What is a "tiehacker"?

"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A day of reflection, a day of remembrance ....

I'm not going to go off on a rant today. No, not today. Today is a day for reflection and remembrance.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was supposed to work 2nd shift, 3pm to 11pm. I was sitting in my living room eating some fruit and reading. I didn't have the television or radio on; I am really not much of a TV watcher, unless it is a ball game or one of the (few!) TV shows that I watch. The phone rang. It was my boss, calling to tell me that the office was closing for the day, and might be closed the next day as well. When I inquired why, she just told me to turn on my TV, didn't matter what channel, and I would figure it out. I tuned in a few minutes after the second plane hit the Towers. The rest of the day was spent in shock, anger, and grief. As I watched the replays of the plane strikes, I remember sitting on the floor, holding my dogs, tears in my eyes. Tears of anger? of grief? Both, I guess. I remember crying out, "What are they doing to my us? What are those bastards doing to my country?!?!?" My dogs, of course, couldn't answer. They knew something was up, because their "Daddy" NEVER acts that way. So they snugged up tight and whimpered just a little. Sometimes a dog is the best friend to have. (I was single and unattached at the time, didn't have a loved one nearby.)

Eventually, I  thought to make some phone calls. I knew that I had distant relatives in New York, but didn't have any contact info for them. So I got hold of a cousin that did, and was informed that as far as he had been able to learn, all of our people were OK. And, it turned out, they were, thank God. My family was fortunate; we did not lose anyone that day. Came close, though. Another cousin of mine, Bobby, was an Air Force officer, and had been posted to the Pentagon for awhile. I was able to find out that he wasn't in DC that day, and was also OK.

A few years later, I found out that I almost lost a brother-in-law, though. He wasn't my brother-in-law at the time, because I hadn't even met Deb yet. (That came three years later.) Art was also an Air Force officer, and was supposed to have been at the Pentagon that morning. In fact, he was supposed to have been at a meeting in the conference room that took a direct hit from one of the planes. But the meeting had been cancelled and rescheduled, so he was away from the Pentagon on some other errand when it hit. (For the conspiracy lunatics out there, meetings there are cancelled and/or rescheduled often, according to my cousin, so this was nothing unusual at all.)

We lost 2, 997 souls that day to al-Qaeda's terrorist violence. Today, we remember them. We mourn for them, with their families and loved ones. We will Never Forget!

Eleven years later, on September 11, 2012, we lost four more in an attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. US Ambassador Christopher Stephens was killed in the attack on the main diplomatic compound, as was information management officer Sean Smith; they died, apparently, of smoke inhalation. At the CIA annex a few blocks away, two embassy security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woodsboth former Navy SEALs, were also killed in mortar attacks as they fought valiantly to defend the civilians under their protection. Ten other personnel were injured in the two attacks.

Today, we remember them, as well. We mourn for them, with their families and loved ones. We will Never Forget!

Some have called for September 11 to be made a national holiday. Although I understand and sympathize with that, I find that I cannot agree. For one really sad reason. We have several holidays now that immortalize various events. The Fourth of July celebrates our national independence. Memorial Day commemorates our veterans, especially those that died in service to their country. Thanksgiving commemorates the Pilgrims and their struggle to survive a harsh wilderness, and the thanks we give to God for all the bounty He provides. Presidents' Day celebrates the birthdays of several of our greatest Presidents. Christmas celebrates the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Yet our nation, as a whole, has a horrible tendency to forget what these holidays are truly about, as they are turned into occasions for corporate greed in the form of sales & marketing ploys, and for some individuals to have an excuse to party and get drunk and act stupid. Therefore, lest September 11 be turned into some kind of Back to School Sales Day, or National Last Barbecue Before Autumn Day, let's  just leave it the way it is. A day that we will always remember with solemnity and reflection, a day to remember that we are a great nation despite our flaws, a united republic no matter our differences in politics, race, or creed. A day that impels us to Never Forget! those that died, and to see to it, somehow,  that perhaps their deaths were not wholly in vain. And, a day to remember to thank the police, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders that serve us so faithfully every day, risking their own lives to protect us.

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