- “All are architects of fate. So look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again.”
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from his poem “The Builders” US poet (1807 – 1882)
“I fear that all I have done is awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.”–Admiral Yamamoto after the Pearl Harbor attack, December 7, 1941
“All of a sudden there were people screaming. I saw people jumping out of the building. Their arms were flailing. I stopped taking pictures and started crying.” –Michael Walters, a free-lance photo journalist in Manhattan.
Politics are going to “take a back seat” or be forgotten about temporarily…maybe the last time before voting day (November 6)… in order to commemorate the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Both parties have promised to take down their negative ads in honor of the event and both candidates will honor in their own way this national memorial day. The legacy of 9/11 is that this attack has not changed the American psyche or has not dampened the spirit which lights their way.
President Obama has scheduled a moment of silence at the White House and a trip to the Pentagon, the target of one of four planes al Qaeda hijacked 11 years ago. Romney, meanwhile, is set to address the National Guard, whose members deployed as part of the U.S. response to the attacks.
The main event will be the ritual reading at New York’s Ground Zero of the names of the 2,983 people killed both on 9/11 and in the precursor to those attacks, the 1993 car bombing of the World Trade Center.
There will be moments of silence to mark the times when each plane hit and each tower fell, beginning at 8.46am local time
Let’s listen to Joe Biden’s speech (filmed by the British ‘Daily Telegraph’) in which he quotes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Builders”:
from The Seaside and the Fireside
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.
For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.
Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.
Joe Biden’s message as told through the eloquent poem of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is that everyone has a purpose in life and nothing is insignificant in the grand scheme of things no matter how great or small or public or private our contributions are. We should not underestimate the actions of those we love or those who have acted outside of the limelight. Our time is limited on earth therefore we should make the most of ourselves and contribute what we can to the rest of the world as this will constitute “one boundless reach of sky.”