A Day of Reflection

Baseball will return another day to this blog. It is, of course, a constant in our lives, but some days it is better to look elsewhere for at least a few moments.

September 2001 was a tough time for me. My father was very sick with the lung cancer that would take his life on October 1st, exactly two weeks short of his 70th birthday. By September 11, he was declining and shortly after, he would go into home hospice up in Tomball, and I would drive there every day after work from downtown.

But on September 11, I was at work in a high rise in downtown Houston and went through the normal project motions that day. Suddenly word spread that “something” had happened in New York City. By the time we found out what, we had heard that two planes had hit the World Trade Center. I had an argument with one of the other engineers over what that meant. I was certain it meant terrorism, and he said we did not know that yet. But I knew that one plane could be an accident (I remember reading about a plane hitting the Empire State Building years ago), but that two planes meant it was done on purpose.

I called home, and my wife quickly put on the TV and described what she was seeing. Not long into the conversation, she said, “Oh my God, it’s gone. The newscaster is talking about a partial collapse, but that building is gone.” I held on longer, and the second building followed the first. And then we both moved on. She had to run to the school and pick up a friend’s daughter when she was in a serious car accident. I went back to work, but really it never happened. We were work zombies, wandering around talking to one another, sharing whatever we knew. But some paranoia set in. We were in a tall building in a major city. What if we were the next target. The company recognized that this was not going to be a successful day of work and released us.

Having been born in Manhattan and living in New Jersey as a child, my wife had a couple connections to the Twin Towers. Her favorite Uncle Tommy had worked many years in the Towers and had been there when the World Trade Center was attacked in 1993 and had to walk down 60+ stories and came out covered in soot from the smoke. Luckily he was retired by the time 9/11 occurred.

Her second connection did not come to be noticed until weeks later when she found out she had known someone who died in the Towers. The Moroney family had 7 boys growing up in Freehold, NJ and went to Catholic school with my wife’s large Catholic family. One of the boys, Dennis Moroney, was a couple years younger than my wife, a cute little Irish boy. In 2001, he was a VP and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 101st floor of Tower #1. He died that day, and it brought it home to my wife as so very real a loss.

It has been 20 years since that awful day. The world was a blur then. My dad passed away three weeks later. So much has changed in our worlds since then. Taking a trip, going to a baseball game, getting into Disney World, you name it, has turned into an ordeal even before a pandemic made everything an ordeal.

We must never forget what happened that day. We must never forget that our enemies watch for us to be inattentive and an easy target. We must also somehow try to be one country again. Unfortunately, we often have to have a Pearl Harbor or a 9/11 to unite. Hopefully, we don’t need another horrific tragedy to do that.

21 comments on “A Day of Reflection

  1. Our oldest son and his wife were stationed in Japan with the Navy, when Jeff called us about 9:00 our time to tell us to turn on CNN. When we did we saw the second plane hit the other Trade center….I dropped to my knees and sobbed soo hard I couldn’t even finish talking to Jeff. After that day my life as a Flight Attendant changed forever. NOTHING WOULD EVER BE THE SAME!
    Jeff was immediately deployed to Bahrain on the Kitty Hawk…he told us not to look for him on television because the reporters would show the faces of the Navy pilots so the enemy could identify them. We stayed in a panic until the Kitty Hawk was called back. My flight was the first flight out of Houston Intercontinental on Thursday after 9-11 we were full of Delta pilots and Flight AttendantS who were trying to catch up with flights that were cancelled. After that week every trip I took was either cancelled or rerouted to many crazy cities. In October Delta gave Flight Attendants the very first retirement package ever….I signed it that day and I officially retired November 17th 2001. I NEVER looked back. The Navy wanted Jeff to go back to Qatar in 2020…for CENT COM. He and his Dad and I though the best thing for him and his family was to retire IMMEDIATELY…and in April of 2020 I was the first one he called to tell us he had his papers in his hand! The anger and sadness ALL of us felt after that horrible day will not be leave our lives EVER….and now it looks like America is in danger of that again. I’m still angry and sad.

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  2. We just needed those 8 runs again. Not a terrible loss, but still a loss. Weak team effort. A’s lost and Mariners are behind in the 7-3 in the 7th. Backing into a title normally does not bode well in the playoffs.

