17 June, 2009

Emotional Roller-Coaster

Just a short blog today. My family and I have been on vacation for the past week. We've been to Gettysburg, New York City, Philadelphia and we are wrapping up the whirlwind tour yesterday and today in Washington D.C.. It has been an interesting trip. As we've visited these places, I've laughed, cried, rejoiced and gotten mad. My heart just ached as I saw the unbelieveable amounts of homeless sleeping in the streets and subways. I could not hold back the tears when I witnessed a woman take an entire meal and throw it in the trash because her daughter changed her mind about what she wanted, so she went and got her another meal. As soon as she walked away from that trash can, a man reached down into it trying to retrieve the burger and fries that had spilled out into the trash. My emotions just went out of control and I found myself wishing I was wealthy so that I could help these people. Last night as we walked back from the Washington Monument, we passed dozens of homeless people making their place to sleep on the sidewalk, within eye sight of the White House, the Capitol Building and our nations monuments. I'm thinking, "Something is wrong with this picture!" I wept as I saw a mother covering her small children as they lay down on the concrete sidewalk across the street from a 5 Star Hotel. It was just gut wrenching. Living in Galesburg, I have encounters with homeless folk, but not on this level. I could go on and on about all the homeless, there just are not enough words to express what I am feeling.

Actually, as I sat down to write this blog, I had no intention of writing any of the above, but I wanted to talk about an experience while touring one of the American History Museums yesterday. We saw so much that was interesting, even fascinating; but as we turned one corner, there was some of the wreckage of the World Trade Center, and a display set up telling of that fateful day of 9-11. As I stood there and looked at the twisted metal, I began to feel sick to my stomach and then anger welled up in me and then I began to choke up and I had to fight back tears. Looking at these images with my wife and kids, who are now almost 19 and 16, all of the emotions I felt almost 8 years ago resurfaced. I experienced the heart break all over again as in my mind I watched my then little boys body tremble and shake as he stood before the television sobbing uncontrollably and he fell into my arms and said, "Daddy, I didn't know people could be so cruel." That day, my little boy lost his innocence. He's never been the same. Neither have I, nor any of us here in America. As we've toured the various sights and gone through the tight security at so many, I've said several times, "This is what the terrorists wanted. They've won." They have stripped us of something that will never be returned.

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