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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pentagon -- a 9/11 Tribute


Pentagon with one side gone.
A highjacked plane swept a Pennsylvania field bare.
Towers torn, but heroes born
As police and fire -- man, they gave their all.

No words to say
No, not today
Don't know pain you feel
But I know mine is real

I watched parents cry
Watched their children die
Jumped to their death
Or burned instead

From the demise
See Phoenix rise
One thought yet --
Never forget.

Pentagon with one side gone.
A highjacked plane swept a Pennsylvania field bare.
Towers torn, but heroes born
My Americans -- those who gave their all.


I've been asked some questions about this poem in the 12 years since I first wrote it. And there were things I wanted to show even though nobody asked.

The structure of this poem is 5 stanzas of 4 lines each, with the 5th stanza almost mirroring the first. This was to show:
The 5 sided Pentagon.
The loss of one side to the attacks.
The power to rebuild the Pentagon.
The Twin Towers.

In terms of lives lost, the attack at the towers was much more significant than the loss at the Pentagon. But my family connections were with the Pentagon. My grandfather had worked there as a military intelligence officer before retirement. My (at the time) soon-to-be brother-in-law was working there as a grant writer. I have been to DC. I loved it there, and at one point wanted to make my home there. I have never been to Pennsylvania or New York. I knew plenty of people would be able to capture the feelings of others who are New Yorkers and love New York. They would do a much better job than me, and so I will not stand in their way.

After the attacks, a Mesa shikh was murdered for wearing a turban. Mesa is part of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area. The shooter thought he was preventing terrorism and promoting justice. But the shikh was an American, too.
A Phoenix is a mythical bird that dies and is reborn from its ashes. In the same way, terror begets terror. We mustn't lose sight of the fact that hate breeds hate and violence breeds revenge.

In the final line, I wrote "My Americans -- those who gave their all." I say this in the full knowledge that many countries were represented in the WTC and at the Pentagon and even on the planes. But the common cause of their losses was the American Dream. I certainly meant no disrespect to other countries when I called their victims of the attacks Americans. Instead, I was hoping to embrace the ideals that all peace-loving people want, and show an embracing of all who supported those ideas in the face of outrageous terrorism.

Posted on Wikinut 9/11/2014