Welcome at the Rainbow Bridge - Sept 11, 2001


by Alexander Theodore, Bouvier, Fourth Year Resident


On the morning of September 11, 2001, there was an unprecedented amount of activity at the Rainbow Bridge. Decisions had to be made. They had to be made quickly. And, they were.

An issue, not often addressed here, is the fact that many residents really have no loved one for whom to wait. Think of the pups who lived and died in hideous puppy mills. No one on earth loved or protected them. What about the many who spent unhappy lives tied in backyards? And, the ones who were abused. Who are they to wait for?

We don't talk about that much up here. We share our loved ones as they arrive, happy to do so. But we all know there is nothing like having your very own person who thinks you are the most special pup in the Heavens.

Last Tuesday morning a request rang out for pups not waiting for specific persons to volunteer for special assignment.. An eager, curious crowd surged excitedly forward, each pup wondering what the assignment would be.

They were told by a solemn voice that unexpectedly, all at once, over 4,000 loving people had left Earth long before they were ready. All the pups, as all pups do, felt the humans' pain deep in their own hearts. 

 Without hearing more, there was a clamoring among them - "May I have one to comfort?" "I'll take two, I have a big heart." "I have been saving kisses forever."

One after another they came forward begging for assignment. One cozy-looking fluffy pup hesitantly asked, "Are there any children coming? I would be very comforting for a child 'cause I'm soft and squishy and I always wanted to be hugged." A group of Dalmatians came forward asking to meet the Firemen and be their friends. The larger working breeds offered to greet the Police Officers and make them feel at home. Little dogs volunteered to do what they do best, cuddle and kiss.

Dogs who on Earth had never had a kind word or a pat on the head, stepped forward and said, "I will love any human who needs love."

Then all the dogs, wherever on Earth they originally came from, rushed to the Rainbow Bridge and stood waiting, overflowing with love to share - each tail wagging an American Flag.

Unknown — One


As the soot and dirt and ash rained down,
We became one color.
As we carried each other down the stairs of the
burning building,
We became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting and hope,
We became one generation.
As the firefighters and police officers fought their
way into the inferno,
We became one gender.
As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength,
We became one faith.
As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement, We spoke one language.
As we gave our blood in lines a mile long,
We became one body.
As we mourned together the great loss,
We became one family.
As we cried tears of grief and loss,
We became one soul.
As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heroes,
We become one people.
We are
One color
One class
One generation
One gender
One faith
One language
One body
One family
One soul
One people
We are The Power of One.
We are United.
We are America.
This candle was lit on the 11th of September, 2001.
Please pass it on to your friends & family so that it
may shine all across America. "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle"
Land That We Love
Tears Now
Freedom Forever.


~ Author Unknown

Unknown — The Binch

~The Binch~

Every U down in Uville liked U.S. a lot,
But the Binch, who lived Far East of Uville, did not.
The Binch hated U.S! the whole U.S. way!
Now don't ask me why, for nobody can say,
It could be his turban was screwed on too tight.
Or the sun from the desert had beaten too bright
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
But, Whatever the reason, his heart or his turban,
He stood facing Uville, the part that was urban.
"They're doing their business," he snarled from his perch.
"They're raising their families! They're going to church!
They're leading the world, and their empire is thriving,
I MUST keep the S's and U's from surviving!"
Tomorrow, he knew, all the U's and the S's,
Would put on their pants and their shirts and their dresses,
They'd go to their offices, playgrounds and schools,
And abide by their U and S values and rules,
And then they'd do something he liked least of all,
Every U down in U-ville, the tall and the small,
Would stand all united, each U and each S,
And they'd sing Uville's anthem, "God bless us! God bless!"
All around their Twin Towers of Uville, they'd stand,
and their voices would drown every sound in the land.
"I must stop that singing," Binch said with a smirk,
And he had an idea--an idea that might work!
The Binch stole some U airplanes in U morning hours,
And crashed them right into the Uville Twin Towers.
"They'll wake to disaster!" he snickered, so sour,
"And how can they sing when they can't find a tower?"
The Binch cocked his ear as they woke from their sleeping,
All set to enjoy their U-wailing and weeping,
Instead he heard something that started quite low,
And it built up quite slow, but it started to grow--
And the Binch heard the most unpredictable thing...
And he couldn't believe it--they started to sing!
He stared down at U-ville, not trusting his eyes,
What he saw was a shocking, disgusting surprise!
Every U down in U-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any towers at all!
He HADN'T stopped U-Ville from singing! It sung!
For down deep in the hearts of the old and the young,
Those Twin Towers were standing, called Hope and called Pride,
And you can't smash the towers we hold deep inside.
So we circle the sites where our heroes did fall,
With a hand in each hand of the tall and the small,
And we mourn for our losses while knowing we'll cope,
For we still have inside that U-Pride and U-Hope.
For America means a bit more than tall towers,
It means more than wealth or political powers,
It's more than our enemies ever could guess,
So may God bless America! Bless us! God bless!

