A decade on, it is so important to remember. This is how I will be spending 9/11.
“Nearly 200,000 mothers have watched their child go off to war since the tragedy of September 11th, 2001. Some of them have supported their child’s patriotic service and sacrifice with pride, while others have condemned the war and its cause, angry at those responsible for sending their loved ones across the world to fight. But all of these mothers—regardless of their political sentiment or affiliation—share a common connection: the unmistakable longing for their child’s safety and the powerlessness they feel for an inability to protect and shelter them any longer.”
All of us can imagine, if we dare, what it must be like to have a child go to war (or any close family member), but it is impossible to know the full gamut of feelings, thoughts and beliefs that were powerfully displayed in this award-winning screenplay that I witnessed last night – unless you’ve walked in their shoes and endured their sacrifices and loss, too. For that very reason many of us push it far from our minds. War is almost like a movie – something we’re desensitized to, and don’t give enough thought to the realities of, when it doesn’t touch us personally. THAT is why this work is so very important. I wonder, if we all knew the true price of war, if we would have so many?
That is not to downplay the principals or immense valor of these children who have fought for our country and safety. Sometimes war is unavoidable. 9/11 and the 3200 plus lives lost right before our eyes taught us all we are not invincible, that there are very real threats to our existence, and my heart goes out to all the families who lost loved ones that horrendous day, ten years ago. We do, however, each have a responsibility as citizens to stay abreast of current developments and make sure our children are not put in perils way without just cause.
Of course the caliber of talent giving life to these very brave real mothers was beyond phenomenal (and as a former actress, absolutely exhilarating to watch). Frances Fisher, Maria Kanakaredes, Elizabeth Pena, Lynn Whitfield, Lainie Kazan, Jean Smart, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Mimi Rogers, Christopher Callen, Randy Mulkey and Micahel Rachlis worked their thespian magic to turn a mere reading into a stunningly real, dynamic performance that made me giggle at times, raised the hair on my arms at others, and of course had me sobbing too. But when producer/directer Angeliki Giannakopoulos asked the parents of one of the women, whose life the screenplay is based upon, to stand up in the audience I totally lost it – I wondered how it must have felt to have her son and her own bravery honored in this way. I wanted to hug them and thank them, and tell them I will never forget.
I highly recommend seeing a screening and/or buying the DVD. It will change the way you listen to the news reports forever. All proceeds from the two-day production are to benefit the Fisher House Foundation, “creating a ‘home away from home’ for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease, or injury.” Click here if you would like to donate to Fisher House, and help military families through some of their toughest days.
I would also like to remind you there are many, many mothers right now that are also going through the nightmare of feeling powerless over being able to feed and protect their children as East Africa suffers the worst drought in decades. Next Sunday, Septemeber 18th, I will be cooking in unison (and available for advice and support all day on facebook) with many generous souls who have volunteered to employ the Personal Chef Approach™ to cook for friends in exchange for donations to the Children’s Hunger Relief Fund. Please contact me (info at julieannerhodes dot com) if you would like to participate, or would like more information before donating.