Memories of 9/11/01

The day was already a little unusual. Rather than spend the morning in the office, I’d elected to make a few house calls. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day.

I stopped at the home of Jim S, a jovial but emphysematous man, confined to his bed. As I remember it, he still smoked, despite his oxygen. He was less interested in discussing his health than the fact that a plane had hit one of the twin towers. He watched TV all day – what else did he have to do? A commuter plane, he thought, an unfortunate accident.

Next I stopped to see an elderly man who had undergone a heart bypass at age 87. He wasn’t doing so well, and wouldn’t eat much.  I’m not sure clogged arteries were his real problem. He’d taken care of his bed-bound wife for 15 years after her stroke. When she died, his heart broke.  A second plane, he said. That couldn’t be an accident.

A third visit, a third plane – and another oxygen tank. Smoking will do that do a person. The Pentagon this time. Planes were being grounded. Our nation was under attack.

Then lunch with my dad, chronically ill, but not yet homebound. “The plane that turned back flew over us,” he’d said. “If they’d really wanted to cause a problem, they would have hit the Davis-Besse Power Plant.”

10 years later, they’re all gone. These are the men I remember on 9/11, victims of failing hearts and corroded lungs, men who took their last breath without fanfare. I wish I’d known them as young men, full of vitality. Which is sadder, dying by inches, a day at a time, or dying a young hero’s death?

Either way, the world is not as it should be. I look forward to the day when the Prince of Peace reigns.

Does anyone anywhere object to the Hallelujah Chorus?  Surely even the atheist would agree with its sentiments, when the days of death and dying are over.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.  

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ, and of His Christ!

And He shall reign forever and ever! King of kings, and Lord of lords!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

About Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

CYNTHIA J KOELKER , MD is a board-certified family physician with over twenty years of clinical experience. A member of American Mensa, Dr. Koelker holds degrees in biology, humanities, medicine, and music from M.I.T., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the University of Akron. She served in the National Health Service Corps to finance her medical education.
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