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Rod in action at The Riverton Rendezvous, July 2001.
Photograph courtesy Jay Hagan.
A Thought for Today
Love, the veteran of all wars, wins more
battles than the sharpest sword.
Tuesdayís crimes against
America were attacks on all of civilization. Watching the awful images
glide by on television and realizing the terrible cost in human life and
what itís done to the worldís collective conscience and psyche was one of
the worst experiences of my life. I know all of you feel the same as I do
and to those who lost someone you knew or loved in the carnage I send my
sympathy and love.
Two people I knew perished in the carnage. One was a passenger on American
Airlines Flight # 11 when it crashed into the north World Trade Center
tower; the other was a crewmember of United Flight # 93 that went down in
All day as I surfed channels and picture after picture became imprinted on
my mind I kept thinking, ďwhat can I do? How can I possibly make a
difference when something this catastrophic happens as I sit helplessly
thousands of miles away transfixed by what Iím seeing and unable to
totally comprehend it?"
For those of you who may have the same feeling of helplessness Iíve
started making a list.
WHAT CAN I DO?
ē Support the president and
the country. Heís our president; our leader in this is our country.
Partisanship and politics mean nothing in times like these. All Americans
should speak with one clear voice and whatever our president in his wisdom
decides to do we should support him whole-heartedly. We are very lucky to
have so many friends in other countries around the world offering their
condolences and support during this latest trial. Adversity always shows
us who our friends are.
ē Give blood. No matter where you live the blood supply is lower than it
has ever been. Despite the encouraging pictures TV shows us of people
lined up to donate blood, the need goes on. We are in the midst of one of
the greatest shortages of whole blood and plasma in the nations history.
In most cities there is less than a weeks supply of blood on hand. So make
donating blood a habit.
Donít call 911 for information on where to go to be a donor. Those lines
are clogged and overburdened and badly needed for real emergencies. Call
your local Red Cross or one of these numbers.
ē Pray. Whatever your faith Christian, Jew, Muslim, belief in a higher and
benevolent power always helps us through tough times.
ē Let those close to you know how much you love them. None of us are sure
of the duration of a life and thatís all the more reason not to let a day
go by without some word of love being spoken to those we love. Most
important, if you can help it, never let the sun set on a quarrel.
ē Donít overreact. Yes, we saw images of people in Middle Eastern
countries dancing in the streets celebrating the terrorist acts, but these
were pockets of bigots and zealots. This behavior hardly represents the
Arab view toward Americans. Most people everywhere are no different in
their feelings about terrorism than you or I. Donít stoop to the level of
the fanatics by singling out someone you may perceive as being different
to vent your anger on. Arab Americans continue to give much to this
country. Mormon, Methodist and Muslim Americans all pull their share of
the load. Despite the excuses the monsters that commit these heinous crime
use we must never allow ethnicity or religion as a frame of reference for
ē Call a friend. Make a special effort to get in touch with someone you
havenít talked with in a long while. There arenít that many people in our
lives we really get close to and as we grow older distance comes between
even the closest of friends. Be the one to narrow the distance by picking
up the telephone.
ē Practice brotherhood. Iíve said it often; weíre all weíve got. We are
all one big family and you are your brotherís keeper.
ē Think about public service. Everyoneís busy, but none of us are so
totally occupied with Ďimportant businessí that we canít afford to give a
couple of hours a week to benefit others. It may sound like a clichť, but
you always gain more than you give by helping others.
ē Talk to your children. Their heads are filled with questions about
everything and many of those queries go unasked and thus unanswered.
During difficult times the franker, more honest and intimate your
conversations with your children are, the better. Look upon this tragedy
as an opportunity to talk with your kids about difficult subjects like
loss and fear and death.
ē Get to know your neighbors. Yes, there are people living on either side
of you that deserve more than a wave from the driveway or a greeting at
ē Donít let your life be ruled by fear. Stay alert, but stay human. A
little trust goes a long way toward overcoming fear. Think about your
freedom, appreciate it. Liberty doesnít come cheaply; think about those
who continue to put themselves on the line so you can live in this freest
of all countries.
