Friday, September 30, 2011

our D.C. excursion, part 5: 9/11 Memorial

(For the beginning of our trip, click here.)

The only thing I wanted to see in New York was the recently opened 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero.

It did not disappoint.

I reached my right hand forward over the black granite and swept my fingers over the name:

Renee A. May and her unborn child

Suddenly everything stopped.  I looked over toward the woman standing nearest me.  She had seen me reach my hand over the name.  Where before she was collectedly somber, her hands now covered her eyes as she convulsed with quiet sobs.

I saw at least 4 other such names.

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we've come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much you've done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful.

~Matt Redman
"Never Once"

A work in progress - the Freedom Tower will rise to 1776 feet.

Survivor Tree.
This Callery Pear Tree was in the WTC Plaza,
was crushed and nursed back to health.
All the other trees at the Memorial
are swamp white oaks, so this one stands out it should.

WTC Tridents can be seen through the unfinished museum scheduled to open next year.

(click here for part 6)

our D.C. excursion, part 4: the Big Apple

(For the beginning of our trip, click here.)

Monday (Sept. 19th) we rose early and scooted up to New York City, hopped on the ferry to cross the Hudson (the same ferries that rescued Sully's passengers), and --like the tourists we are-- boarded the double-decker red sightseeing bus to tour the Big Apple.  What fun and fascinating information.
On our way across the Hudson

From the 2nd floor of the bus,
you get a good view of stuff like this.

That's gum with coins stuck to it on a lightpost.
Sorry, should've warned you to bring your barfbag.
Hey! Be thankful I didn't post the closeup.

Tobi and Rich

Flat iron building 

Nathan Hale.
"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

Mayor Bloomberg's welcome to all conservatives.
What?  Don't you think so, too?

Waiting for N.Y. pizza in Little Italy
May I back up a moment?
As I write, it seems that I allude that our trip was smooth sailing.  Though it was VERY fun, it was filled with bumps, wrong turns, and much laughter.  My sister was the navigator...   ummmmm.....let's just say that if anyone would like to pitch in to purchase a GPS for her, I'm taking donations.  For the sanity of her husband and anyone who travels with her, this is very necessary. :)  (Just playin' with ya, Tob...but not really.  ha!)  We all had SO much fun on the drive to, from, and through DC, New York, and Pennsylvania.  There was much laughter, conversation, and delight.

After we left the Memorial (will cover that in my next post), we attempted to make our way back to the tour bus for their nighttime tour but misunderstood the boarding location and ended up missing out on the excursion.  My sister -who had orchestrated the day- was heartbroken over disappointing us all.  Though we were a teeny bit bummed out, we also understand the absolute sovereignty of the God of the universe who cares even about fun trips to NYC, so we lifted her spirits, jumped on the subway and finished our evening in the bright lights and bustling busy-ness of Times Square.
Armed with my pumpkin spice latte and my sweet hubby, we were happy campers indeed.  One of Tob's fave restaurants, Junior's, was nearby, so we popped in there for a little (I mean HUGE) cheesecake dessert and then waddled rolled back to the ferry and our hotel.

It was c-c-c-c-c-c-oollld-d-d-d-d-d-d on the way back.
( you like my new NYC sweatshirt?)

I know these aren't your typical NY shots, 
Yoos got a problem with that?!
(Please say the above line with a New York accent.)

Our main destination:  THE 9/11 MEMORIAL at Ground Zero.  That's next.

our D.C. excursion, part 3: the Preston wedding!

(This is a series on our recent trip to DC.  For the beginning, click here.)

My sweet friend Marian just returned from a month long trip to the east coast seeing everything imaginable.  One of her facebook posts said, "If you ask me my favorite part of this fabulous vacation, I will say FAMILY!!!"

I agree.  When we took our month-long trip 2 years ago, my very favorite part was the 3 or 4 days we stayed with my Aunt in New Jersey.  There's just something awesome about family.

