9/11: Is it Just Another Bad Memory?

9/11: Is it Just Another Bad Memory?

Life is about mixed messaging. Today, remembering the terrible attack in New York, The Pentagon and Flight 93, the visuals return with every bit of their gruesome horror. Then as we humans have been instructed, they fade once more and are filed away into the back of our minds. Only the loved ones of the victims hold the pain closely with no reprieve.

If there is one truth it’s that evil has no politics, color or creed. Oh, of course many try to equate them, but it’s impossible because evil is found in every political party and in every corner of the planet. It’s an entity onto itself and exists solely within the heart and mind of man. It’s true however that it can be spread like a black river of oil unto a fertile plain or in an ocean among the innocent sea life fatally exposed.

Yet, if we Americans are so affected by evil events like 9/11, Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, is it productive to sweep them aside until they are marked on a calendar each year?

Can we learn if we’re encouraged to forget? Can evil ever be eradicated if we allow it to fester and thrive as part of history?

We’re taught to live in the present and see those who live in the past encumbering their ability to live a happy life. Yet, the message is startlingly ambiguous when it’s only by remembering the lessons we can forge ahead wiser.

So which is it, recall or move forward?

What is the proper amount of bad memories to dredge up and when does that number cross the line into mental instability?

Pearl Harbor hasn’t been forgotten, yet the enemy that attacked us is now our friend. We no longer cast aspersions on Japan or its people, nor should we, yet the lessons of World War II seem long forgotten. Because the Japanese people are now considered allies does that mean Nazis are as well and we should be electing them to Congress?

Today in the United States Congress Representative James Clayburn of North Carolina, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, demeaned Jewish Holocaust survivors to defend the hateful remarks of one of his America hating, anti-Semitic colleagues, Ilhan Omar.

So are we now to assume that every one who cast a vote for this horrible man or for her abhors Jewish people? I wouldn’t like to think that true, yet why is someone who castigates survivors serving in a country that fought a war to destroy a regime determined to kill all those whom their leaders deemed less worthy to breathe the same air?

Should hate spreaders be allowed to serve in our Congress among those that lost relatives at the hand of evil without censure or a day of reckoning? Their loathing has been exposed on numerous other occasions, yet they are not held accountable for their hate speech. America cannot condone such behavior and elect haters still we continue to do so.

Yes, free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy and without it there is fascism, but should we be electing evil spreaders to make our laws and lead our country? Intolerance is intolerable and yet we foster and nurture it in our own government.

So where do we live? In the past, present or future and which will allow us to improve life by learning from the lessons that cost us so dearly?

If it is healthier to evolve from the past is it also healthy to move on from the memory of foul deeds and events?

I’m mystified by the amount of maliciousness I witness on a daily basis and how perfectly acceptable it has become to overtly express these feelings, no matter how despicable.

The world accepts too easily what it hears and finds it easier to believe what they are told then to fight back. Because evil is proactive and good is reactive the scales are weighted in favor of the aggressor.

The simple truth is that we do indeed forget, because we are trained to do so. Live in the present is the chosen mantra.

Israel and many countries in the Middle East have just entered into a peace deal that will change that area if not the entire world.

Former enemies will now be friends and free to travel, trade and break bread together.

So what lesson must we learn from these shifting world dynamics?

I laugh at the simplicity of my own answer; to err is human to forgive divine.

Yet forgiveness does not mean forgetting. No, we cannot remember everything, but even if relegated to the past they must continue to strengthen our moral code.

If we forget the deaths and lessons of the wars we fought then we’ll be doomed to reelect politicians who espouse divisiveness. If we forget we must be vigilant when dealing with those who’ve proven to exercise evil deeds with no remorse, then we’re doomed to repeat mistakes and be vulnerable to malice.

If a government becomes so indifferent to the vindictive speech and deeds advocated by their leadership then unfortunately we have many examples of the outcome of such folly and its effect on humanity.

One comment should be enough to engage our outrage and battle against darkness. When someone shows you who they are, believe them or suffer the consequences. Can there ever be enough history to accomplish this end?

Yes, life is filled with mixed messages and from where I sit now I’m dubious. However, we must retain hope if we are all to survive and once again remember or even sadly, forget.

Yes, life is filled with mixed messages and from where I sit now I’m dubious. However, we must retain hope if we are all to survive and once again remember or even sadly, forget.

Are We There Yet, Mommy? Are We There Yet, Daddy?

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Are We There Yet, Mommy?

Are We There Yet, Daddy?

As every parent knows, the most annoying question bar none is, “are we there yet?”

How many of us have had to sit in the car and listen to that question ad nauseum from their children?

Okay my turn…Are we there yet, is COVID gone?

I am sooo over this whole hanging-in-the-house thing. I’ve been patient, stayed put watching Netflix, ate healthy and took walks.

Now I’ve morphed into shoveling in chocolate chip cookies and popcorn and spend more time flipping channels than watching programs.

Although I know the vaccine will be here in October, what will that mean?

The older generation won’t be running out to get stuck until they watch to see if anyone drops dead.

