheer chaos, but Bonnie was okay. She couldn’t talk but a minute to assure us she and the friend she was traveling with were okay and that she’d call us later once she was able to find alternate lodging, if she was even able.

Unlike so many, our daughter was safe. We could anticipate her joining her son again, holding him and showering him with his mother’s love. We, too, could hug her and thank God she was not on any of the four planes that horrible day.

By the time you read this Gig Line, September 11th will have come and gone again until next year. What I ask you all to do is to consider how strong our nation is now and must remain to be safe, to protect our men, women and children, to protect our homeland, our countryside and our sea to shining sea. As for me, I will forever stand for what’s right, what is absolute, unfaltering and unwavering in a strong or violent wind. We are Americans and we are only as vulnerable as we allow ourselves to be. Please hold that thought for future reference.

Stand strong in your faith and if you don’t have any or very little, call me because I have more than enough to share. In our nation, we need God and the everlasting love that He offers. We also need each other and we need to function as responsible, intelligent people who don’t wimp out or back away from a full commitment to our country and what she stands for . . . “one nation under God.”

As strange as it sounds and even if I don’t know you . . . I truly love you. I ask that you consider what is at stake for all of us – our beautiful United States of America and our freedoms as we know them. Our Ocracoke, Hatteras Island villages and all areas of the Outer Banks and beyond affected by Hurricane Dorian appreciate your prayers and help if you’re able to provide any toward their recovery. God bless those who lost and those who will offer blessings to help them get back on their feet and they will because they are a resilient lot. Outer Bankers are, because that’s just how we roll.

Until next time . . . be happy, be safe and be proud; love on our veterans, they so deserve it. To contact me, please write to or call my cell 252-202-2058. Your thoughts matter. And if you know a veteran who needs a helping hand, please let me know. Stay tuned!