Tobi and Rich (my sis and bro-in-law) scooped us up from D.C. Saturday afternoon and we made a beeline (actually this be may have been a little confused) to Doylestown, PA, where Jamie and I attended the rehearsal dinner for Kyler and Vanessa's wedding.  The long car rides were hilarious!  We laughed and laughed until our sides ached...but I digress.
Uncle Glen, Aunt Toby, and Cody
It was so wonderful to see my beloved Aunt.  How desperately I love much so that to think of her right now makes my eyes a wee bit watery.  The dinner was at Slate Bleu, a lovely and cozy little French restaurant in a really endearing part of Doylestown.  A novel area lined with charming boutiques. ---We entered the restaurant and were directed upstairs where I saw my Aunt as soon as we rounded the corner.  She is so gorgeous!  She wore the most beautiful cargo-style floor-length golden silky skirt and an elegant silk blouse.  I do want to be her!  (...and not just for her clothes.  heehee.)  She is so beautiful inside and out.  Her taste is impeccable and so earthly and fun.
Me and Aunt Toby during our visit 2 years ago.
Hope you don't mind a little diversion here:
Uncle Glen and Aunt Toby
A month or so ago, the boys and I stopped in a little dress shop and I found the most perfect dress to wear to the wedding.  I bought it and took it home.  The next day I got on my Aunt's facebook page and was so impressed with the 100-mile bikeride she did that I commented on her wall, "I want to be you."  Later that day, I sent a picture of the myself in the dress with my boys to my Aunt's cell phone.  Shortly after I received a reply from her.  It said this: "That's MY dress!  Except I don't have 2 boys hanging off it."  Well, you can imagine the text message exchange that flew between California and New Jersey the following few minutes.  It is so awesome that we had the same dress!   ...except for the minor detail that I absolutely could not wear the same dress as the Mother-of-the-Groom.  Needless to say, my dress was returned, but we have so enjoyed the fact that we both picked out the same dress.  After all, I did say that day that I wanted to be her.  Maybe I really meant it. ;)

We had quite an enjoyable evening visiting with family.  It was disclosed that my Uncle Troy, Aunt Karen and their daughter Rachel had driven down from Canada and were staying at the Preston home (my Aunt Toby and Uncle Glen's house in NJ).  After weeks and maybe months of debating whether or not they would be able to attend the wedding, God made a way for them to come!  What an exciting time!

Sunday's wedding was perfect and beautiful.  The church was so pleasing to the eye with its tall and pristine white steeple and red brick walls.  I tried to get a nice shot of the building before the wedding - attempting to not have any people in the shot.  But a man standing on the steps was unavoidable, so I took the pic, lowered my camera and realized it was my Uncle Troy I was so rudely trying to cut out of the photo!  How fun is that!?
Uncle Troy, Aunt Karen, and Rachel

So blessed was I to have been asked just a week or so earlier to read for the ceremony.  Vanessa chose the most beautiful passage:
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  (Col. 3:12-17)
I couldn't get to the church in time for the rehearsal the night before so I was a little nervous about the order and timing of the ceremony ...especially since it was Catholic and I'm not so familiar with their very formal way of doing things.  Thankfully, another reader was much help and set an excellent example for me to follow so all was well.  It went beautifully and I am so honored to have been able to love on my cousin and new cousin-in-law by reading God's perfect Word to them (which I love) on the day of the beginning of their marriage.  May they have a long, prosperous, God-blessed, and beautiful marriage committed to Jesus, the Savior of our souls.

Vanessa & Kyler Preston

The reception was a blast!  Vanessa found the most gorgeous venue and we had a ball dancing, eating, and watching the Charger game.....yes, that's right.  They had the decency (lol!) to provide a special room with a big screen t.v. and foosball table so that avid football fans could have the best of both worlds: wedding festivities and the NFL!  Let's just say that many trips were made by various fans (who will remain nameless) to the aforementioned secret football location to report back to the Charger fans the score.  Sad news, though:
Ho hum.
Though nothing could possibly put a damper on the elation and fun time we were having with family and new friends; and watching the beautiful bride and groom.

