September 11, 2001 - Never Forgotten

 

Last year on September the eleventh former Sound Tiger Jon Gleed removed this framed picture from his wall, placed it on his bed and shared a photo of it on Facebook.

In the ten years that had passed since that day that few will forget, I had not seen this picture, and commented;

“Great Pic. Where did you find it?” While waiting for a response another thought crossed my mind.

“Is this your work?” I asked.

His response “Ya painted it, Mikey …” answered all future questions.

Jon was a seventeen year-old hockey player with the Brampton Capitals of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League (OPJHL) on that day eleven years past. Just a few months later he and another seventeen year-old Ontario product, Matt Moulson, would start their college playing days together at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Seventeen is a lousy year to have your world turned upside-down by a mad man. I was seventeen when John F. Kennedy was assassinated and it changed my life.

With acne nearly gone, puberty survived, and high school behind, life’s dreams are ready to be fulfilled - not put on hiatus.

If you were a photo/journalist on 9-11-2001 you captured the horror, grief and destruction of that day with your stirring photos.

If you were a singer/song writer like Alan Jackson, whose song “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning” captured, captioned and characterized all of our feelings, you put it to music.

If you have the gift to give color and shape to emotions and create memories, you put brush to canvas like Jon Wallace Gleed did.

In years past I would sit in my garage and read aloud the names of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives that day. There are now almost 44,000 soldiers, firefighters, policemen and civilians who have died of 9-11-2001 related injuries, I no longer have the endurance.

I now listen to Alan Jackson’s tribute, re-live the pain and memories of the day and with ‘Gleeder’s’ painting in the front of my mind thank God for all the friends and family I am blessed with.

We are all better people for what happened that day. Our hugs have more meaning and our ‘I love you’ is more sincere for we can’t take for granted how many more opportunities we will have.

 

- Mike Flannery

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