Today is my birthday. Yeah, I know. Bummer of a date. But I’ve always had issues with the day I was born on. See, when I was very young I read this poem:
Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child is full of woe, Thursday’s child has far to go, Friday’s child is loving and giving, Saturday’s child works hard for a living, But the child who is born on the Sabbath day, is fair and wise and good in every way…
I asked my mother with great excitement, “what day was I born on?” I was crushed to learn it was Wednesday. I was devastated. Every other day was awesome but my life was destined to be full of WOE. Whoa. This was my first issue with the day my birthday had fallen on.
Cut to my senior year in high school. On my birthday I felt pretty good and waltzed into the school full of promise and cheer. Then, before classes even started, word spread that one of our classmates had died in his sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning. The boys were sullen and silent, the girls weeping, it was utter chaos. One friend kept saying to me, “man, what a day to have a birthday”.
There are people that are bummed because they are born on Christmas, or born on February 29th, or just any holiday that takes away attention from them. But September 11th? Come on. That date has replaced December 7 (1941) or November 22nd (1963) as the worst possible date for a birthday, wedding anniversary, etc (at least for an American). No matter what, you’re linked to an enormous national tragedy that no one you know will ever forget. But I refuse to complain because I knew a guy that lived through that hell. On this day I remember my friend.
I never met Ken Walsh in person. I met him in the music forum Progressive Ears where he posted under the name Arkangel3. Ken was passionate about a number of things: music (especially progressive rock), sports (especially professional football), and science fiction (especially the TV classic Babylon 5). We got to know each other in a group dedicated to left wing politics where Ken’s passion also was evident. Over the years we went back and forth over a number of things and it was always a joy to exchange messages with him. Every year on this day Ken started a post on Progressive Ears linking to his blog. See, Ken lived through 9/11. He was at Ground Zero.
Arkangel3 is gone now. He died a couple years ago from lung cancer and around this time of year I think of him. Hell, I can’t help but remember, the reminders of that day are on TV and Internet are persistent on this day. Today, his wife Tess posted Ken’s 9/11 blog entry on Facebook. I don’t think she’ll mind if I include it here. Tonight I’ll polish off a 750 ml of a fine ale, grill something manly, and maybe reflect on another year. Or maybe reflect on a man who survived that day.