Richard and Tobi
It was so nice to be with my sister and Rich; my other new cousin-in-law, Emily; my Uncle Troy and his fam; my Uncle Glen's elusive brother, Paul; and the occasional interaction with family occupying the other table.  Being.  Existing in a place with loved ones.  Not a lot of conversation 'cause it was just too darn loud for it.   However, being in the presence of these I love and get to be with so rarely was so precious to me.  I wish the time was longer.
My cousin, Peter, and his gorgeous wife, Emily.  Baby boy to come for Christmas!
Jame and I in the library...of course.
I love books!!! :)

Next up:  NYC and the 9/11 Memorial.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

our D.C. excursion, part 2: the rest of the CWA leadership training

(part 1 of our trip can be found here.)

The rest of the CWA training was awesome.  It is so nice to be surrounded by likeminded people who not only love this country and our Constitution, but are wholly devoted to the Lord.
A favorite speaker of mine was George Tryfiates who expounded on some of our American history.  Well, what's not to love about that?!  ;)  He said that it was the story of Washington crossing the Delaware that caught his attention and flung him into a love of history.  So cool, because it's that same story that changed my life, too.   I recently wrote this article for our history club (a history co-op I am helping to teach) newsletter.

While visiting my aunt in New Jersey a few years ago, we visited the presumed site where George Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas, surprised attacked the British, and changed the course of the Revolutionary War, the future of the United States, and history forever.
I hated history in school.  I was bored memorizing dates and names for the sake of passing the next test.
But this day on the banks of the Delaware River, something in me was set afire.  As I watched the short film in the Visitor's Center, I recognized in my mind and heart the very obvious hand of "Providence" in the shaping of the great and free nation we call home.  Though God was never mentioned, I was unable to ignore His absolute favor on George Washington and this land.
Fast forward three years:  My boys are 4 and 5 years old and we are planning a trip to return to the east coast.  It is the summer before our first school year and I decided that America's beautiful history is a great way to kick off our home schooling venture.  We dove into the Revolutionary War, great Presidents, history's heroes, America's great technological accomplishments, and so much more.  We fell in love with Paul Revere, George Washington, Nathan Hale, and Abraham Lincoln.  We gained courage and hope from the examples of these who gave their "lives, liberty and sacred honor" for the sake of their posterity: you and me!  We looked around at the current state of our national and global culture and realized that if these great founders could change the world, then so can we!  And so can you!
Mommies and Daddies, we are raising heroes! 

Dr. Janice Crouse also spoke to us on sexual trafficking and other unpleasant, but must-be-addressed issues.  And Kenda shared some beautiful words with us.  Her love for this country brought me to tears.  She also told me that I'm not normal.  Actually that none of us in the room were normal.  I sort of already knew that.  :)  I find great comfort in my non-normalities, and in the fact that there was a room full of "not normals" there with me.

Kenda led us on a prayer walk that Friday afternoon.  We learned the history about some of the not-so-noticeable buildings in Washington, D.C.  ...particularly those surrounding the White House such as the Blair-Lee House, LaFayette Square, Daughters of the American Revolution, etc.  How blessed we were to pray for specific things at each landmark.  For example: at St. John's church we prayed for the salvation of living Presidents; at the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs we prayed for the recovery of injured military veterans; at the National Christmas Tree we thanked God for our religious freedom; etc.
Since we had such a large group (20+), Jamie and I offered to hold up the rear to make sure we didn't lose anyone in the shuffle.  You should have seen us all parading from the hotel to the Metro station, trying to figure out tickets, and ultimately pouring onto the train.  Amazingly everyone made it.
a self-portrait of Jame & I
on the prayer walk.
Jamie was a hit with many of the ladies since his gender was a minority throughout the training.  (Note: Concerned Women for America typically attracts women...shocking, I know.  Though, it is not an organization solely comprised of women -- a little known fact.)  Silvia, a woman from Visalia, CA, immediately bonded with Jamie.  She's a Spanish-speaking lady, so Jamie took the opportunity to try his police-Spanish out on her -- always an entertaining enterprise.  In a moment, he was commanding her to put her arms up, get her license out, lace her fingers behind her head and stand with her feet apart...and she complied.
The pew that Lincoln
quietly occupied.
Some ladies found our stop at St. John's Church an irresistible opportunity to pray inside the building.  Jamie and I waited a while for the ladies to come out, but as Kenda and the front of the group got further and further away, I decided to go in and herd them so we could catch up.  I exited toward the double glass doors and...  wouldn't you know that in those 3 minutes I was inside trying to collect these ladies, we all got LOCKED INSIDE ST. JOHN'S CHURCH.  Ha!  Of all the churches to be locked in, the one Abraham Lincoln (as well as several other Presidents) frequented scores pretty high.  Still, here I (along with 3 ladies and a very friendly gentleman) remained trapped inside.  Jamie waited patiently outside wondering why I wasn't walking through  those doors until I grabbed the handles and mouthed to him,
"THE     DOORS     ARE     LOCKED."
Never a dull moment.
Finally we broke free thanks to the help of the aforementioned gentleman who hunted down the man with the key.  I guess when the sign says they close at 3, they aren't kidding.

