Two days after September 11, 2001, a construction worker discovered amidst the rubble of one of the collapsed World Trade Center towers two intersecting steel beams that became known as the World Trade Center cross.
The cross immediately became a symbol of faith, comfort, and hope to the rescuers who presided over the massive recovery and to the nation at large.
The WTC cross is now considered an icon and currently stands as the emotional centerpiece of the National September 11 Memorial.
Until I started researching this piece, I was unaware that there was a movie produced in 2007 about the miraculous WTC cross. Here is the trailer of The Cross and the Towers by John Schneider.
Apparently those two offensive steel beams — which happened to collapse in the shape of a cross — are, according to Edwin Kagin, the group’s legal director, “a violation of both federal and New York law in that public funds will be used to establish the Christian religion on public land.”
Adding to that argument is the organization’s president, David Silverman, who describes the cross as “a clear instance of a violation of the separation of church and state in its extreme.”
If you visit the American Atheists web site, be sure to read their account of the legal fight. What I found especially exasperating is that the WTC cross is repeatedly referred to as “the girder set.”
Fortunately, this past August, officials at the 9/11 memorial museum started to fight back by taking the necessary legal steps to have the lawsuit thrown out of court. The museum’s argument is that it is an independent non-profit organization and not a government agency. But more importantly, “the cross is an artifact and not a religious symbol.”
Actually, one could argue that is it both and that that is precisely what makes the WTC cross so significant.
Here is an amusing classic rock tale from the musical archives of my memory bank. Warning: the beginning may sound a bit uppity, but that was our mind set at the time.
The setting is September, 1973 and I had just begun my freshman year at the massive campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
Those of you who read the first, second and third installments of this series might wonder how I ventured from Needham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, to Ohio State. That journey was through a series of divinely-inspired events related more to the hymn, “Rock of Ages” than classic rock.
But since I came from Boston, Ohio State was like a foreign land. As a result, I became instant friends with Marian, (not her real name) one of my 10 “suite-mates,” who had just returned from living in Europe after being raised in a suburb of Philadelphia.
Marian and I took comfort in our mutual “hip-ness” compared to all those “small town Ohio girls” who had just stepped off the farm and into our dorm suite.
A week into our freshman year, while in the dining hall, Marion met an “interesting guy” named Marty (not his real name) who, she said, was “like us” (i.e., not an Ohio alien) so she invited him up to our suite.
Marty hailed from Scarsdale, New York, a tony suburb of New York City and displayed the proper amount of 1970s sophistication necessary to remain in our presence. Trying to impress, Marty bought along an album he said would “blow our minds.”
Oh yes, Marty did impress and my mind was blown as I listened to Pink Floyd’s, Dark Side of the Moon.
While writing this piece, I realized Dark Side of the Moon is the only album that triggers a memory image of precisely where I was and who I was with, upon hearing it the first time. Can anyone else relate to this?
If you happened to read the first installment of this series when my “classic rock credentials” were established and chronicled, it was noted that in 1969 I received an album titled Led Zeppelin as a Christmas gift from my 9th grade boyfriend.
The boyfriend is long gone but his gift began what has been a life-long love affair with Led Zeppelin and its “Rock God” lead singer Robert Plant.
Now, 43 years later, I am a married 57-year-old church-going Republican woman and embarrassed to admit that I still crave the sounds of Led Zeppelin — and further embarrassed to admit that nothing satisfies that craving more than listening to the raw, primal grit of Led Zeppelin’s first self-titled album now known as “Led 1.”
So, PJ Lifestyle readers, when was the last time you actually sat down and listened to this groundbreaking 1969 debut album in its entirety? And how long was your hair at the time?
Listening from a fresh 2012 perspective it becomes apparent that every song on “Led 1” helped develop and define the phrase “classic rock.” Especially noteworthy is the number of “top tier” classics spawned from this one album. Songs like Good Times Bad Times, Communication Breakdown, and Dazed and Confused, to name a few.
Thanks to PJ Lifestyle readers and friends in general for all the positive comments received about this new series. Now I am really feeling the pressure to solidify the “brand,” so here goes.
But first, if you missed the inaugural post and are curious about my classic rock credentials, click here, but come back immediately or we will begin without you.
While we are waiting for the newcomers, here is the background regarding my second “forgotten” classic rock album recommendation.
It was the fall of 1972 and I was a wild-child 17 year old from Needham, Massachusetts, a close-in suburb of Boston. My senior year at Needham High had just begun when my college-bound girlfriends and I collectively declared ourselves “to cool” for the boys in our class.
This attitude led us to nearby Boston College, where on Saturday nights we would wander the dorms in search of on-going hall parties. (Harmless fun then, but I would strongly warn any school girls against doing this today.)