~ Author unknown

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty
I wonder what she thought 
As she stood there, strong and tall. 
She couldn't turn away, 
She was forced to watch it all. 
Did she long to offer comfort 
As her country bled? 
With her arm forever frozen 
High above her head. 
She could not shield her eyes 
She could not hide her face 
She just stared across the water 
Keeping Freedom's place. 
The smell of smoke and terror 
Somehow reduced her size 
So small within the harbor 
But still we recognized... 
How dignified and beautiful 
On a day so many died 
I wonder what she thought, 
And I wonder if she cried.

The Statue of Liberty

I wonder what she thought As she stood there, strong and tall. She couldn't turn away, She was forced to watch it all. Did she long to offer comfort As her country bled? With her arm forever frozen High above her head. She could not shield her eyes She could not hide her face She just stared across the water Keeping Freedom's place. The smell of smoke and terror Somehow reduced her size So small within the harbor But still we recognized... How dignified and beautiful On a day so many died I wonder what she thought, And I wonder if she cried.

Paul Spreadbury — Two Thousand One, Nine Eleven

Two Thousand One, Nine Eleven
By Paul Spreadbury

Two thousand one, nine eleven,
Five thousand plus arrive in heaven.
As they pass through the gate,
Thousands more appear in wait.
A bearded man with stovepipe hat
Steps forward saying,
"Lets sit, lets chat."
As they settle down in seats of clouds,
A man named Martin shouts out proud,
"I have a dream!" and once he did
The Newcomer said, "Your dream still lives."
Groups of soldiers in blue and gray,
Others in khaki, and green then say,
"We're from Bull Run, Yorktown, the Maine"
The Newcomer said, "You died not in vain."
From a man on sticks one could hear,
"The only thing we have to fear...
The Newcomer said, "We know the rest,
trust us sir, we've passed that test."
"Courage doesn't hide in caves,
You can't bury freedom, in a grave."
The Newcomers had heard this voice before
In a distinct Yankees twang from Hyannisport shores.
A silence fell within the mist,
Somehow a Newcomer knew that this
Meant time had come for her to say
What was in the hearts of the five thousand plus that day.
"Back on Earth, we wrote reports,
Watched our children play in sports.
Worked our gardens, sang our songs,
Went to church and clipped coupons.
We smiled, we laughed, we cried, we fought
Unlike you, great we're not."
The tall man in the stovepipe hat,
Stood and said, "Don't talk like that!
Look at your country, look and see
You died for freedom, just like me."
Then, before them all appeared a scene,
Of rubbled streets and twisted beams.
Death, destruction, smoke and dust,
And people working just 'cause they must.
Hauling ash, lifting stones,
Knee deep in hell, But not alone.
"Look! Blackman, Whitman, Brownian, fellowman
Side by side helping their fellow man!"
So said Martin, as he watched the scene,
"Even from nightmares, can be born a dream."
Down below three firemen raised,
The colors high into ashen haze.
The soldiers above had seen it before,
On Iwo Jima back in '44.
The man on sticks studied everything closely,
Then shared his perceptions on what he saw mostly.
"I see pain, I see tears,
I see sorrow -- but I don't see fear."
"You left behind husbands and wives,
Daughters and sons and so many lives.
They are suffering now because of this wrong,
But look very closely, you're not really gone.
All of those people, even those who've never met you,
All of their lives, they'll never forget you.
Don't you see what has happened? Don't you see what you've done?
You've brought them together, together as one."
With that the man in the stovepipe hat said,
"Take my hand," and from there he led
five thousand plus heroes, Newcomers to heaven,
On this day, two thousand one, nine eleven.

Salina Cousins — At Dawn's Light

I felt the need to share in my grief with words written from my heart on the great Tragedy that has come to America.