And have you hugged your local cop or fireman today?
THE FINAL WORDS
My e-mail, The McKuen Message
Center & The Stanyan Message Board have been filled with messages
concerning the terrorist attacks. Some of them very personal and close to
home. The messages and mail have come from all over; Scotland, France,
Australia The Philippines, Greece, Korea, Mexico and states from Maine to
California. And, yes, there were words from New York and Washington D.C.
Here is a sampling.
Hello Rod, from war torn New York. It is amazing how
life changes in a few short hours. The world as we know it has once again
been changed forever. I watched from 50 miles away on the Robert Moses
Bridge between the mainland and Fire Island, and saw clearly the smoke
billowing from the remains of The World Trade Center. The shock is still
with us so close to the devastation.
Once again we are forced to face the reality that the world is in dire
need of hope. Tonight will be a restless one, and we are definitely not
going gently into that good night. Peace to you and all. John Olsen.
Dear Rod, My
husband Bill and I take turns reading your flight plan to each other every
morning during breakfast. This morning was no different and it was his
turn to read aloud to me while I got him another cup of coffee, then he
left for duty at The Pentagon. He has been stationed there as a guard for
the past thirteen months. As an Army wife Iíve followed him through
several assignments and this was a step up because we have been able to
live in a beautiful Virginia suburb and itís almost like he has a nine to
I havenít heard from him since he left for work, which is not unusual
since we seldom talk during the day. But itís nearly 4:PM and I havenít
had any luck getting through by telephone to him, his office or anyone who
can tell me if he is OK.
Iíve been watching television all day with the terrible disaster images on
every channel and I guess I just wanted to write and share my worry.
Please pray for him, Rod and pray for us. In my heart I know everything is
all right and that about 6:15 or so heíll come through the door as he
always does. Love, Cathy
Dear Rod, I'm sure you have been following the unbelievable events. I am
actually in New Jersey and not sure when I am going where at this point.
The Marriott at the World Trade Center where we just had the big Dark
Shadows reunion is destroyed and I'm grateful this tragedy didn't happen
three weeks ago today while I was sleeping late on the hotel's top floor
or when we had 2,000 people in the ballroom audience.
I just had a lunch meeting down there yesterday with hotel executives and
was at the Marriott until mid-evening. It was an incredible relief when I
got word this afternoon they had evacuated everyone safely from the hotel
before the collapse of the towers on top of it.
I also heard from Paul last night that he had slipped into town for
Michael Jackson's final gig, but I was tied up with Petula sound mixing
session running late night. Now Paul is stuck in Manhattan, which is a
ghost town tonight.
I caught a train to New Jersey arriving after midnight and I am in no
hurry to go anywhere now. I think I'll probably stay settled until the
situation calms at the airports in a couple of days and then get back home
and plan on returning to Chicago in a week or so instead of going on now
as originally planned.
Working on projects has been of total disinterest today but hopefully
tomorrow I can focus better. How are you doing? I suppose Sunday's shaker
there has been totally forgotten by now?
I have spent so much time at the Trade Center over the years and
especially on these past few trips that I am not anxious to see the
devastation first hand. I donít see how New York -- or Americans as a
whole -- can ever be the same.
I will have hard time sleeping tonight. Love, Jim
needless to say, all has ground to a halt here. it's quiet and sad. Iíll
be in touch when we're all back in operation. hope you're well. xo, Amy
Dear Rod, I know three people who work at the Trade Center,
Two of them are very close to me and one of them, Charles Hanson, lives
with his wife Janet in my building. Like everyone else Iím in the dark
about what has happened to them. Charles works above the 70th floor so I
am very worried. I check on Janice every couple of hours since she wonít
leave her apartment in case the telephone rings.
A little while ago I took her some dinner but didnít stay with her since
she seems to want to stay alone and glued to the television set. I feel so
helpless. The whole city seems so quiet tonight. Thanks for being there.
this through a veil of tears. Today, September 11, 2001 is, to paraphrase
Franklin D. Roosevelt, a date which shall live in infamy, the United
States of America was savagely and viciously attacked by.....who?