It was on one of those excursions I met Chuck from Ohio. Chuck was a musically hip freshman who invited me on a future date to see what he could only describe as a “new band from England.”
Little did I know I had accepted an offer to witness what I still consider to be the most profound concert experience of my entire life — David Bowie’s performance of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
The colors, lights, costumes, make-up and hair, combined with the most captivating music I had ever heard, from the wildest, most spell-binding performer I had ever seen, transported me from my seat in that small theater to an interplanetary excursion.
Since jazz is my least favorite music genre and “cocktails” never touch my lips, the high command at PJ Lifestyle approved my suggestion of a “companion piece” to Stephen Green’s engaging series Jazz and Cocktails. Introducing: Forgotten Classic Rock and Cheap Wine.
So regardless of whether you were born in the age of BB (Before Beatles) or AB (After Beatles) if your music and adult beverage tastes lean more towards classic rock and wine than jazz and cocktails, this post is for you.
Before we begin, a few personal milestones must be shared in order for readers to understand the foundation upon which my life-long love of classic rock was built.
1955 – Born in Boston, MA and raised in the suburb of Needham, MA.
1964 – Watched The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.
1970 – Attended my first rock concert, Jimi Hendrix in Boston Garden.
(The concert was in June and Hendrix died in September.)
Now that I’ve revealed my early developmental reference points, it’s up to you to decide whether I am “rock worthy” enough to write this new series.
As for wine knowledge, my early high school years were spent ingesting excessive amounts of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine and to this day even the thought of sweet wine makes me choke. Later in high school, my friends and I progressed to what were then the cheap, popular wines of the early 70’s, Blue Nun and Mateus. (If you are my age you remember how the uniquely shaped Mateus bottles were then used for burning candles with the wax dripping down the sides and proudly displayed as coffee table centerpieces.)
Fortunately, like fine wine my grape tastes have matured with age. However, my musical preferences are still stuck in what is now commonly referred to as the “golden age of classic rock” which makes me feel very old because it was the sound track of my youth.
So without further ado let us begin.
Why is one of the most enduring mysteries of mankind still unresolved?
With all the 21st century technology available to scientists, why does the faded image of a tortured man on a blood-stained cloth allegedly dating back 2000 years still baffle the scientific community?
Of course the mystery I am alluding to is the Shroud of Turin – an artifact that millions of Christians believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus.
For about 20 years I have been interested in the Shroud of Turin. Then in 2010, when it went on public display for only 44 days in Turin, Italy, I was fortunate to be among the two million people who saw it in person.
My two decades of reading about the Shroud culminated in a first-hand look and led me to believe that this is the physical evidence proving that Jesus Christ was in fact resurrected from the dead.
So why should you care about the Shroud of Turin, especially if you practice a faith that does not include Jesus or have no faith at all?
There are two answers: First, just plain intellectual curiosity about the world’s most studied and mysterious relic. Second, sometime in the not-so-distant future, technology will enable scientists to prove that this was the burial cloth of the resurrected Christ. So get ready.
In the meantime, what science has or has not been able to confirm about the Shroud is also instructive.
As Americans become more politically polarized will we choose to patronize or avoid a store, brand, product, or restaurant based on that corporation’s political activity?
For example, if you are an active Democrat would you avoid Walmart if you knew that their corporate contributions lean towards Republicans?
You could go to Target instead, but their contributions also help fill the GOP coffers.
If this information leaves you feeling in a blue state and you want to shop that way, then head on over to COSTCO where Democrats receive 99% of all contributions.
How about if you are planning a trip to Disneyland and discovered that so far in the 2012 election cycle Disney has made $575,000 in political contributions with $411,000 or 77% going to Democrats. Would you change your travel plans?
Is it important for you to know whether the company you are supporting is an R or D before you hand them your hard earned after-tax dollars?
Besides donations, does the relationship between a company and the President of the United States affect consumer behavior?
A few years back when shopping for a new car, I refused to even consider a GM model because in no way was I was going to support “Government Motors” any more than my tax dollars already had.
It turns out I was not alone in this thinking. Recently the New York Times revealed that in the first quarter of 2012, in a survey of 30,000 Americans shopping for new vehicles, 32 percent said they would not consider a GM car because of the 2009 U.S. Government bail out.
Here is a Talking Point Guide for use during your Fourth of July gathering that will help stimulate a “higher level” of group conversation.
However, this Guide is only to be used after your group has finished gossiping about any absent family members or friends.
The person in your gathering who happened to stumble upon this piece is obviously the wisest among you and, therefore, should be designated group leader.
The group leader should start off by asking the following question:
What are we celebrating today?
Do not be surprised if the answer is summer vacation, fireworks or barbeques.