At Dawn's Light

The Sun rises over the East
Gray and black smoke spirals in the sky.
Glazed, confused, and saddened eyes just blink.
As a Nation struggles with how to say goodbye.
America and other Countries mourn,
For this horrific tragedy this past day.
The stark reality is spotlighted,
In the new light of the Sun's ray.
American Flight 11 and United Flight 175
Taken over by terrorist to fear.
Nothing could be done,
For the scheduled flight path, was to veer.
The Pentagon though scared
Hung a 3 story Flag to cheer.
And in reporter's eyes.
You could see that heartfelt tear!

Cell and air phone calls on United Flight 93
Really tell of the heroic deeds.
And at the Pentagon,
They follow all possible leads.
As the setting Sun
Lowers and glides to rest.
The American Flags wave proudly,
As we display our symbol, and crest.
With my Heartfelt Sympathy's

Salina R. Cousins

Patty Schramm — The Pile: A Tribute to the Fallen Heroes of 9/11

The Pile: A Tribute to the Fallen Heroes of 9/11


My brothers' souls are here
Beneath the pile at my feet.

I draw nearer to the candle,
My tears extinguishing its delicate flame.

My heart is heavy
With the burden of surviving.

One question always on my mind.
Why wasn't I there in time?

They tell me I'm the lucky one,
But I think they are wrong.

Luck is a relative term,
Looking into your fallen brother's eyes.

The flag still flies next to me,
Where we placed it that day.

A stark reminder to the world,
America - the strong - the brave.

My brothers' souls are here,
Beneath the pile at my feet.

As we pull them free, I pray
Please God, hold them close as they sleep.

Patty Schramm © 1/19/02

Linda Knighton — The Dance of Death

The Dance of Death

by Linde Knighton

Was it Yeats who called Ireland a terrible beauty?
The place where revenge wound from Protestant to Catholic
And back and back again, like intricate knotwork.

The wreakage at ground zero is like abscract art,
Sets for a modern dance that hurts, then grieves,
Then digs to find our common humanity inside.

The walls of loved ones are images,
Names from monuments turned to faces,
One proud, one handsome, one shy--
All beautiful these days.
Everyone's loved ones are precious.

Young people are going to enter the long,
Winding reel of revenge. Vietnam is still too
Raw in my memory. The broken men and women are not yet
All Mended. The wall in the other Washington is too long by far.
We have monuments enough.

Copyright 2001

Unknown — If I Knew

In memory of all those who perished; the passengers and the pilots on the United Air and AA flights, the workers in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and all the innocent bystanders. Our prayers go out to the friends and families of the deceased.


If I knew it would be the last time
That I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I could spare an extra minute
to stop and say "I love you,"
instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything just right.

There will always be another day
to say "I love you,"
And certainly there's another chance to say our "Anything I can do?"

But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day,
That you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today,
and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear

Take time to say "I'm sorry,"
"Please forgive me," "Thank you," or "It's okay."
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.

~ Unknown

F.M. Nicholson — The Couple



They held hands, it said
and jumped to their deaths.
They, two of many
caught amidst conflagration
without hope of rescue.

They held hands: a couple,
lovers, friends, newly met?
Bonded in an instant
to an eternity beyond
the hellish world
they felt at their backs.


It was a nightmare day
of senseless deaths,
when bodies rained
with glass and steel
and concrete crumblings
from a distant sky,
a terror too huge
to comprehend.


Yet, when I pause
they come again, dancing
within my mind's eye:
two people, innocent,
choosing to abandon fire
and take flight, holding hands,
namelessly bound together
even as all was lost.


F.M. Nicholson

Carolyn Burch — United


As the soot and dirt and ash rained down,
We all became one color.
As we carried each other down the stairs of the burning buildings,
We became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting and hope,
We became one generation.
As the firefighters and police officers fought their way into the inferno,
We became one gender.
As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength,
We became one faith.
As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement,
We spoke one language.
As we gave our blood in lines a mile long,
We became one body.
As we mourned together the great loss,
We became one family.
As we cried tears of grief and loss,
We became one soul.
As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heroes,
We become one people.
Now we are
One color
One class
One generation
One gender
One faith
One language
One body
One family
One soul
One people
We are The Power of One.
We are United.
We are America.
With love to all Americans, and all mankind,

Carolyn Burch

Anne Azel — A WTC Story

A WTC Story
by Anne Azel

People ask her what it is like down there. "It's alive," she tells them. That shocks. It seems disrespectful that she should talk of life in a scene of such devastation. Hundreds died here in just a short few minutes, their lives and names stripped away. It is her job to help give them back their names. To bring some closure and start the healing of their families' grief.