It was a prayer adventure.  Eventually Kenda commissioned Jamie and I to escort a bunch of the ladies back to the Metro and the hotel while she sought out the stragglers of the group who somehow got lost trying to find a bathroom.

CWA CEO Penny Nance, Southern California Director Ruth Smith,
and Senator Rick Santorum
Ruth and I
Former PA Senator and current Presidential candidate Rick Santorum spoke to us at an evening banquet that night.  It was really cool to hear his heart for the Lord, the nation, family, and his commitment to (and understanding of) the Constitution.  At the banquet, our worship leader for the training, Deborah, sang "Stand in the Rain."  Before she began the song, she said, "Do you ever feel like you are running and running and running, and you can't stop because if you do, you'll fail?"
Yes!  I feel like that every moment of every day.  That question stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes.  What precious little time God has given us on this earth "for such a time as this."  How desperately I want to be wise with my life and not waste it.  To stand for what is right.  To fight against what is wrong.  And to influence, influence, influence and to inspire, inspire, inspire a nation, my friends, my children, a poor innocent bystander toward righteousness and truth.

Sometimes though, we must pause, and refuel by standing under the spout of God's blessed rest.  
And then start moving again...centered in His will.

Saturday we said our goodbyes to the fabulous CWA ladies (and gentlemen) and awaited the arrival of my sis and her hubby.  But this post is too long more on that later.

Click here to read about our time at my cousin Kyler's wedding.

Monday, September 26, 2011

more from the Sharia Law Briefing

(I mentioned in my previous post that we attended a Sharia Law Briefing on Capitol Hill while we were in D.C.  Here is more on that.)

A few bullet points about Islam, Muhammed, and Sharia Law that I gleaned from the Sharia Law briefing:

  • Muhammed was born in 570 A.D.  He was a religious, political, and military leader...which means that Islam is a religious, political, and militant system...which makes sense when you consider even some of our limited understanding of this religion.
  • Muhammed spent 12 years in Mecca.  During this time, he established Islam as a peaceful religion (no mention of violence) and the first half of the quran reflects this attitude.  Later, Muhammed went to Medina where he and Islam took a political, militant, hostile, and violent turn (relentless forcing of religion with the sword).  The second half of the quran reflects this violence.
  • Muhammed once took a 9-year-old as his wife.  (This practice continues today.)
  • Slavery is at a peak today...and mostly in Muslim nations.
  • Islam is the opposite of freedom and liberty.
  • Muslim peace = world Islam
  • In the 1st century, Rome and China traded openly...until Muslim dominance closed off trade routes.  This is why Christopher Columbus sought an alternate trade route to the east.  Didn't learn that in your history textbooks, did ya?  Me neither.
  • Religious Islam is ok.  Political Islam is not ok.  If they can separate the two, we'd be just fine... problem is that Islam is not only religious.  As mentioned before, Islam is religious, political, and militant.  That's a problem.  Since they can't separate the religious form the political, neither should we.
  • Sharia Law was started by Assan Awana (sp?) in the 1920's.  It is man-made but believed to be God's law.
  • AIG (yeah, the AIG that your tax-dollars bailed out) offers Sharia compliant services.
  • The secularism of society (kinda like what we've become in America) is a transition phase for Sharia.  Departing from a moral/religious foundation to secularism/religious tolerance is an open door to Muslim extremists.  They take advantage of religious freedom to gain political jurisdiction.  Infiltrating until their numbers and strength are enough to dominate a society --- using "peace," friendliness, and even tolerance to their benefit until they have settled in and become strong enough to oppress and destroy.  Their is no loyalty to anything non-Muslim.  A seemingly good friend will easily stab you in the back if it benefits Islam and Sharia.
  • Muslim men are encouraged to rape infidels (non-Muslims).
  • A few references to women in the quran (there are 214):  "deficient in mind and religion"; "not equal to man in testimony"; inheritance is half that of a man; no equality; must be veiled; seen as a dog or donkey in interrupting the prayer of men; compared to a sheep, cow, or camel because (sorry about the disgust in this) "all of them are mounted"; a husband is allowed to strike her, abandon her in bed, imprison her to death; can be purchased as a prostitute at the whim of men; men may divorce for any reason;  most of the inhabitants of hell are women.
  • Many moderate Muslims are good citizens.  However, fundamentalists view these as apostates and traitors.  Should moderate Muslims become "faithful," they must follow the quran explicitly.  (Say goodbye to the peaceful part.)
  • Nazism = corruption, terrorism, dictatorship.  Islam is the same.
  • The U.S.'s attitude toward Sharia is to "manage chaos," not to understand the idealogy. This could easily become fatal to our nation.
  • Sharia/Islam politics = 1 party totalitarian state
Noni Darwish was born in Cairo and grew up in Gaza.  She escaped and came to the U.S. in 1978.  She strongly impressed upon us Sharia's hatred of women stating that "women bring life and civility which is why Sharia oppresses women.  Sharia loves dominance, death, and tyranny.  They hate women (who love life and civility) and therefore demean them so they can focus on Jihad."  (Meaning if men avoid valuing women, then their focus can be undivided toward Jihad.)  She tied in the fact that polygamy destroys women and children which works out great if you want to dominate --- an impossible task unless you are lacking a loving, civil conscience.  She also said that Sharia is vigilante justice and pedophilia; and must be illegal.  (She should know, she grew up in a Sharia-saturated culture.)

Don't be an Islam-aphobe.  Be a Sharia-phobe.  It is the forcing of this despotic law that must be resisted.  We must not be intolerant of religious faiths, but allow freedom as we are allowed to be free.  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." (1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States)

As brutal as these people can be, we must not be against Muslims, but against Islam.  These precious hearts: men and women are loved by Creator God; and are horribly deceived by satan.  
We must possess these qualities in reaching out to Muslims.  And try to communicate to them the Trinity: Jesus is God in the flesh.
(Thanks to Father Botros for these prayer points.)

Do you know any Muslims?  My dear friend's dad is Muslim.  Moderately so.  And what a precious man he is.  I am so glad to know him and to love him...and hope to better understand his background and thoughts on what I have learned and noted above.


  • American Laws for American Courts must pass in all states, especially Michigan (Deerborn, anyone?).  Pray.  It has already passed in Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arizona.
  • ACLU and the Center for American Progress.  Both of these organizations are bad news and defend Sharia.
  • Understand that support for Sharia Law is chauvenism.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood is in the White House.  Know that Dalia Mogahed is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and works in our White House today.  
  • Speak out against Sharia.

For further information by the speakers who attended the Sharia Law Briefing and other resources (I will try to get the link to this briefing so you can hear this information for yourself.) :

Sunday, September 25, 2011

our D.C. excursion, part 1: getting there and Sharia Law briefing

Jamie and I just returned from a 10-day visit to the Washington, D.C. area.  I will write a series of posts about our time out there.

Jamie joined me in attending CWA's (Concerned Women for America) leadership training in Washington, D.C.  Our Arlington hotel was only one Metro stop from the Reagan Airport, but unfortunately the air miles on our credit card did not service Reagan.  So we chose to fly into Baltimore because we were able to take the train and the Metro into the city and ultimately to our hotel.  It was an unfamiliar experience, but I am somewhat an adventurous spirit, so what the heck?!
(I left our camera on plane #1.  I'm awesome like that.  Thankfully there was a Costco down the street from our hotel.)