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  3. Yesterday I read the timeline of United flight 93 with tears in my eyes. On that flight were Americans, the best representation of America. Those brave civilians and flight crew, from all walks of life, without any weapons, fought for their country. They may have saved the White House or the Capital. They gave their lives while saving others. I’m confident the best representation of America still exists today. I too pray that if does not take the next American tragedy to bring us back together once more.

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  4. Dear American Service-men and Service-women and First Responders:

    No matter how much those that seem to be in control, and read scripted, focus-group contrived words off of teleprompters may try to humiliate you, or demoralize you, or demonize you, or marginalize you, or de-legitimize you, or blame you for everything that they do not like; or turn you against yourselves and the people and ideals of your nation, JUST REMEMBER THIS: you do not fight – or serve as the case may be – for them [Heaven forbid!]. You fight – or serve – for your mothers and your fathers; for your beloved spouses or significant others; for your children, born and unborn; for the future of mankind; and for your Creator.

    Be bold! Be strong! Do not waver! Do not relent! You are not perfect, of course; but you are by far the best our nation has to offer. Do not let the mind-control crowd get to you with their lies! We the people see what they are doing – and we know you are much, much stronger, wiser, and more resilient than any of the criminals who hide behind cameras, microphones, titles, and bluster could ever hope to be.

    We remember 9-11-2001 – and every other time you rushed into the breach on behalf of us all. We do not fear you; we do not believe evil concerning you; we honor you, and proclaim ‘Well Done!”

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  5. A couple other things that have come to my mind over the last day. My wife had one other connection to 9/11. She was a chaperone on a band trip to NYC and Carnegie Hall the spring after the attacks. There was a lot of discussion about cancelling the trip – but they went on.
    She was assigned a set of girls and she would get them up and out into NYC before the planned band visits would happen. She was taking them out on an early morning walk to somewhere when they came across one of the Time Square fire stations. There was a shrine there and they stopped and visited with the fire fighters that were up and about. They had lost one of their own, Captain Thomas McCann on 9/11. It was a heartfelt and interesting visit with the firefighters that the girls and my wife will not forget.
    We also visited Mary’s aunt and uncle in 2019 in New Jersey before the pandemic and went in to visit the 9/11 site and the museum there.
    We found the names of Thomas McCann and Dennis Moroney and another name of someone Mary’s aunt and uncle knew on the edge of the very impressive fountains there.
    We listen for their names in the readout of the names on 9/11 and cry at some of the stories the readers share, like the woman telling her late husband that her 20 year old son (must have been a baby) is so much like him.
    It is a national tragedy built out of many personal tragedies.

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  6. It’s a happy Astro Sunday, even with another weinerish disappearance by our offense. Lance deserves credit! But man, Bregman sure looks like an old codger out there on the bases. Alas, we have halted our Sunday losing streak and my brother has his first win since our comeback game against the Yankees just before the All-Star break. And to complete a big day, our Texan’s, home underdogs, dismantled the Jaguars.

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  7. If the Astros decide to play .500 ball the rest of the way, the M’s and A’s would have to go 16-3 to tie us with 93 and 69 records. That would be a pretty significant disaster which I can’t see happening.

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    • We will find out everything we need to know about Yainer Diaz, when it comes time to protect players from the Rule 5 draft this fall.
      He hit his 10th HR in 20 games at High A Asheville yesterday, but committed 2 errors at 1B.

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      • Just to amplify 1OP’s comment, the Astros move their minor leaguers defensively all over the place. Yainer Diaz has played Catcher, 1B, and DH. Baseball-reference shows 4 errors at first base, but only one and no passed balls at catcher. Again, an example, J C Correa has played every infield position and LF this season. Pedro Leon – listed as an outfielder – played more SS than any outfield (CF) position. Korey Lee played 1B, 3B, DH, and Catcher this year.

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  8. Astros #1 prospect, Korey Lee, is back from the IL and playing in Corpus Christi.
    Astros #4 prospect, Jeremy Pena, is off the IL and playing in Sugarland.
    #2 Astros prospect Pedro Leon is said to be working out and batting at the Florida Complex.

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  9. To kick off the series with the Rangers, we send Jake Odorizzi [who threw 5 meh but not horrible innings against Texas on 8/27 and got a ‘no decision’, and who hopefully still feels he has something to prove to the Houston F.O. and fanbase] against a guy we’ve never faced before – former Phillies prospect Spencer Howard. Howard has not been good – either this year for Texas or last year for Philadelphia – but we tend to be incapable of hitting guys the first time we face them.

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