September 11, 2001 Remembered 
September 11, 2001 started out as just another day in paradise. I was up at five in the morning and checking my email on AOL. There was a message from Deszo, my friend of many years in Hungary. I sent a quick response off to his latest query. 

Back at the AOL's main screen the headline "Terrorist Strike New York" caught my eye. I clicked on it. What followed was incomprehensible. I was numb. The thought of ten thousand plus dead sent a chill trough my very soul. 

It was now mid morning. I had been on the computer for hours. My eyes were tired and my heart ached. It was time for me to head down to the nude beach if my usual patterns of behavior were followed. It obviously wasn't a usual day but I did not know where to turn. I thought the tranquility and ambiance of the nude beach was not a bad idea.

I grabbed my beach bag and headed down to Little Beach at Makena. The world famous nude beach on the island of Maui. 

The beach didn't seem to have many people on it. I wondered if I was earlier than usual or people were not coming. 

Down the beach I saw my friend Windy and her new love. 

"What do you make of what is happening today?" I asked when close enough to speak in normal conversational tones.

"Just the usual, Why do you ask? What is happening?"

"Two planes have crashed into the World trade center and a third has crashed into the Pentagon."

"OK where are you going with this... Did you hear the one about the woman who was electrocuted ..."

Windy was giving me the lead in to a joke I often tell where a women is electrocuted by  a current in a fruit cake she had sat on. It was apparent that she construed my statements as far fetched and obviously the preface to some sort of black humor.

I pondered my own words. "Two planes into the trade center and a third into the Pentagon."  Clearly the idea was implausible at best and would take a lot of explanation to make believable under any circumstances.

"You do not know! I am not joking. I know it sounds crazy and that I am making it up but it has just happened. Two planes have crashed into the trade center. They think ten to fifteen thousand people may be dead in the collapse of the two buildings. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon. Hundreds have died there. There is talk that the two situations are related."

We talked and we talked. We tried to find meaning in the unimaginable. We couldn't. We pondered our surroundings and let the washing of the waves on the sand soothe us. Cultures may be clashing elsewhere but we were thankful and grateful that we were where we were.

The anniversary of September 11 will find me on the beach. A solitary candle burning brightly amongst the old lava at the far end of the beach. I will remember the dead of a year ago and also those that have been added to the list. I wonder what the true figures are. Trade center number count is around three thousand. How many Afganistans have added their blood? And how many more will there be before the dove sleeps in the sand. The waves gently pound on the beach and I know the answer is blowing in the wind.

George R. Harker, September 11, 2002




 P.O. Box 1137, Kihei, Maui, HI 96753


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