9/11 after 14 years

Fourteen years. I can't believe this much time has passed. So much has changed, and yet, so little. I looked back on 9/11 seven years after the attacks and wrote a blog about where I was and what I did. When the SEALs killed Osama, I blogged about it (from Afghanistan no less). I wrote about it back 2013 on the twelfth anniversary. I guess I should say something about it on the 14th anniversary. I can tell you I still hate that day. I tried to watch a video about it and had to put my phone away because I just couldn't watch it without losing my shit. I discovered this Amazing Spider-man written by J. Michael Stravinsky today, but totally missed it when it came out. I kept losing my vision while trying to read it and it's just a bloody comic book. The best quote from it?
"You wanted to send a message and in so doing you awakened us from our self involvement. Message received. Look for your reply in the thunder."
Maybe there is something broken inside of me now. I don't remember crying about 9/11, but today, I nearly lost my shit several times. Too many losses over the last few years. I lost my Mom and a pet this year. I lost my Dad and multiple aunts and uncles between 2005 and today. I think it all added up into a tidal wave of shit.
So I often self medicate with music. Do you have a playlist related to this tragedy? Here is mine:

Don't Tread on Me by Metallica. I chose this because the local rock station in Hartford, CT was playing this song after the second tower collapsed.
Let's Roll by Neil Young. I am sure you can figure out why.
Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue by Toby Keith. Because it's all about 9/11 and kicking ass.
Letters Home from the Garden of Stone by Everlast. Because the line "we're going in with the day light" resonated with me.
If I Ever Leave This World Alive by Flogging Molly. Should be obvious why this feels right.
I found a few more here and there, but these are the big ones. What resonates with you?


Memorial Day Post 2015

It's late for the Memorial Day observance this year, but early for next year! :-)

I saw lots of stuff on Facebook and Twitter, some good, but far too many angry or guilt ridden. The best may have been from Terminal Lance (if you aren't reading this comic, start now), a repost of his 2012 comic and accompanying post. Following the guidance of his character Abe, every beer I drank this weekend was dedicated to the fallen. I drank many beers, because there are many who fell, but sadly, there are more fallen than there is room in my stomach, so the drinking will have to continue same time next year. If you are a civilian, and untouched by this or any previous war, I am not angry that you don't understand or lack awareness. If anything, I am a little jealous. Just understand that your three day weekend means something else to a segment of the population, and that they are hurting a little (or a lot) and are depressed a little (or a lot).

Here is a cool photo that went viral this week. Just a lucky snapshot by a passing journalist at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Haunting and poignant and not at all angry. Share it if you haven't already.

Finally, as has been my haphazard tradition, here is a poem for Memorial Day. Here is the complete Star Spangled Banner (it goes on much longer than we ever sing it). The opening lines of the last verse says it all for this holiday "O thus be it ever where freemen shall stand between their lov'd home and the war's desolation!"

The Star-Spangled Banner
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,” 
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Smells Like Teen Spirit revisited

So I am driving down the road, windows open, Smells Like Teen Spirit comes on the radio, so of course I turn it up. But it got me thinking, because it's 2015 now, and the song is 25 years old. I wasn't even 25 when I first heard it, which was probably driving in my beat up '85 Impala, heading to Moraine Valley Community College or maybe just driving aimlessly with no particular place to go. So some things were the same, but I am driving a relatively new car, and I have 2 kids riding in the back seat who no doubt think this music is lame. I moved through 7 states, finished 3 degrees, learned to scuba dive, fly a plane, went to war, came home from war, lost both parents, along with many aunts and uncles, and changed jobs several times. So much has happened in those years, so much has changed, and yet here I am, rocking out to the same song, at around the same time of year, juggling school, work, family and friends. Not sure what that was all about, but felt like writing it down.