This is a date none of us will ever forget. That which we all feared the
most, but didn't think would ever really happen, happened.
December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor
November 22, 1963: President Kennedy murdered.
April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated,
June 6, 1968: Robert Kennedy assassinated,
July 20, 1969: Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon,
January 28, 1986: The Space Shuttle Challenger Explodes,
September 11, 2001: America is Attacked.
A short while ago I said, while looking at television news, "Look at that,
the Pentagon is still burning." My son was quick to note how bizarre were
those words. "The Pentagon is still burning." Not here. Not in the United
States. It's the Middle East or Central America, but not here. Reality is
hell. The finality of the acts of terrorism today has yet to sink in.
We're all in shock. No one is talking about anything else. Joe M. Hayes
it is nice to
know that most of the world stands shoulder to shoulder by and with us in
this tragic time. Thank you and may God bless America and God bless us
I've been watching TV news and am in a state of shock... it's the worst
thing I've ever seen..... Ted
I've been watching CNN all morning. I cannot find the words to express my
horror and sadness at watching these terrible events unfold. My heartfelt
prayers go out to all. Nora
Dear Family and Friends, I watched the TV all day today, switching from
station to station for another look at the disaster. Finally tonight I
couldn't take it anymore so I turned it off and came in here to reach out
to all of you. I wish I had come earlier. After reading all the posts and
kind words from everyone all around the globe it filled me with a sense of
HOPE. It all comes down to each of us hanging on to hope and moving
straight ahead with our lives to show these people responsible for all of
this that our spirit can't be broken! God bless all of you and God bless
America. ((((LOVE and GRATITUDE)))))Storm
I watched the whole thing live on television, while so many of you were on
your way to work, or waking for the day....
I did not know what I was seeing when the first tower was burning..... it
was like footage from "Towering Inferno" some crazy unscheduled movie had
taken the place of my favourite show "The West Wing" and I was angry.
Then, in horror, I saw the plane slam into the south tower, and I said, as
we all do (even those who profess not to believe) "oh dear God, please
don't let it be true".... but it was....
I watched all through our night ... I just saw the President's address
live... the former President is here in Australia, and in shock.
My heart goes out to everyone.... including those who, by association,
will be condemned though innocent....
What makes me saddest is that this appears to have been perpetrated
somehow in the name of God.... whatever name or identity different
religions give that Source......
This is NOT Islamic fundamentalism - it is sheer insanity.
God Bless America God save us all I weep for the world. It changed forever
at 8.45 am EST. For what affects one man affects us all. Please God this
will not mean war. I weep for the world. Coral
I'm at work,
but unable to work. All I can think about is the horrible scene going on
in Manhattan and DC. All those lives, those poor people who got on planes
this morning headed for LA or wherever only to have their planes hijacked
and their lives ended.
For all the emergency workers who have lost their lives, for all those who
have lost loved one and don't know yet if those close to them are out of
harms way. For our leaders who must assemble and make decisions. For all
of those who are hurting today. All I can do is pray. Pray that God will
give them comfort.
ďIt makes me cry to see the things that some men do to one another. It
makes me cry to see the things that some men do. ď
A very sad, Rita
Dear Friends, At times like this one wonders how God can go on. To see the
murder and mayhem going on that is created by the very souls who exist
because of God must surely be heartbreaking. Although the people
responsible must bear the burden of their deeds - to speak of revenge is
to perpetuate the reason for it happening in the first place. We don't
need to fear the fires of Hell - Hell is right here on this planet. Only
love can ease the pain - only love can heal the broken hearts and spirits.