When we arrived in Baltimore on Wednesday (September 14th) and shuttled to the train depot, I recognized a woman who entered the station.  It was Kenda Bartlett, Field Director for CWA.  Though I had met her only once at last year's leadership training in Irvine, her face was familiar to me because she often writes the opening devotion article for CWA's monthly newsletters.  She proved to be incredibly helpful.  It was a divine appointment that we should run into her that day because she helped us with the train connections and we were blessed to help her a couple of days later on the Capitol prayer walk which I will mention more about in a subsequent post.  Also, we thought it would be nice to visit Kenda when we returned to D.C. a few days after the training and so it was cool to, in the end, become friends.

We arrived at the hotel with no trouble at all and were pleased with the accommodations.  My soon-to-be-married cousin, Kyler, met us for dinner that evening at a Hamburger Hamlet restaurant located near the closest Metro station to the hotel.  We had such a nice visit and were so thankful for the time spent with him.  His wedding was only three days later...which we were so thrilled to be able to attend.  More on that soon!

Thursday, we made our way to the National Mall via the Metro (yes, we utilized this a lot since we skipped car rental...a wise decision), and a quick stop at the Police Officer's Memorial at Judiciary Square.

A jaunt of 3-4 blocks found us at the Capitol Building (no thanks to a local cop who had no idea where the Capitol Building was...even after I reminded him it was that big place with the dome) where we were to attend a briefing about Sharia Law and its effects on women.

This was a mind-blowing event.  A few congressmen, author Bill Federer, Father Zechariah Botros (in hiding since the muslim freaks want to kill him - his talk was pre-recorded), Fred Grandy (previously known as Gopher on "The Love Boat"), and Noni Darwish all shared with us their knowledge and personal experience with Sharia Law.  Scary stuff.  They spoke for a 3-hour long briefing that was streamed on the internet.  It was fascinating.

(click here and here for a tiny taste of what this briefing was about.)

The biggest pearl of info I came away with was this:  Islam is a religious, political, and military system.  This is why it can not be tolerated.  If we allow freedom of religion, then we must allow freedom for Muslims.   However, a close eye must be kept because in their faith, the committed followers are compelled to carry out the quran not just religiously, but politically and militarily as well...which is why we see "extremists" commit such  violent and hostile attacks upon non-Muslims.  "Extremists" are those Muslims who follow their faith deeply.  I am a Christian extremist because I purpose to follow Scripture as closely as I can.  Muslims deeply committed to the quran are compelled to be as much like their "prophet" Muhammed as they possible can be.  Just as we seek to be Christ-like, they seek to be Muhammed-like.  If they succeed, then naturally the deceptive, violent practices of Muhammed must be emulated.

Does this mean that all Muslims are bad?
-No.  But it does mean that the potential is there.
The ones that are "peace-loving" are the ones that are not following their faith deeply.  Should they decide to fully commit to their beliefs, they would be compelled to follow in the footsteps of their violent extremist examples.

What hope is there for these who casually follow their faith?
-2 things in my opinion:  They never take it seriously; or (even better) they convert away from Islam to Christ and have something virtuous (and non-violent) to live for.

Another thing I gleaned from this briefing is the inherent danger of Sharia Law.  Shocking to me....and it should be to EVERY the fact that the idea of Sharia Law is even entertained in our nation.  Yet, in our "tolerant" political correctness, some are opening the door to allow Sharia Law into the United States.  And some of our elected leaders are Sharia followers and want this to come.  I want to encourage you right now to fight this with every ounce of your being.  Sharia isn't just the Muslim way of law; it is degrading, demoralizing, and destructive to women.  To hell with so-called "tolerance!"  Do you want to turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of women for the sake of being p.c.?!!  Shame on you if you do.  It is one thing to tolerate and grant freedom of religious worship.  It is quite another to allow that religion to permeate, infiltrate, and gradually take over a nation.  (I posted again on this subject since I took extensive notes and it is something we all need to avoid being ignorant of.  Click here for my notes.)

More soon.  Don't worry, the trip lightens up on subject matter---you know, for those of you who hate all this political stuff.  Soon I'll post pics of landmarks and tourists (us).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My 9/11

I was fast asleep in my bed on Dakota Road in Garden Grove.
My hours at Disneyland often began in the afternoon and went well into the night.  So, by the time I returned home, it would take me until 1 or 2 am to wind down and finally make my way to bed.

