September 11, 2006

Honor and Remembrance - September 11th 2001

Remembering Christopher Dunne... one of many we think of this day...

What words do we use when words are not enough? What words can we use when words cannot express? What words can you use to remember what you can not forget?

Tragedy and grief lead us to ask why and how of God in angry terms. Senseless loss makes the scales seem so unbalanced, with our grief and terrible ache against acts of evil men, we often want some greater meaning for something the exacts such a terrible cost. Yet we find our way home to those we miss when we don't look for meaning in their passing, but realize we find meaning in their lives. When we think of the loved and lost, it is not their end we recall, rather we think of who they were, and how they made our lives fuller for having been part of it. They are not remembered best as victims of 9/11, but as parents and spouses, neighbors and old friends, a kind face seen in passing.

It is in this spirit of remembering the lives, not the passing, of those who left us on September 11th, that I speak today about Christopher Dunne. I don't know if he preferred Chris or Christopher, but my guess having learned just a small amount about him is he'd have been happy with either, and his friends seemed to know him as Chris. We would proudly acclaim to be counted among such friends to him today.

Chris worked at Marsh and McLennan, Inc., an insurance brokering firm. Marsh and McLennan moved into the World Trade Center Tower One in 1998 - the last large block of space leased in the Twin Towers, taking floors 94 through 100. On September 11th, at 8:46 A.M., American Airlines Flight 11 was flown into WTC1, impacting floors 94 - 98 - the heart of Marsh and McLennan. Chris was one of hundreds of employees of MMC that were lost to us that morning.

Chris worked in tech support at MMC, in a job probably amazingly similar to mine - I too work in computer support, and I considered it somewhat poignant that Chris's name came to me to be spoken of on this day. Chris was 29 years old in 2001, the same age as my my younger brother, who was also 29 in 2001. My brothers name? Christopher...

These similarites make Chris more familiar to me, but I cannot say of course that I knew him, of what kind of man he was. Yet I feel I've come to know Chris somewhat through the comments of some of his friends who remembered him and expressed their thoughts about him at Marsh and McLennan's memorial page for Chris, especially the following:

Iím not exactly sure when I first started hanging out with Chris. When he began working at our company, he was relatively quite and kept to himself. He was only known as ďKhakisĒ since he wore khakis to work every day. All I know is that somewhere along the way, he started hanging out with us after work, became more comfortable, and started to show who he really was. And things were never the same afterwords.

Chris loved to have fun. He was always cracking jokes, always making sarcastic comments, or acting out a dialog between two different people by himself. When we went out, he would be the first to buy a round, and the last to go home. But what I really found amazing about Chris was that he seemed to be so comfortable in his own skin. The way you know some people hold back and donít completely show who they are, I never got that feeling from him. Iím guessing that if we could see the way he acted when he was at home alone, it would be the exact same as the way he acted around people. And being around that kind of person made me more comfortable, and allowed me to be freer around him.

Iíve never met a person like Chris before and I doubt I ever will. I am glad that I got to know him and will never forget his jocular spirit, unique sense of humor, and his kindness and openness. I miss him dearly.

But for a tragic fate, those who would have met Chris and become his friends still can come to know him when his memory is shared with us by those who knew him. And it is in the sharing that who Chris was stays with us. Each of us live on in the memories of those who came to know us and in whose lives we came to play a part. Chris stays with those who remember him, and those who never knew him still are influenced by his those who cherish how he enriched their lives.

I never had the opportunity to meet Chris in person, but everyday, sometimes two and three times a day I would talk to Chris. I miss him tremendously. I still talk to Chris...when I run, when it's quiet, in the early morning, when we are all together and laughing.

Thanks for making me laugh QA Manager Type Guy. I still remember your number.

It's not always easy to see the difference we make in the lives of others. Few of us realize how we enrich the lives of those around us, like Chris has. It isn't heroic intervention that makes the difference , it's the small things - a small kindness shown, a friend to listen, a helping hand, an easy humor eager for a smile.

There are three-thousand stories like Chris' today - and yet still only one for Chris. After five years, it is tempting to be melancholy, to be brought low with sadness, yet Chris didn't seem the type to want that - smile, he'd say. Laugh a little today. Remember the good times. When you do, I'm right there with you.

And pass it on...

We encourage you to read the stories of others like Chris today, of those who perished that day yet still touch the lives of those who knew them, and who's names we honor best when we celebrate all they brought to the lives of those who remain to remember them...

Posted by MEC2 at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2005

Holy Smoke

White smoke in sight, Catholics delight...

A new pope has been selected in a very short time in Rome - doctrinal guide and John Paul favorite Cardinal Josepth Ratzinger will now head the Holy See as Pope Benedict XVI. That's the 16th to those attending public schools...

