September 11, 2016, Yarnell- I read, in this morning’s paper, about a Port Authority policeman, his experiences on September 11, 2001 and his wrenching aftermath- a life no one should have to live. He spoke of being knocked to the ground, after the second plane hit, the tower fell, and “souls passed through me.”
I believe the last part, having experienced my wife’s soul filling our bedroom, as she prepared to leave for the next life, 5 1/2 years ago. I know much of the rest: The buildings were physically hit by two airplanes; implosion devices, already in place since the towers were repaired after 1993, were triggered and brought the towers straight down; dozens of people jumped to their deaths, to avoid being immolated; there are over a thousand for whom there has never been any identification or accounting, as to their fates.
Fifteen years does not erase the horror anyone felt that day. Most, like me, watched incredulously, on television, as the engineers’ devices went off, automatically, saving tens of thousands more people from dying- as would have happened, had the buildings EXPLODED outward. Just as those who were alive during the attack on Pearl Harbor still have nightmares, on occasion; just as walking through Gettysburg, Auschwitz, Valley Forge in winter, can still give the average soul and eerie feeling, so I was off to a shaky start, just from reading a post by a friend who was in the first (1993) World Trade Center bombing.
My resolution was to go to this serene town, 25 miles southwest of Prescott, and itself the scene of one of our state’s worst nightmares, on June 30, 2013, when 19 wildland firefighters died in the Yarnell Hill Fire. I went to St. Joseph’s Mission and Retreat, and walked up the Stations of the Cross trail, revisiting another of history’s greatest horrors- the Martyrdom of Jesus the Christ. This place brings peace, because the love I feel for Christ, and for His Father, is primally soothing. As always, the walk brought me to a centered place, as I recited some Baha’i prayers, words which Jesus Himself would have given His followers, had they been ready to receive.
Terrible things will ever plague humanity, in a harsh world. Nonetheless, the Sacred Teachers are with us, and having felt Their presence, along this replica of Via Dolorosa, I am able to return to Prescott, and later, to Chino Valley- observing the birthday of a good friend.