It was the first day of my vacation.  In two days, I would board a plane with my friend Jan Gohlitz and fly to Tokyo, Japan to visit my friend and sister-in-the-Lord, Catherine Ramirez.

Early (for me) on a Tuesday morning, my cell phone rang.  On the other end was my mom's urgent and very serious voice: "Kori, turn on the t.v.  Planes have flown into the World Trade Towers."  Still half asleep and quite groggy, I had trouble discerning... understanding... grasping what she was saying.  But the tone and panic in her voice told me this was a very worrisome incident.  My mom was driving her car when she called me...on her way to work at Children's Hospital in San Diego.  I stumbled my way to my small 13 inch t.v. and flipped it on.
What was wrong with my television?  There were two images being projected.  I tried to read quickly the heading at the bottom of the screen.  The Pentagon had been hit.  What?  I thought it was the Twin Towers.  On the left side of the screen I could clearly see the Twin Towers immersed in smoke like torches, but the right side showed only smoke.  Was that the Pentagon?  "Mom," I said, "I think the Pentagon's been hit."  The shock in her voice was stunning.  "What?"  "Mom, what's going on?"  We both new we were under attack, but by who? and why?  And what would be hit next?

I called Tony, a precious friend of mine, and told him to turn on his t.v.  And while I was on the phone with him, I saw the towers fall.  Breathless and shocked...even from my long-distance location.

When I was 13, my junior high school took a trip to Washington, D.C., and New York.  We were asked if we'd like to visit the World Trade Towers.  Only about ten of us wanted to go.  Since I like to make the most of every opportunity, I, of course, wanted to climb to the top levels of the tallest buildings in New York.  I stood up there more than 100 stories straight up, stepped down into a window and felt the building sway.  Whoa.  Never did I imagine what would occur nearly 15 years later.
I can't tell you what I wore that day...because I didn't care what I wore.  I had to peel myself away from the television.  For days, I and all of America were glued to that screen as the images played over and over and over and over again. As our President, George W. Bush, put into that role "for such a time as this" responded appropriately and accordingly and we all stood in solidarity to make right this terrible wrong committed against the beautiful USA.

An inspiring moment to me during those days was when George Bush stood atop the rubble at Ground Zero and when handed a bullhorn, attempted to encourage the people within earshot.  A man shouted, "I can't hear you!"  President Bush looked squarely in the direction of the man's voice and shouted into the bullhorn, "Well, I can hear you.  The whole world hears you!  And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon."  Cheers erupted and my heart swelled.  A decisive leader at a time when we desperately needed it.

I had a plane ticket to Japan which I seriously considered changing to New York so I could do something to help...after all I didn't have to work and suddenly had a whole lot of free time on my hands.

Our September 13th flight to Japan finally left on September 17th.  As I passed a news stand in a train station in Tokyo, I saw a magazine peppered with pictures of 9/11.

And so I picked up newspapers, Time magazines, Newsweek and the like during that week.  And I picked up the paper when Saddam Hussein was captured and again this May when Osama bin Laden was killed.  I popped VHS tapes in my VCR during the days of 9/11 because I knew one day I would want to have these things to show my children.  And here I am today teaching my children and sharing with them the seriousness of that day.

behind us is an FDNY first responder fire truck from Queens.
The boys and I visited the Nixon Presidential Library Monday to commemorate the lives of those lost on September 11, 2001.

Life in this country changed that day.  If you doubt it, you only have to think of the security checks we go through on a regular basis when we visit this place or that.

In disbelief of what we were experiencing as a nation and only having the stories of Pearl Harbor to refer to, I asked my mom that Tuesday, "Mom, is this worse than Pearl Harbor?" because to me it seemed awful.  "Yes," she said.  And silently in my heart, I said, "oh."

Praying for our soldiers abroad and our heroes here at home and the families still feeling the painful loss of this day 10 years ago.
God bless America.

p.s. I know mine is only one of millions of stories.  Please take some time to leave your 9/11 story in the comment section of this blog.