|Last September, we were gearing up for the Christmas issue of SouthernReader when, in the course of a few hours, the world as we knew it came to a terrible halt. In the aftermath, all the zany Santa Claus stories in the works didn't seem so funny anymore.
Ironically, just the week before September 11th, I had been in the studio putting the finishing touches on a song that I had written about my dad and where he was on December 7, 1941.
For him it had started as an ordinary Sunday morning in Jordan Springs, a small farming community just west of Clarksville, Tennessee, on the Tennessee-Kentucky border. They had all gone to church that morning, then after the service my dad had headed to the woods with his best friend to get in some afternoon rabbit hunting. With a little luck, they'd be feasting on rabbit stew that night.
Little did he know that the events that were happening on the other side of the world at the same time he was looking through his rifle scope would change his life forever...three years later he would be surrounded by exploding flak looking through another scope as a tailgunner on a B-24 in the South Pacific.
As I was writing the song about that December Sunday in his life, I was trying to imagine how it must have been. When he returned to the house that afternoon, there was a crowd of neighbors and kinfolks gathered at the house. In 1941, electricity and running water had still not reached most of Jordan Springs, but my grandparents had the luxury of owning one of the few battery-powered radios in the community.
As citizens of the 21st century, we no longer have to wait days or hours to get the reports on what's happening in the world...now, it's instantaneous. We don't have to drive or walk a few miles down to the neighbor's farm to hear the latest on a battery-powered radio; with the internet the news is literally at our fingertips. That being said, however, the more things change, the more they remain the same.
I no longer wonder what that December afternoon that changed the world felt like. This past September I'm sure I went through all the emotions my dad must have felt--shock, anger, and fear for how life would never be the same. But just like my dad and his generation who wiped the tears away and did what had to be done, I believe that, for the first time in a long while, this country will once again show the world what it's made of. And as much as I value my southern heritage, I value my heritage as an American even more.
Just like my dad.
|E-Letters to the Editor The polls have closed and verdict is in on the first issue of SouthernReader. Heres a sampling of what you had to say about it.
Sudden Farmiliarity a short story by h. hugh waddell, jr.
Sprung From a Southern Rocker a memoir by Frankey Jones
Fair a short story by Ben Greene
A Noted Site for Those Who Write KeyOnMusic.com is a new internet site by, for and about songwriters.
Come and Listen to my Story... by Nelda Hill
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