While we are on vocal record predicting Ratzinger, we didn't publish it, so taking credit for insight at this point is a little unseemly - but not so unseemly we won't do it. Ratzinger seemed fast tracked to us - he was the enforcer for John Paul on doctrinal issues, and very visible at John Paul's passing. Some thought that perhaps a Latin American may win, considering the church's regional strength. But, the cards are still marked Made in Europe, and will stay that way for a while longer.

The new Pope has two pressing issues. First, the secularization of Europe. The great engine of Christianity has outgrown God. Most prosperous cultures do - excess and plenty remove us from the need of divine assistance, and our desires and whims make a God who expects moral restraint too much of a killjoy. So, with full bellies and a hedonistic appetite, Europe slides away from the church, and this at a time of notable Islamic immigration into many nations. In the long run, Europe will likely pull itself out of it's languid stupor, but in the interim, the Pope will have to navigate the best way to bring the flock around without stampeding it.

The second task ahead is the reclamation of the Catholic Church's moral authority. The shameful manner in which sexual abuse was shuffled about, muffled, and ignored cost the Church dearly in adherents and goodwill. Only an utter dedication to making sure that wrongdoing of any sort by the clergy is dealt with forthrightly can repair the authority of the church and regain it's voice to speak on moral issues. It's hard to hear a church preach about responsibility to God's word when it doesn't appear to take it seroiusly when dealing with it's very own.

Surely there are other sites with the full litany of things Pope Benedict will tackle. Of the more dogmatic variety, we'd argue strenuously for marriage for the clergy. If it was good enough for Mary...

A final word on what many have noted about Ratzinger's early youth in Germany, both as a young boy in the Hitler Youth and in the German army. Before we start judging what someone was before they came to their faith, it would do us well to examine the story of Paul for a little clarity...

Posted by MEC2 at 11:03 PM

February 14, 2005

Straightjacket Not Required

Popular Mechanics debunks the nuts who wallow in the shallow 9/11 conspiracy pool...

Popular Mechanics has a quality writeup debunking the most popular 9/11 conspiracies of the lunatic fringe of this nation.

This really is a must read - and while the hard core conspiracy believers always chalk up evidence debunking their conspiracy as part of it, those with connected lobes will appreciate that someone has taken the time to get to the bottom of some of the wackier aspects of those who can't let any opportunity to feed their anti-US government paranoia go by, even if that means propping up their house of cards on the bodies of the dead.

Posted by MEC2 at 09:27 PM

June 22, 2004

Suffer The Children

Not for the faint of heart...

I don't even know what to make of this article - the dispassionate, clinical matter-of-fact presentation, the sadistic and utterly selfish words reflected in it.

It shouldn't matter how you feel about abortion politics, there is an inhumanity present in this article that should make everyone recoil.

Posted by MEC2 at 08:31 PM

April 13, 2004

Meet the Press

Prez meets Press... no pins, a takedown, Bush wins on points...

Not alot on the conference - the President looks most at ease when talking about fundamental principals - right and wrong, good and evil, freedom and liberty.

And that's good for him. There will be a contrast between Bush, who hates details but seems to revel passionately in principle, and Kerry, who hates principle but seems to revel passionately in details.

Stark, but effective tonight. The panel of judges saw a solid intro, decent level of difficulty, hit most of the numbers but missed some of the subtler parts of his routine, but he nailed the dismount. Judges average 7.5, except the East German judge who scored it a 4.0...

Posted by MEC2 at 10:03 AM

March 26, 2004

Commission Omission

Postemptive demands for preemptive action...

What appears lost on many in the 9/11 commission testimony and aspects related to Iraq is not whether the Administration was predisposed to remove Hussein from power - it clearly was, and frankly, for good reason - but to see starkly contrasted so many who decry pre-emptive war in Iraq, yet are scourging policy makers past and present for a lack of the same pre-emptive effort in Afghanistan.

Are we to somehow believe that the Democrats who are excoriating the Bush administration over Iraq were somehow going to fall behind Bush in heading to invade Afghanistan in early 2001?

Are we to somehow believe that in 1998 the Republican leadership would without question endorse a land invasion in Afghanistan to attack Al Qaeda, and not loudly proclaim 'wag the dog' and decry the move as diversionary from Clinton's impeachment?

The fact of the matter is the political will to use American power to dispose of hostile regimes did not exist prior to 9/11. Some, such as Peggy Noonan, have argued that his is where leadership comes in, and indeed it does. And I'd like to think she's right. But I'm afraid she's not. Partisanship smothers most noble efforts in the crib.

The Bush administration learned this lesson - the Democrat party by it's nature is disinclined to learn it. But who doubts that had nothing been done about Hussein, at some point there would be a commission, with lots of overturned soapboxes for standing and handwringing, loudly declaiming that it was so obvious we should have removed Hussein from power, the signs were there, nothing was done... and all of the reasons given by the Bush administration to remove Saddam from power would have been recycled against it's own inaction. In short, you are damned if you do, and...

EDIT: Just noticed the title of Peggy's column... not sure if I should profess divine inspiration or fall back on great minds thinking alike...

Posted by MEC2 at 06:42 PM