The group leader must be patient if any family or friends honestly do not know the real meaning of the day.
If you decide to mention Independence Day you must follow it up with the obvious question of independence from what for whom. Again, do not be surprised if those listening do not know the answer, especially if they are recent products of public secondary schools or universities.
Forging ahead, here is the next question for the group.
Are you proud to be an American?
If the answers are “yes” then follow up with:
Why are you proud to be an American?
This should elicit some interesting conversation.
However, if the answer to “are you proud to be an American” was “no” and the name of George W. Bush is evoked, I recommend you stop right here and drink heavily the rest of the day.
If you dare to continue, this extremely politically incorrect discussion point should be next.
First, mention an almost forgotten document that is the reason for the day and then slowly read its most famous passage, deliberately omitting the three most important words just like President Obama did.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
After your dramatic reading look up and see if anyone noticed that something was missing. If someone did, promise that person an extra hot dog and then task him/her to correctly read the passage. Then you both should explain to your group why the words by their Creator (instead of by their king) were so powerful that a bunch of gentlemen farmers were willing to start a violent revolution against the greatest military on earth.
On the other hand, if no one noticed the omission then inform anyone left listening that three important words were missing and correctly read the passage.
After this, explain to your group that our Founding Fathers were the first leaders on the planet to believe that humans were entitled to certain unalienable rights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that these rights were endowed by God and not a king. That is what made the formation of their new nation so special and, many would say, exceptional to this day.
This concept could lead to a number of different discussions, but if this were my family someone would storm off reminding me that we were never to discuss politics or religion at any family gathering.
So Happy Fourth of July and I am sorry if I have offended anyone.
Next to the Pope my authority on all things Catholic is my devout 89-year-old father-in-law, a long retired “government worker” from an agency that shall go unnamed. He possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of physics, history, politics and religion with a special interest in “supernatural” miracles of the Bible and Divine miracles in general.
So recently, after my husband and I had watched an interesting documentary on the making of the atomic bomb known as “The Manhattan Project,” we both agreed that Dad would also enjoy the program and the next time he came over we would replay it for him.
Today was that day.
So after he watched it, I asked my father-in-law if he had enjoyed the documentary. He said he did, but already knew much of the story. (Of course!)
However, he expressed disappointment that the documentary did not mention a group of Jesuit priests who survived the Hiroshima bomb blast without any major injuries at ground zero.
I told him this oversight was not surprising since it was, after all, a History Channel documentary but I still doubted the truth of this miraculous Hiroshima tale.
As Dad began to describe what he said was surely a Divine miracle, I hopped on Google and entered “Jesuit priests survived Hiroshima”. To my surprise, instantly there appeared numerous links to this amazing, true story now almost lost in the sands of time.
Here are the basic facts of this historical occurrence.
In Hiroshima, a group of eight Jesuit priests lived in a presbytery near the parish church less than a mile away from where the first atomic bomb ever dropped on a city exploded well within the total death and devastation radius. Keep in mind this was a blast that killed 80,000 people almost instantly and up to a total of 140,000 eventually.
At Hiroshima “Little Boy” destroyed over two-thirds of the buildings.
All eight priests in their home building sat in the direct kill zone while for miles around nothing but ashes remained. They were not only “virtually unscathed from the effects of the bomb” but none of the group suffered either the ill-effects of radiation or major injuries from the bomb blast. Furthermore, while their building received some damaged, unlike others it still stood.
While it is true that small numbers of other civilians in the blast area survived, all presumably suffered, and most if not all eventually died from radiation sickness.
What is truly miraculous is that radiation sickness did not affect ANY of the Jesuits at that time or decades later.
Why were these eight priests spared in an area of total death and destruction?
When a non-Catholic, churchgoing friend sent me this video the message said: You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate this ad, peaking my interest.
As a person of faith here is my interpretation of the “ad” and its underlying message.
The use of fire — a biblical symbol of God’s awesome power – is a demonstration by the Almighty of His intent to destroy or conversely to show His approval of man’s behavior.
In this video God’s people, i.e. the Catholic Church (but really all believers), must triumph over the anti-biblical social policies of the Obama administration (that are ultimately more important to fix than our nation’s economic problems in the eyes of God). But this important victory will only occur if HIS people rise up and vote Obama out of office. Otherwise our nation will be consumed by the fires of hell.
The video with over 1.3 million views is starting to go viral which means its strong message and imaging will be up for much political, social and religious interpretation.
As usual, I expect the comments of PJ Media readers to be among the most insightful.
For art lovers, here is a wonderful opportunity to view Michelangelo’s masterpiece with this new 3D virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel, produced at the request of the Vatican.
To view, just click and drag your arrow in the direction you wish to see. The detail is amazing.