Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Most of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on dates of historic importance.

The day President Kennedy was shot I was on a 6th Grade field trip to the Museum of Natural History in New York City. I was sitting in the theatre at the Hayden Planetarium watching a presentation when the show suddenly stopped. The lights went on and it was announced over the PA system that President Kennedy had been shot. We were all told to go home.

The day President Nixon resigned I was at a Crosby, Stills and Nash concert in Roosevelt Stadium on Route 440 in Jersey City (it no longer exists – it has been replaced by condos). CSN announced that Nixon had just resigned and proceeded to break into a rousing version of "Ohio" (“Tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming…).

When the planes crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, I was on a Parker Tours escorted bus trip to Ocean City, Maryland. At the time of the attack our group was at the Assateague Island National Seashore. We were not told about it until we had returned to the bus and were driving back to our hotel, where we were supposed to attend a welcome reception. The reception was cancelled and we all went to our individual rooms to watch the tragedy unfold on television.

On September 11, 2001, my client, and fellow Dickinson High School Class of 1971 graduate (although we did not discover this until many, many years later when he happened to notice an award I had received from my high school graduating class that was hanging on the wall of the Newark Avenue office and said that he graduated from DHS in 1971 too), Maurice “Moe” Barry was one of the members of the Port Authority Police Emergency Response Team, among the “first responders” to the initial attack, who were killed when the tower collapsed.

Moe always came in to have his tax return prepared on the very last day of the season, April 15, 16 or 17 of each year, a long-standing tradition he first began as a client of my mentor Jim Gill before I “inherited” the practice. Each year when we saw Moe we knew it was almost over. One year he came in on April 10th and we told him to go away and come back on the 15th. To honor Moe’s memory I no longer work on 1040s on the last day of “the season”. For me the tax filing season ends each year on April 14th (or 15th or 16th).

Whenever I think back on 9/11 I am reminded of the sad fact that in the history of monotheism there has been more evil done in the name of God, generally by an “organized religion”, than there has been good.

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