Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Glimpse at "That Day in September" by Artie Van Why

Tomorrow I will be posting my review of a fantastic book:  That Day in September", by Artie Van Why.  There are some subjects that I can't get out of my head for various reasons and I simply research them to death.  I currently have 8 books about the Berline Wall.  That is one topic I am passionate about.  I don't know how many books about 9/11 I own.  I can't tell you how much research I did on it for my own book.  I wish I'd had Artie's book when I was doing all of my research.  Instead of reviewing it today I am going to let you know why I agreed to review it, and then give you a glimpse into what you will find.

My reasons for agreeing to review this book.

My family used to say I had a gross fascination with the events of 9/11.  I would spend hours reading accounts and looking at pictures and videos.  It was not because I had a morbid side, although I think all of us do to a certain degree.  No, there was more to it.  It was to try to make sense of such senseless deed on that day.  If you’ve read my book “Steps to Courage” a fictional account of three teens in the Towers on 9/11 then you’ve seen how much those books affected me.  Ten months after 9/11 my husband and I accompanied our daughter, her dance team and other parents to a dance competition held in New York City.  Until that  event, I’d only wanted to go to New York City to see the Statue of Liberty.  I don’t like crowds and in all the movies I’d ever seen that is all that New York City was, I thought.  Our principal made arrangements for us to be in New York for ten days.  It is an experience I’ll never forget.  We  went to ground zero.  We toured the streets around it and saw all of the memorials and the handbills.  I cried a lot.  Little things could set me off.  I actually took a photo of a fireman’s glove on the other side of the fence protruding from the ground.  There was no rhyme or reason to my photos.  I was not your everyday tourist taking pictures.  It was a healing process for me.  I brought my twenty disks of pictures back and shared them with my students that fall.  It led to my students creating a book of essays for the school library called “Compassion through Adversity”.  I wanted them to look at the ways people reached out to others after those horrible events.  They dedicated it to the family of my youngest sister’s former roommate who had perished in one of the towers.  We were all touched on that day.  My husband  Brad and I waited that day to hear from his sister.  She lived a few blocks from the Pentagon.  Brad’s cousin worked in the Pentagon and had stepped across the street a few minutes before the plane hit.  It was three days before we heard she had survived.  The memories of those days will never leave us.  What I fear most is that those young people like my incoming students will only know that terrorists flew planes into the buildings and a lot of people died.  They need to know about the heroes that day.  The ordinary people who helped comfort others on the street.  They need to know what it was like from eye witness accounts.  Not because they are morbidly curious, but because they need to know what vile things man is capable of and  learn from it.  It is for all of these reasons I agreed to read and review Artie’s book “That Day in September”.    

Here is an excerpt from his book titled, “Reflection” copied with  the author's permission.  After reading it ask yourself how many of these thoughts had gone through your mind.  Then, come back tomorrow and read the review of his book.

I want it to go away.  I don’t want it to have happened.

But it won’t, and it did, and I was there.

I wanted to catch that falling man with the flailing arms and legs.

But I couldn’t, and I didn’t, though I was there.

I wanted to be a hero, doing more than I humanly could.

But I wasn’t, and I didn’t.

I wanted to stay there, in the street, not afraid.

But I didn’t, and I was.

I wanted to be there through the end.
            But I wasn’t.

I wanted to stay and recue.

But I didn’t.

I wanted to be more injured, more dirty, more at risk.

But I wasn’t.

I want to imagine being buried, being missing, being gone.

But I can’t.

I want to know why I survived, and other’s didn’t.

But I don’t.

I want it never to have happened.

But it did.

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