My heart is breaking for us all. Judy
I have been glued to the TV since 2pm this afternoon, and am at a total
loss for words to express the shock and horror I felt at watching those
terrible events unfold in New York and DC. It's so unbelievable, like
something from a Hollywood blockbuster.... but we all know how real and
truly awful it is. I really don't know what to say, but just wanted to let
my American friends know that my thoughts, love and sympathy are with you
all. I just hope they track down the people who did this and give them
what they deserve...... Very sad, Andrea
As I watched the horrible tragedies unfold in New York and Washington this
morning, my heart and prayers went out to the victims and all the other
citizens of those cities. Along with those cited by Linda, may I call it
to your attention that there is one New Yorker who is very important to
Rod and to the FP's--Wade Alexander. Please add him to your prayers today,
that he is safe and well and was not anywhere near lower Manhattan this
(Wade is fine. He was hard at work in his mid-Manhattan office and
unaware of what was happening downtown till a friend called him.)
I saw one good thing today that lifted my spirit, and I wanted to share it
with you. Scrolling across the bottom of our TV screens late this morning
was the message that the blood banks would be open late tonight and that
all blood collected would be sent to New York and Washington. As I passed
the blood bank trailer in my small town this afternoon, I saw at least 100
people patiently waiting in line to donate blood. It made me proud of
America and Americans--proud that we come together in times of tragedy and
try to help in whatever way we can. I hope that those of you who are
healthy enough to donate blood will think about going to your local blood
bank today and donating--for the survivors. Love and Hugs, Carol
I am saddened
by what has happened here. most people believed this could not happen to
us. I think a lot of peoples eyes have been opened today. my prayers are
for everyone. I also pray that we find who did this and kick their asses.
Maybe now the government will be a little more careful about who they let
into our country! may God have mercy on us all! L.
This is not
the type of commentary that we need now - remember that the last horrific
terrorist attack in this country was committed by a blue eyed, blonde
haired, AMERICAN ex-soldier who lived here his whole life.
It seems the ones who are truly saddened enough to post prayers and
sincere thoughts are those who don't even live here. America will survive
this, but not by going out and randomly kickin' ass. And certainly not by
pointing our fingers at everyone who isn't an American citizen.
I cried today - for my country and for my species. And I came here and
cried again. Just one of the masses. Terri
I'm stunned! This has been a catastrophe of a magnitude unseen in America
since the Second World War. The loss of life will be enormous, and so
pointless and unbelievable.
I wept when I saw the World Trade Center Towers collapsing into dust. I
watched the first tower of the World Trade Center being erected when I
worked in midtown Manhattan all those years ago. After the bombing in
1993, I thought the towers were invincible. Nothing is forever it seems.
The view of the New York City skyline will never be the same, unless they
rebuild, and I hope they do. Unfortunately, there is no rebuilding lost
I am saddened beyond belief. Larry
I was at work this morning before I got the full impact of what has
happened in our country today. The number of people on our campus that are
indirectly involved because of family members living or working in New
York City and Washington, D. C. is unbelievable. One staff member has a
sister working at the Pentagon and has been unable to get any information
regarding her sister's safety or whereabouts. Another staff member has a
son working 3 blocks from the World Trade Center, who was on the street
watching the fire and decided to go inside and find a phone just seconds
before the building collapsed. Another staff member has a nephew working
in about the same area who walked across on of the bridges from Manhattan
because there was no other way out, two Professors who are with the
National Guard have been called to duty. Even so far away from the
happenings on the east coast, we have felt and heard the anguish today.
May God be with us all, and my prayers for all the families who have lost
Flags on our campus are flying at half-mast today. Televisions have been
hooked up in all hallways for staff and students to keep up with the
latest news, and our two satellite classrooms are hooked up to the latest
coverage also, so that we are, even so remotely involved, able to see and
feel the horror extended upon our country this morning.
My love and prayers to all, Linda
I can't believe the pictures that I am seeing on my television. My
thoughts are with everyone in the U.S at this tragic time.
with deepest sympathy from Scotland. Shona
trying to come to terms with the extent of this tragedy. We across the
Atlantic send the people of America our heart felt sympathies and pray
more than anything that those responsible are punished for their
God, Rod; Are you in as much shock as I am? Iím devastated over the
terroristís destructions of the buildings and the barbaric and merciless
murdering of thousands of lives today. We go to bed and the country of the
United States of America is fine, and then we awaken to hell. I just do
not understand why there must be evil people filled with such hate and
I am crushed. In my life of forty-nine years, I have gone through or seen
the effects of World War II, the Viet Nam War, the Persian Gulf War, and I
had seriously prayed that my lifetime and others would not have to see
another war and its effects. I do not believe in war, as you don't, but to
stand passive in a situation as this, would not be the right thing to do,
would it? God help us all. With Love, Sharon
I've been watching CNN all morning. I cannot find the words to express my
horror and sadness at watching these terrible events unfold.
