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Stand up for America

3,031 large flags in Utah. A reverent silence prevails in this eerie representation of those who died on Sept. 11th.

Utah remembers the victims of September 11, 2001

I never heard or saw anything about this in the media.   I was going to the bank when I saw this.   I went home, got my wife Linda, and came back with a camera.   Below is my best, though inadequate, attempt to share the experience with you.....

(photographer unknown, photo adapted to single image by Rory Ann Porter, 1/14/03)

  The above picture was taken on the mall in front of the Sandy, Utah City hall.  Scroll sideways to see the whole thing.  I pasted the photos together to try and help show just how big this thing was, but even with that, the photos don't do it justice.   There was very little publicity about this, but it was a real traffic stopper.   People would park and get out and walk among the flags.   Some brought bundles of flowers and left them at the base of a flag.   Others came together and just hugged each other hard in the silent memory of the terrible loss that we suffered one year ago.   We all know over 3000 people lost their lives, but seeing this display, and walking among it, helps put perspective on just how big a number that is.

Close up of the one of the signs placed around the perimeter of the display.   There were also some international flags on display representing some of the various foreign nations whose citizens dies that day.   Interestingly, this whole display was done by a local company that manufactures and distributes flags and flag display equipment...and I saw not a single sign bearing their name in the display.   People walked through, and all you could hear was the sound of the flags blowing in the breeze.   A reverent silence prevailed over the display as those who came each reviewed his or her experiences of that fateful day a year ago.

I saw many families while I was there.   It was hard watching adults struggling to cope with their own emotions while caring for children who were far too young to understand the significance of the flags around them.  To the credit of the children, I didn't see any who could not somehow sense that this was a special place.   For a few moments, everyone who came, young and old, male and female, families, and even a group of mentally handicapped individuals stopped their busy daily lives to remember.   If those who caused this pain only knew how much stronger we have become, and how terribly their comrades have paid, and will continue to pay, for this horrible crime, I wonder if they still would have done what they did.

It's hard to picture mentally just how big this thing is.   As I walked among the rows, I was reminded of rank on rank of soldiers standing at attention, guarding us even now.

Some brought flowers, small flags, notes etc. The flags didn't have individual names on them so I don't know how people picked out where they would leave these tokens as they experienced their own memories and grief.   For anyone who has ever shed a few tears at THE WALL (the Vietnam Veterans memorial in Washington DC) or during the changing of the guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, VA, this display is every bit as moving in its sheer power to remind those who come of just how deeply we all experienced the cowardly attack on innocent civilians in our own homeland.

We parked about a block away to get in and experience it up close.   We weren't the only ones as you can see.

To nobody's surprise there were protestors today in DC, they attempted to disrupt the metro system and block the Key Bridge, a leading artery into DC from Northern Virginia. I got hosed twice because I come in from NoVA on the metro and it is raining hard which makes traffic worse the point--

    I got off my train in Rosslyn because I had to use the bathroom. When I was getting back on the train, there were protestors on the train platform handing out pamphlets on the evils of America. I politely declined to take one. An elderly woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20ish) female protestor offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined.

    The young protestor put her hand on the old woman's shoulder as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice said, "Ma'am, don't you care about the children of Iraq?"

    The old woman looked up at her and said, "Honey, my first husband died in France during World War II so you could have the right to stand here and bad mouth your country. And if you touch me again, I'll stick this umbrella up your ass and open it." 

I'm glad to report that loud applause broke out among the onlookers and the young protestor was at a total loss for words.


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