Mostly that meant identification work in the lab but sometimes, as a forensic expert, she has to be there to try to piece together what happened. To find answers for next time. There is always a next time.
"It is alive", she says. The mask and breathing apparatus do not seal out the stink. Behind the smell of the new plastic of her mask, there is the acidic-damp stench of wet cement, burnt plastic, smoldering fiberglass, and dust. It is the body odor of disaster. She knows it well.

She and the firefighters who will lead the way, get down on their knees one at a time. She wonders if they each pray. The words of prayer come uninvited to her lips. On hands and knees, she is a pilgrim entering a holy shrine. They follow the ropes, the veins that stretch from one level to another. Sometimes, they squeeze around metal girders or slide down dust covered slabs of concrete. The steel and cement are broken bones and muscles highlighted by their probes out of the darkness. Other times, they enter voids where life has frozen in a historic snapshot. A store, a desk, a newspaper stand - September 11th, an early morning edition that has missed the news.

She hears its life force. The steady drip, drip, drip of water, its heart beat. The groan and crack as stiff joints settle in more comfortable locations, and off in the distance still, the soft breath of fire.
She has touched a thousand dead and yet, she will tell you it is alive. She feels its pain and its struggle to survive. It's alive with a thousand souls, their lives, futures and dreams. It is a harsh reality down there but not a sad one. What is important was not killed. It will always be alive, this place, these souls, a monument to the price of freedom.

alwayslooking — Kamikaze


He was there,
My father,
In the seas
Off of Iwo Jima:
Staring fixedly
At a radar screen.
Searching for planes
With explosive force
Bent on colliding
With American lives.
Calling out warnings
Of impending doom.

Deep in his ship,
He could not see the men,
As the statue shows,
Pushing a flag upward,
High on the mountain -
Helmeted figures
Exhausted by the toil,
Claiming their surroundings,
Showing they'd won.

Now larger planes appear
In a once-friendly sky,
Explosively aimed.
I saw them there,
On the screen
Into which I stared
Fascinated, fixated,
Watching them collide
With American lives,
As intentional
As long ago,
When my father
Shouted of their coming.

But I could see the men,
As the pictures show,
Raising a flag upward -
Helmeted figures,
Dusty and exhausted,
On a pile of rubble
Above the carnage,
Claiming their humanity,
Refusing to lose.

And I begin to think
How odd it is
That, in the end,
My father and I,
Distanced by
Separated by
Time and Mortality,
Should share
Such a fearsome thing:
Should have both seen
Airplanes clothed
In destruction,
Promising death,
Leading nameless men
To signal the future
By raising on high
A battle weary flag.

© alwayslooking
Sept 22, 2001

Vickie Martino

I remember it was a beautiful day & the sky was clear. There was a hint of fall in the air. Then a co-worker said a plane had crashed into the WTC. No one thought about a terrorist attack. No one thought of the 1991 WTC attack. No one realized how the lives of so many in the NY/NJ/CT area would be changed. And the rest of the country & the world.

Many of us crowded into our boss' office to watch his tv. He was in our NYC office that day. Not much work was done that day. We all saw the 2nd plane hit. I was numb with horror. I knew people that worked there. And my company did record storage for many companies in those towers. Cantor Fitzgerald was one of them. People we had contact with on a daily basis died that day. I wondered about the people I knew personally. My good friend Mary, my cousin Joe & his wife, a cousins son Scott, a cousin's husband Tommy(a NYC fireman), & people I rode the LIRR with everyday until I left my NYC job, Janet, John & Arty. We watched both of the towers collapse. The city went into lockdown mode. No one in or out. Many of our trucks & drivers were there & couldn't get back to Long Island. Some were across the bridges in NJ & couldn't get back.

Mary died that day, as did Tommy & Arty.