We’re too old to be guinea pigs and we’d rather watch from the sidelines than jump into the game. Besides jumping isn’t an option when you need a walker or cane and are still doing physical therapy for your new knee or hip.

So how will we ever get back to normal?

Aha! That’s the rub because even when we get out of lockdown, captivity or self-imposed quarantine the world we once knew is no longer there.

I feel like Burgess Meredith in the Twilight Zone episode when after a nuclear war he finally had all the time in the world to read his books unencumbered and he broke his glasses.

The pre-COVID world was a different place and especially senior citizens will have to accept that the world they knew is gone.

So what will replace the old world?

Well, COVID is not the lynchpin that created the changes, it only intensified what was already transforming.

Ever since 9/11 we’ve had to face the fact that the freedom of movement we’ve always enjoyed since the advent of air travel has been severely restricted.

Terrorism impeded our ability to run amuck along with our own aging bodies.

Sure we figured out a way to get that new hip, but we haven’t figured out a way to see London Bridge without a lunatic running up and stabbing people. Or walking through a German Christmas market without crazies attacking, attending a concert or sightseeing in Madrid or Nice or any number of insane events we’ve witnessed.

I haven’t mentioned Israel because terrorism is a way of life for them and something one accepts when they head there for a visit.

Yet impediments aside we’ve grabbed our passports, packed our carry on and bitten the bullet. We’ve become the “oh-well-what-will-be-will-be” generation and decided that our priority was to live, travel and see the world despite the obvious risks.

So what’s changed? Plenty.

We once believed that after those trips to London, Rome, Vienna or Prague, visits to Singapore, China or Viet Nam we’d return home to our safe perch in America.

Sure, crime existed, but we felt safe and secure in front of our televisions watching baseball and munching on chips and guacamole while running outside to check the ribs on the grill.

Guess that’s over. America is not the same country now.

After COVID most assume we’ll just go back to business as usual, unscathed and unafraid.

Sorry, we need a reality check here. Cities are burning, law and order is in flux and familiar sights and sounds in our communities are gone.

Neighbors who once disagreed over which football team would prevail now refuse to talk to one another over politics.

Families have separated, friendships been destroyed, cities are in chaos, favorite businesses closed, entire sections of communities burned and boarded up.

It’s like walking out of your house after a nuclear holocaust and into a city in ruins.

Am I exaggerating? Actually I’m not sure, but I hope I am. I’m also from Detroit where it took 53 years to bring back a city torn to shreds and resembling London after the blitz, so there’s that.

So many people I know have said they are through traveling and will be staying closer to home.

Yes, cocooning is the new norm. People will entertain in their houses, man caves and she sheds will become palatial and so well appointed the Four Seasons will pale by comparison.

Media rooms will be enhanced and back yards will feature the same elements as the most fabulous five star resorts.

Lush landscaping, pools and recreational games will fill what once was a grass-filled area.

In case anyone doubts that things have changed just do an attitude check on your own friends.

Everybody is just a little bit crankier than they were four months ago. Oh sure everyone is trying to be so brave and double chins up (that would be as a result of the COVID 15 pound gain) but we all know we’re totally over this and ready to break out.

Actually, that’s the irony. After the initial run outside to our cars, faster than a racer at the Indy 500 I’m sure, and that visit or two to the mall, lunch with friends and dinner out on Saturday night, one news story about a rise in crime and we’ll all be hanging in the man cave watching football and sucking down beers like it’s Superbowl Sunday every weekend.

I’ve promised myself I’ll travel more and have my destinations all picked out, but will my will be diminished by a new terrorist attack or perhaps a few new cases of the virus popping up? Or maybe by China unleashing some new plague from some bat they’ve been harboring in a lab somewhere?

The world has changed dramatically and although we all want to believe that once we can hit the ground running we will, our habits have changed and we may not.

We now order Amazon and watch Netflix on that new 80-inch smart TV, we love that new patio furniture and those plans for an outdoor kitchen like our best friends just installed.

Whether we’ve realized it or not we’re now conditioned to staying close to home where we feel safe and secure against an onslaught of insanity that permeates the outside world.

When the virus is gone, that will be gone, but it won’t take with it the other tragic changes we’ve witnessed in our communities and that is what will ultimately define our new lifestyles.

Are we there yet? Perhaps soon, but where we’ll be when we get there, now that remains to be seen.

   Champagne Grape and Almond Chicken

4 chicken breasts or boneless thighs

flour for dusting

½ cup of champagne

½ cup seedless red grapes

½ cup seedless green grapes

½ cup sliced almonds

½ cup of chopped celery or bok choy

1 ½ cups of heavy cream

½ teaspoon of tarragon

salt and pepper

Season chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour

Sauté chicken in a mix of butter and oil until done

Add celery or bok choy or both and sauté for a few minutes, but keep the crunch in the vegetables

Remove chicken and set aside

Add champagne and deglaze pan then add cream, grapes, tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.

Lower heat and simmer until cream coats back of a spoon. High heat will break the cream and ruin the dish. Always thicken cream sauces on a low heat and never boil.

Add back chicken and reheat then serve immediately with almonds on the top.