AS I SEE IT - 9/09/2002: Remembering 9/11

by: Bob Magee


"Where were you when the world stopped turnin' 
that September day?
Out in the yard with your wife and children;
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Rising against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children
that lost their dear loved ones?
Did you pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
and sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out in pride for the red white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer?
And look at yourself for what really matters...

Where were you when the world stopped turning
That September day?
Teaching a class full of innocent children;
Driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor
in a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her?
Did you dust off that bible at home....

Did you open your eyes hope it never happened;
And close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages;
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow;
Go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers?
Stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?"

Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning), Alan Jackson, 2001 EMI Music/Tri-Angels Music (ASCAP)

It's already a year since one of the most tragic moments in United States history...a year since that bright, clear September morning, a morning like
any other morning when millions of people went to their jobs, went to school, and participated in their everyday activities.

Just another morning.

Suddenly, at 8:46 am, September 11, 2001...without warning... everything changed.

The world watched in disbelief as the twin towers of the World Trade Center....these seemingly invincible symbols of New York City and of American commerce... were in flames.

The world watched as the preeminent symbol of American military strength...The Pentagon, burned.

Hundreds of heroic fire fighters charged into the burning towers of the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon, over 300 never to return.

In a matter of hours... over 3,000 men, women and children in New York City, Washington, DC, and Schwenksville, PA lost their lives to a vicious terrorist attack against the United States and the citizens of the free world... a moment inconceivable to Americans and to the world... a tragedy beyond anything that could be imagined in a country that has not seen war on its shores since December 7, 1941.

It was an immense, traumatic national experience.

There is a painfully unique, but all too correct, way to look at it.

As Rabbi Marc Gelman said at the Sunday, September 23, 2001 memorial service at Yankee Stadium:

"On that day, one person died [thousands of] times. We must understand this and all catastrophes in such a way, for big numbers only numb us to the true measure of mass murder... The real horror of that day was not in its bigness, but in its smallness, in the small searing death of one person [thousands of] times. And that person was not a number but our mother, our father, our grandpa, our grandma..."

Despite all the thousands of cases of horror in household after household and town after town...the people of New York City, of America, and of the world, while still in shock, sorrow, and outrage beyond measure...responded.

While September 11th was America's most tragic moment, the moments following September 11th were very likely the finest moments in American history.

People responded, coming to Ground Zero, literally tearing away rubble with their bare hands. They overwhelmed Red Cross centers to give blood for those precious few who were pulled out from the rubble of the World Trade Center.  They went to every possible police, fire, and EMS station to ask how they could help. They donated hundreds of millions of dollars to 9/11 related charities.

Even the red-headed stepchild of entertainment...professional wrestling... joined the rest of America in pitching in and doing what it could to help.

Wrestling promotions held various events commemorating the events of September 11th, designed to raise funds for its victims, including: Combat Zone Wrestling, Independent Wrestling Federation/New Jersey,Special Events Promotions of North Carolina, IWA Mid-South Championship Wrestling, Liberty All-Star Wrestling, Maryland Championship Wrestling, NWA-Jersey, Virginia Championship Wrestling, Assault Championship Wrestling, Chaotic Wrestling, Premier Wrestling Federation, NWA-New England, Yankee Pro Wrestling, Southcoast Wrestling, Primal Conflict Wrestling, and All American Wrestling Alliance.
 
WWE lent out its WWF/E New York (now known as The World) restaurant/nightclub facility for firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers as a respite site.

The only comparison that one can make to September 11, 2001, is to events such as Pearl Harbor, something I know of only through the fact that my father named me after a cousin of his... who is still buried with the USS Arizona, Robert Thomas Magee.

My generation, and those born after it, has not actually experienced wartime or a moment reminiscent of it on a national scale until September 11, 2001.

While it is true that we experienced the tragedy of Vietnam and thousands of American lives lost; it is a fact that the United States itself has not experienced an attack on its soil since December 7, 1941.

The United States government has begun the process of attacking the Al-Qaeda network and those who support them. The overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was the first step. Other attacks against Al-Qaeda and in defense of the United States and the free world will follow.

But above all on this September 11th, the day will be a day for most of us to remember, whether or not we directly lost a friend, loved one or co-worker. Much along the lines of what I discussed in the last column on Brian Hildebrand, it'll be a time to remember and celebrate life.

One way for wrestling fans and readers in the New York/New Jersey area to do so will be at the Jersey All Pro Wrestling sponsored commemorative show to benefit the Twin Towers Orphan Fund, on Friday night, September 13, 2002, at The Charity Hall in Bayonne, NJ.

The Twin Towers Orphan Fund was established on September 13, 2001 to assist the children who were orphaned (who lost one or both parents) by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. TTOF is not a traditional disaster relief fund similar to those that many Americans contributed to in the days and weeks after 9/11.

It is instead is a long-term higher educational and health care support trust fund with a life span of more than 20 years. Its mission is to provide long-term higher educational assistance and mental and physical health care assistance for children who lost one or both parents in the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, or onboard the four downed airliners.

This September 13th JAPW event will technically be a free admission event; but JAPW asks everyone who attends to make a donation to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund by cash, check or money order. JAPW staff will be collecting donations during the entire course of the event, and will announce the amount raised before the Main Event.

Doors will open at 6:30 pm and seating will be on a first come, first served basis. At 7:35 pm, there will be a ten-bell salute to all of the fallen heroes and victims from 9/11.

For further information regarding this event, please call 1-888-478-0667, or visit the Jersey All Pro Wrestling website at www.japw.net. For more detailed information on the Twin Towers Orphan Fund, or if you prefer to donate directly, please visit their website directly at  www.ttof.org.

But whatever you do... wherever you are... stop and remember.

Until next time...

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(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at bobmagee1@hotmail.com)