Arty was always joking with me about the job he had as an electrician..that while we both might be on the 6:01am into NYC he would be on the 3:15pm home because he was a union man & I would be on the 5:25pm because I was an office worker. Funny man, who loved to play golf with his sons. Tommy left a wife & 2 young children..no one of his ladder company survived, and my good friend Mary didn't either. As we learned about the Pentagon being attacked a few speculated it was an act by an unnamed government & we waited for Pres. Bush to declare we were at war.

Mary's partner called me at work & we speculated about why M's phone wasn't being answered. But by Tuesday night we realized the horrible truth. Mary & almost 3,000 other people weren't coming home that night.

The wait that night was terrible but the days & weeks that followed as we waited for a positive identification was longer and more painful than could be imagined.

There were so many people that did survive..so many did escape. But it's the one's that didn't come home from work that day that will always be remembered.

My cousin & his wife missed their normal train ride because their 8 yr old son missed the school bus & they arrived at Penn Station after the 1st plane hit & found the subway wasn't running..John & Janet told stories of going down darkened stairwells & Scott will tell stories about forever being haunted by hearing & watching people jumping out of those towers rather than burn alive.

Our lives changed that day in so many ways. But as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches every year I don't sleep well. I wonder about all of the people that died that day.

I especially think about Mary a friend of almost 30 years. We are left with our memories of where we were & what we were doing that day.

Trish Shields — The Earth Stood Still

the earth stood still

got a phone call from a friend telling us to turn on the tv
we'd been asleep
it was just after 7:00 am
saw reports on the plane that hit the first tower
then the second one erupted
with the pentagon close behind

spent the day glued to the tv
each report more fantastic and harrowing than the last
not an aviation disaster
an assault on freedom of the highest magnitude
my wife cried herself to sleep

the second day fleshed out the truth - they had lived amongst us
walking the same streets, smiling the same smile
and all the while hating and plotting
I feel so cold and lost

discovered heroes come in many shapes and sizes
and in the most extraordinary places
riding a ready-made bomb like some rogue bull
but the reins were held by those who could make a difference

war is declared, invading my dreams
why sleep when pain and death is all I see?
but the country is too busy closing ranks to mourn
scurrying in orderly fashion
showing the world the beauty of a perfectly executed march
to the beat of a drummer echoing the response to 1941

watched a president cry today, the third day in hell
where pieces of dreams were mixed with blood and bone
shattered and spent all too quickly for one brief moment
when 'they' showed us passion and we showed them resolve

the tally mounts, the wreckage almost too horrible to contemplate
safer to simply look at the smaller pieces, lodging the rest in
the darkest recesses of our souls
'how could this be' and other questions boil to the surface
hatred lashes out, here and abroad
leaving such a dirty taste in my mouth
reducing the whole event to simply the act of a bully
there is no winning

four days of ash and pain now turn to hard steel
everyone in congress says his piece
peace just a word used before the eleventh
when such things were always possible
and now very improbable

president bush makes a point of walking slowly
from his helicopter to the white house
in full view, unafraid, undaunted
unwilling to be cowed
he cautions the world
a declaration is voiced, 'stand with us or stand against us'
there is no middle ground and my skin feels too tight

more information splashed across the screen
twenty men willing to die,
planning this destruction for a
long time, all under one man, his name conjuring up images
associated with hitler, saddam, khadafi
mindless despots who know nothing but pain
theirs and ours

dark clouds of ash and wreckage are highlighted
reducing life to merely a reflection of art
something with speilberg written all over it
- a circus of the surreal

people talk about how much worse it could have been
and bush says this war will not be fought easily or quickly
and I wonder how death and destruction can be measured
how right do we have to be before we are wrong?

my emotions are so raw, so bi-polar
wanting to strike out and yet understanding
that it only feeds the flames

I've left my bed though cnn has replaced the usual music
playing in the background
we are rarely farther away than the tv now
our eyes darting up from the crawl to the images on
the big screen, our hearts in our mouths
I try to get back into my routine after six days
but when I look into the clear blue sky
I see towers aflame
and only my tears are strong enough to erase
the image, my only solace the realization that
it didn't happen here, couldn't happen here
but knowing terrorism knows no flag
only a way of life

a week now and I'm still numb
how many tears can one person shed?
the feats of heroism match that number easily
and it's the only strength I feel these days

knowing it wasn't an isolated incident
not just aimed at the stars and stripes
but at the world according to freedom
has me very unsettled
life as we know it
all changed as we hold our collective breath
the world has moved on

(c) Trish Shields