Thursday, September 14, 2017

MLB Weeks 22 & 23 - A Time of Reflection

By Dan Howard
Staff Writer

(Editor’s note: Since September 2, 2017 Dan Howard has experienced a death in his family, his sister-in-law, and his mother needs bypass surgery to repair an artery in her leg. Needless to say, Dan hasn’t had much time to write his usual weekly articles. This past Monday, September 11, was the sixteenth anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks which changed the world forever. Dan has submitted a combination of two past articles he wrote on those previous anniversaries. He desires your prayers during this difficult time.)

From Sept. 12, 2014

As Major League Baseball pauses to remember the most horrific terrorist attack on American soil, I thought I’d like to interject my own views about this unspeakable tragedy;

Prior to 2001, September 11th was remembered as the date, in 1985, Cincinnati’s Pete Rose passed Ty Cobb as baseball’s all-time hit leader. The line drive base hit off San Diego Padres Eric Show was typical of Rose’s outstanding career. Who can forget the numerous standing ovations Rose received, finally letting his emotions come to the surface when Pete Jr. hugged his dad while Pete Sr. was standing on first base.

Then came that fateful Tuesday morning sixteen years later.

I woke up late that morning, around 10am, which was typical for me during a day off work. Four days earlier my oldest daughter, Taira, suffered a serious broken ankle as a result of a scooter accident and had spent the weekend in the hospital, coming home Monday the 10th around 9pm. Several trips to the hospital, 130 miles round trip, plus the stress of my daughter’s condition, took its toll on me so I took a few days off work.

The first thing I did that morning was call the office for a briefing. The lady working in my place said, “Have you checked the news?” I replied, “No.” She continued, “You better, because we’re under attack!” To my disbelief, I tuned into Fox News and there it was, the World Trade Center with smoke billowing from a hole in its side. Choking back tears, I asked my wife to come see this. We both sat in stunned silence. Eighteen months earlier, during a business trip to New York City, as we flew out of LaGuardia, the last sight of the city from our airplane was both World Trade towers.

My sadness turned to anger as I watched the second tower fall.

The term “hero” is often bantered about to describe feats of athletic courage, as a supreme underdog defying the odds to defeat a better opponent. Heroic was definitely used to define the Reds 1990 World Series win over the Oakland Athletics.

True heroism is when, carrying several pounds of equipment, fire fighters’ rush into a burning building in the hope to save lives. True heroism is when a law enforcement official stops an impaired driver to keep them from injuring others. True heroism is what keeps our country free through the sacrifices of the young men and women serving in the Armed Forces. True heroism took a man, beaten beyond recognition, forced to carry a heavy cross, to the top of a hill in Israel to give His life in exchange for our sins.

 From Sept. 12, 2016

Fifteen years ago, on what seemed to be a perfect Tuesday morning, nearly three thousand individuals left their homes, and never returned.

Fifteen years ago, the innocence of this nation, and the world, changed as unspeakable evil crept upon our shores in an event so aptly described as “a cowardly attack”.

Fifteen years ago, time seemingly stopped moving as we watched in absolute horror the events unfolding in New York City, Washington D.C. and that field near Pittsburgh.

Fifteen years ago, in the worst single day of our life, we saw the best of America as untold numbers of rescue personnel risked their lives in an effort to save others, unfortunately 411 heroes met the same fate as the ones they were attempting to rescue. Among the deceased included 343 New York City Firefighters, 37 Port Authority Police Officers, 23 New York City Police Officers and 8 Emergency Medical Technicians.

Fifteen years ago, in an airplane over the Midwest, thirty-six passengers on United flight 93 began what would later be known as “The War on Terror”, as they fought the terrorists, nearly taking control of their ill-fated flight until one of the cowards ditched the plane in a field around Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

A few days ago I was watching a program describing the events of September 11 (I refuse to write 9/11 in reference to this day, we don’t describe the Pearl Harbor attacks as 12/7 do we? Independence Day as 7/4?), and my youngest son, Ethan, commented “That’s the day the towers fell.”, then it hit me, he’s only eleven, this is a moment in history to him. I was just twenty-three days old when President Kennedy was assassinated, so I have absolutely no recollection of November 22, 1963. I do have vivid recollections of some other historic events in American history like the Vietnam War ending in April 1975, John Lennon’s murder in December 1980, and President Reagan’s attempted assassination in March 1981. Then, Derek, my fourteen-year-old nephew, came into the room to watch the program, he was born in January 2002, four months after the attacks. I’m very curious how that day is being taught in public schools. I’m positive it’s decidedly different than the way the Pearl Harbor attacks were taught to my generation.

I pray we never forget September 11, 2001.

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