Family Matters

Three years ago, my father had a series of two bad strokes that left him paralyzed and a shell of the man he used to be, physically and mentally.  One night during this time I was talking to my mother on the phone, and somehow we got on my Dad’s experiences during the Korean War.  He was 19 when that war broke out, and like everyone, his age he was drafted.  A few things about my father: he was an incredible runner, and got a track scholarship to Bishop Laughlin High School in Brooklyn (for various reasons we won’t go into here, he dropped out after a few years).  He was extremely bright and had a photographic memory; as did I (before 9/11 and copious amounts of drugs and alcohol ), my brother, and my two girls.  He was also one of the few Human Beings, less than one percent of the entire planet, who is immune to smallpox.

Immune, as in the guy could walk into a totally infected village in the deep jungle in Bolivia infested with smallpox, and walk out with absolutely not a care in the world.  They found this out when the standard smallpox shot that they gave all new inductees didn’t take…three times.  So what does all of this have to do with that conversation with my mother?  She sprang something on me that knocked me senseless: my father wasn’t really stationed in a motor pool in Fort Bliss, Texas (a place my father lovingly referred to as, “The worst Theater in the entire Korean War”).  Well, he was there sometimes…when he wasn’t busy traveling all over the world, in some pretty dangerous parts I might add…as a Courier for The Company.  Dad used to joke about how he could kill someone with just two fingers if he wanted to, and that one day he wanted to go back to Japan…then he’d quickly correct himself and say “go to Japan”.  The first airplane flight he was supposedly on (with the family on a trip to Disney World), he was absolutely terrified.  The guy was keeping that Flight Attendant busy bringing him Johnny Red all flight.  (He gave up drinking a number of years before and only had the occasional tipple now and then).  Now it all began to make sense to me.

You got a kid with a photographic memory, who can run like lightning, and is immune to smallpox.  Take him, and then train him to protect who he is with, and what he is carrying.  Get the hell in and then get the hell out.  His behavior on the plane was something I know only too well: he was having a flashback from something he’d rather not talk about.  The next time I visited with him in the hospital and there was no one in the room but me he and I, I asked him some questions and told him to say anything and only nod his head “Yes” or “No” as answers.  I’m not going into the details (for obvious reasons), except that it was true.  I asked him why he agreed to go along with their proposal.

“It was a choice…Courier or Korea.” he whispered in my ear.

On September 11th, I had no choice in the matter, nor did I have a choice in how my mind and body would react to that day.  Thankfully, I had the chance to get help for the PTSD; and the choice to sober up.  By taking those steps, I began to understand what happened to me and why.  I have a choice now in writing this Blog and speaking out against an Administration that has trashed the Constitution Of The United States as “just a piece of paper”.  I have a choice in getting the message out that we need to come together as not only Americans, but as Citizens of the World and as Human Beings.  I can pretty much wake up every morning and look myself in the mirror and have absolutely no qualms about what I’ve done the day before.  I can live with myself; there are those who probably cannot.

One of my relatives was also there on 9/11, in fact he actually worked for the Mayor; knew him intimately, and was in a position on that day and in the coming days to be privy to a plethora of information.  He saw three people die in front of him on the way to 7 WTC where they had the NYC Disaster Recovery Center…three .  I saw only bodies throwing themselves from the North Tower and it affected me; he actually saw three human beings have their lives end no more than 15-20 yards in front of him.  He has absolutely no problems with PTSD, nor has he sought any psychiatric help (to the best of my knowledge) in the past 7 years.  He exhibits absolutely none of the signs of the onset of PTSD, and to the best of my knowledge isn’t a raging drunk or uses any illegal drugs…then again, no one would have thought the same of me.  (He is on my Dad’s side of the family, and that’s where that gene resides.  Out of 10 cousins, 4 of us are alcoholics; 3 in recovery including myself).  I have absolutely no idea how he handles this every day; I have a hard time on my own.

Then it dawned on me why: because he knows the truth about what happened on that day.  He knows all the details of the attacks, the response and probably why the North and South Towers actually collapsed and why for no good reason 7 WTC after having no great damage suddenly collapsed.  In short, he holds the answers to every set of questions that I and millions of others want to know…and he’s not saying a damned thing…not even to me.  The only hint I ever got was “It’s better you don’t know; and what you DO know just  barely scratches the surface.”  He is no longer working for NYC, by the way and is in business on his own.  In fact, he was actually going in that day to hand in his resignation letter and he wound up being asked to delay that for a few months, which he did.

My relative is also involved with the community where he lives; he has political aspirations (Republican, of course).  I wouldn’t put it past him to have evidence stored somewhere that could further his political career if he needed to use it.  We recently had a very nasty exchange of e-mails lately where he accused me of “…giving up on life after 9/11”.  Well forgive me…I might have had a different view if I knew what the hell was really going on instead of being kept in the dark.  Some of us are more fragile than others; and according to my Psychiatrist, PTSD will occur sometimes years after an event; all it needs is the right trigger.  So he shouldn’t think he’s immune from this happening, and I sure as hell would never wish it on he or his family.

I haven’t given up on life; in fact, I’m just starting to really appreciate it and embrace it for the first time in 47 years.  I have a cause to which I am dedicated (writing my memoir and this blog; campaigning for justice; and to try and help to raise our Consciousness on the Net on other blogs similar to my own) and believe in.  What my relative knows could be best served by saying to hell with any oaths he took; just get the truth out there and be a real Patriot.  Stop this Country from being hijacked by Patriots in Wolves clothing; stop the course that this Nation (and the world) is on while there is still time.  But he won’t do that; he is too ambitious.  He is much more concerned about his own career, and is probably waiting right now just to see what faction will eventually win out in the GOP and throw his lot in with them.  He has taken the opportunity that was given to him to change the world and use it for self-gain; just like most politicians.  His soul has officially been sold, at a cost to valuable to even calculate.

While some of my family may be immune to virus and disease and have their own secrets, others have their secrets as well as immunity from something else:

A conscience.

“You shout in your sleep.
Perhaps the price is just too steep.
Is your conscience at rest
If once put to the test?
You awake with a start
To just the beating of your heart.
Just one man beneath the sky,
Just two ears, just two eyes.

You set sail across the sea
Of long past thoughts and memories.
Childhood’s end, your fantasies
Merge with harsh realities.
And then as the sail is hoist,
You find your eyes are growing moist.
All the fears never voiced
Say you have to make your final choice.

Who are you and who am I
To say we know the reason why?
Some are born; some men die
Beneath one infinite sky.
There’ll be war, there’ll be peace.
But everything one day will cease.
All the iron turned to rust;
All the proud men turned to dust.
And so all things, time will mend.
So this song will end.”

-Childhood’s End, music/lyrics by David Gilmour performed by Pink Floyd

In Memory Most Bright:  Rick Wright- 1943-2008  Shine on…