My dad was born on 9/11/1926. He died in 1986 and although I still miss him and would like to send a hearty ‘up yours’ to the damn cancer that took him out, I am glad he didn’t have to see 9/11/2001. Until that horrid day, 9/11 had always been a specially wonderful day for my family. The day commemorated the life of an amazing man – a great teacher, a great person with whom to argue politics across the dinner table (it got pretty heated – he was a William F. Buckley disciple and I really did believe that love is all you needed).
He taught art to thousands of people over the years, and instilled an appreciation in those folks who HAD to take Art Appreciation to graduate college. Even now, over 20 years after he died, I still have people coming up to me telling me how much that art class enhanced their lives and how going to an art museum was an event to cherish rather than an obligation because of the enthusiasm of a man in front of a classroom.
He taught me a lot more than art. His actions spoke volumes and his words were well chosen. He was forever modest and as stalwart and loyal as any man who has walked this earth. One of my great regrets is that my kids didn’t really get to know him. He laughed until he cried at the 3 Stooges and told me that if you ask the man at the soda fountain to put a little vanilla in your coke it really makes it a lot better…things to prize when you are six years old. More importantly he showed me that it’s your duty to get up, suit up, and show up (and often a virtue to ‘shut up’).
9/11/2001 was a gut punch, a toxic shock and so much more. Of course, I’ll never forget my dad, and even though I’ll always celebrate his memory, those bastards stole the day.