Where Were You When it Happened?

There are a lot of stand-out days in my life that I will always remember either for the happiness, the thrill, the satisfaction of a job well-done . . . Even as I recall such personal events, however, I don’t think I remember them in as clear detail as I do the day I saw that plane deliberately crash in the first of the two towers in New York. It took a few seconds to realize that someone had purposely crashed a plane into the building, there were people in the building beginning their day, and the place would soon be swarmed by rescue factions to save everyone.

Sad to say, a great many of the people already in the tower at that moment began and ended their day within minutes while more fortunate ones managed to escape down the stairs into the smokey billows already filling the air outside. Firemen and other rescue crews bravely went against the exiting confusion of people in order to save anyone who couldn’t make it out on their own. Many of those brave men ended their early shift for that day forever when the building crashed down.

I remember seeing the television reporters running to their desks on the news stations, hurriedly dressed and unkept probably wondering on WHAT the news was that needed to be reported. Eventually, the last of the warring planes had crashed and the world was left in shock and sorrow. Some stories were heard of people who were miraculously saved from death because they were late, a flat tire, sudden illness, etc. Way too many hugged their wives, husbands, and children goodbye for the last time.

Even all these years later, it is difficult to watch the news reports from that day as one always has a wistful thought in the back of their mind about ‘maybe the ending will be different THIS time’ . . . but it never is and tears are often just as poignat and sorrowful as the first time we witnessed this news.

The Red, White, and Blue . . .

My mother was an immigrant to the United States. She arrived after the end of World War II and found a job within a few weeks of arriving. She already spoke English in addition to her native language but spent her life perfecting it to the point that she could read, write, and speak in either language with profeciency.

With marrying her American solider she met during the war and raising two children, getting her fees together, finding sponsors, and learning the history of the United States, it was quite a few years until she earned her citizenship in America.

I was still in grade school when she was sworn in as a citizen but remember it clearly. The room was crowded with applicants, sponsors, and families with an air of anticipation and gratitude for the event about to unfold. Before my mother became a citizen, she would stand for the American Flag but wouldn’t pledge to the flag which often angered my father. She explained that she couldn’t do that to her homeland, which she still loved, until she was actually a citizen of the United States. At the end of the citizenship ceremony, the entire auditorium of people stood up and pledged their allegiance to the flag including my mother for the first time in her life and with tears in her eyes for officially leaving her homeland behind and the joy at embracing the fact that she was now a citizen of the country where she had been living and working for years already.

I know that this is why I get so frustrated and sad when people don’t always consider the magnitude of foregoing the country of their birth and asking for permanent entry into what I consider the greatest country on earth. The disrespect we are seeing more and more these days is horrific as it comes from people who put labels on events in the history of this country out of context and deride and demean the very land that gives them the right to make such statements even if they are so wrong.

Basically, if you become a citizen for convenience without an ever-growing love that will eventually surpass the care you had for your place of birth, you aren’t grateful enough for what you have been given.

Praying for Our President and Country

For Wisdom During U.S. Presidential Elections

God of Justice,
Protector and Redeemer,
Grant guidance to our nation
As we select leaders,
Senators, Congresspersons and a President,
The men and women who promise
To uphold the Constitution,
To uphold our values,
To serve and to govern,
To bring prosperity to our land,
To protect our homes and secure our future.

Grant wisdom and courage to voters
To select a visionary President
And steadfast leaders,
People who will serve our citizens,
And all who reside within our borders,
With honor and integrity
To forge a flourishing and peaceful future.

Bless our future President with
Wisdom and strength,
Fortitude and insight,
Balanced by a deep humanity
And a love of peace,
Leading us to a time
When liberty and equality will
Reign supreme throughout the land.

God of Truth,
Source and Shelter,
Grant safety and security to all nations,
So that truth and harmony will resound
From the four corners of the earth.
Let the light of our U.S. democracy
Shine brightly,
A beacon of hope
For every land and every people.

© 2016 Alden Solovy and http://www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved. This prayer is based on “For Wisdom during Democratic Elections.”