My heartfelt prayers go out to all. Nora
This day will
change our lives forever. We will not be the same as before. There will
always be that little fear that it could happen again. But, we MUST stay
strong for each other and our nation. God bless each one of you and God
Bless America! Storm
Of far more
importance than the World Trade Center Towers, will be the enormous loss
of lives. Sadly, there is no way to rebuild those.
This horrific act of terrorism makes all of us feel vulnerable, and
totally helpless and ineffectual. And all of this loss of life - to what
purpose? They will pay for what they've done; of this I'm certain. Larry
Dad. This day is definitely one of the saddest of my life thus far. The
senselessness of these acts is beyond my comprehension, beyond anyoneís
comprehension. I work in a large hotel in downtown Calgary and we were
extremely busy due to the fact that nobody can leave the city. The mood in
the city is somber and everyone is in a state of disbelief. My initial
reaction was denial and now I'm just tired and sad. I got home from work
and immediately called both my boys. Dylan wanted me to go over there (and
believe me I wanted to)- he does understand the magnitude of this. Chase
is in his world of beginning Kindergarten and being a little boy.
I would love a copy of "Being 4 Years Old" if you still have it.
When I heard that this unthinkable brutality occurred in New York, I
thought of you and your love for the city. I found myself checking out the
message center, knowing that you would be posting something about what
happened. Sorry for your loss. You do have your memories of good times-let
them help get you get through the grief. Glenda
is a photograph taken July 3, 1998 of my daughter Jamiann in front of The
World Trade Center. She said to me today; "I just can't believe we will
not see those buildings as we approach Giant Stadium on our way to New
They were just buildings...but they were filled with wonderful loved ones
who will be greatly missed by their friends and families... as were the
airplanes. Love, Diane Jardami
was the first day in our new lives. Those of us who have survived it, that
is. How did you feel that first moment? Hours later? Now? How will you
face tomorrow? I first felt fear. Hours later, anger, helplessness. I
wanted to join the army, sign up with the Red Cross, donate blood, drive
to New York to help. But instead, like most Americans, I sat in front of
my television, watching CNN in total disbelief. All of those emotions
running through me, throughout this horrible day.
I feel a profound, overwhelming sense of grief. So many lives. Itís just
God Bless our country, its people, and our President. And God be with all
of those innocent victims of this tragedy. I wish for world peace, but it
won't come without retaliation. I pray our decisions we make, as a nation
for the next few weeks, will be the right ones. God be with all of you and
Much Love, Randi
This is a world-shattering tragedy. I can only hope that it brings
together the forces of good and that together we can overcome all
adversities. My love and thoughts are with you all.
Jill (Sydney, Australia).
Ann Berzinsky sent me this sad
and very moving in its brevity e-mail yesterday:
Nan died at 8:30 this evening. A small tragedy in a day filled with huge
tragedy. I miss her...
Nan Peden was a lovely young woman I met on line and later face to face
after a couple of the David Gallagan shows I participated in. She was part
of the A Safe Place to Land family and will be greatly missed by many who
knew her on and off line. She was kind, funny, thoughtful and a very
endearing human being. It is no small tragedy to those of us who loved
her, including Ann, Sonja and Keith. Our sorrow, love and warmest thoughts
go out to our friend and her loving husband David.
Things will get better, they always do. Iím scheduled to take off for
Denver tomorrow morning with a connecting flight to yet another
destination. Iím not looking forward to flying or to leaving home at this
particular time, but itís a short trip and Iíll be home next week. Sleep
- RM 9/12/01
Details of Rod's next
appearance can be obtained by following the link below.
Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman