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A Crisp, Clear Tuesday

Filed under:D. Sirmize, Guest, Inspiring — posted by D. Sirmize on September 11, 2007 @ 7:47 am

I don’t like to think about 9/11.

Probably for the same reason I don’t like waking up in the morning. Not because I am depressed or don’t want to face the day. I’m just fine once I open the door and dash out for my morning run. It’s getting to that point that’s the problem. I dread waking up in the morning probably because I enjoy sleep so much and I don’t think I get enough. It’s hard to leave the warm, comfortable world of sweet slumber.

But I do, every day, because I have to.

I don’t like to think about 9/11 and I don’t think I’m alone. As Americans, we enjoy the comfort of our every-day lives. The human mind likes to pretend problems don’t exist. Perhaps this is a survival instinct. I loved the perceived innocence of the pre- 9/11 world, that slumbering twilight before the alarm went off- the calm before the storm.

It’s been six years. Long enough to get used to the security inconveniences at airports, long enough to be ok with the provisions of the Patriot Act, long enough that our nation at war is the rule, not the exception.

Long enough that I don’t really need to think about 9/11 as much anymore. Gone are the days that I worried about the national Terror Threat Level. Gone are the days that I worry about flying. I still realize the short and long term threats of Radical Islam, but it’s late enough in the day that the nightmare of 9/11 begins to fade.

It was six years ago today, on a crisp, clear Tuesday morning. It’s time to wake up again.

I left too early this morning to talk to my first grader. I wanted to remind him that today is a special day. I hope they mention it at school, but I won’t be surprised if they don’t.

You’re probably reading this at work. Chances are you’ve got a decent Internet connection. Watch the towers fall again- the footage is out there. Shut the office door and listen to the emergency dispatch tapes. Take your phone off the hook for an hour and listen to the cell phone calls from planes. Listen to the victims speak their last words as the towers collapse. Watch it. Listen to it. Relive the horrible catharsis. Forget 9/11 and the American Spirit will fade with it.

Wake up.

Here’s a good place to start.

nosurrender.jpg

The above phrase in Arabic is “lan astaslem.” It means “I will not surrender/I will not submit.”

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Rachel's Challenge - Accepted

Filed under:Inspiring, Journal, PTA, Religion, Opinion, Friends, USOE, Family — posted by Tyler on May 19, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

Rachel’s Hands

I’ve been involved with the PTA since my daughter began school in September of last year. I attended my second Leadership Training Convention on Thursday and Friday which happens annually in May. Last year I was inspired by Ronda Rose, Legislative Vice President on the Utah PTA Executive Board. She finished up her term this year and she will be greatly missed because of her ability to speak from her heart, stand up for her convictions, and truly inspire! All the effort I’ve given and all the effort I will continue to give will be, in part, inspired by this amazing woman.

This year I was inspired by the last workshop that I attended; one that I really didn’t have time to attend and one that I had to leave half way through, but the half that I was privileged to listen to proved extremely worthwhile. The workshop was entitled Rachel’s Challenge and was brought about by the tragic events of April 20, 1999 when two students killed 12 students and 1 teacher at Columbine High School. Rachel Scott was the first to die that dreadful day. But little did anyone know, except Rachel herself as she foreshadowed in her diary, that her death would touch millions of hearts.

After her death an essay that she had written for a class was found under her bed. The message of the essay inspired the family to share and challenge people everywhere to take upon themselves Rachel’s “Codes of Life“. There are five of them and they gel nicely with my personal beliefs. But put in perspective of her life and tragic death, they suddenly took on new light and meaning. How this girl of 17 was able to have such vision is a miracle.

I listened eagerly as Dana Scott, Rachel’s sister, shared her story with us. The presentation consisted of heartfelt narration by Dana along with video clips and slide show pictures. It was the best powerpoint presentation I had ever seen. I found myself watching Dana as she watched the video clips and I tried to imagine what she must have felt losing her sister and nearly losing her brother. I watched as her emotions changed from sadness and fear during the news clips that showed the tragedy of that day to pure joy when they showed footage of her as a child, full of joy (incidentally her middle name) and life. I felt myself empathizing, which has only begun to happen in my life as of two years ago.

Several years ago I had a friend who had cancer. I wasn’t being especially empathetic as I talked about the situation with my wife in the car one day. She chastised me for my lack of a Christ-like attitude. At first I didn’t accept that I needed to change. My feeling was that difficulties happen in everyone’s life and that you just accept it and get over it; a complete lack of empathy. But the fact that I recognized that it was not Christ-like to have such an attitude led me to search out that attribute and I began to pray for it.

Several months passed and nothing major had changed despite my prayers. I still had a general sense of disdain for other people’s burdens but continued to search out a change of heart. It was a hot day on the 18th of July, 2005 where Clint (a friend and co-worker) and I found shade under the curved steps of the Salt Lake City Library. Just as we were finishing our 7-11 hot dogs we heard what sounded to me like a skate board hitting the pavement, but much louder. It wasn’t long before we both realized that something terrible had happened. We ran over to where the noise came from and much to our shock we found the body of a woman lying face up on the brick-lain sidewalk. I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but suffice it to say, the woman had jumped from the top of the library to her untimely death, despite what paramedics tried to do for her.

I was still unaware how much this event would effect my life. Clint and I tried to deal with it the best we could through humor, but as the days went on it haunted me. I found myself reading her obituary and all of the online comments from the online version on the local newspaper’s website to try and find out who this woman was and why she would do such a thing. Her name was Michelle Marie Macy and she was only 39 years old. She was a pharmacist and married, but had no children. She loved cats. She had family who loved her. I began to recognize feelings of empathy within myself, but the true change of heart came when I found the courage inside to pray for Michelle - a complete stranger. I prayed for her family and those who must be feeling the pain of her untimely passing. I experienced true compassion and charity during that prayer and when I finished I found that I was crying. The change of heart that I had been praying for had finally come!

I hope Michelle’s family will find comfort that her death was not in vain, just as Rachel’s death was not in vain. My life was touched and I learned a lesson that was long overdue. I hope that one day I can give Michelle a hug and tell her that I love her. I don’t know what circumstances she must have been going through to come to that point, but I know that Jesus Christ loves her. I know that her family loves her.

So it was with charity and love that I listened to the message that Rachel’s sister had to share. Her message did not fall on unfertile soil. I will take the message to heart, re-evaluate my life, and strive to improve myself. That is the Purpose of Life - day by day, week by week, year by year.

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A Great Poem by Matt Fisher (1995)

Filed under:Inspiring, Cool Stuff, Video, Friends — posted by Tyler on February 23, 2007 @ 10:05 pm

John posted an old video on YouTube tonight that I made a while back. It was great to see it again, I had forgotten all about it. It’s a little bit corny in that you can pretty much tell that I stretched 1 minute of video footage into 4 minutes, but it’s still an interesting look into the past. The last four minutes is a reading of the entire poem that was written by my good friend Matt when he was on his mission in Rome, Italy in 1995.

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Ski for $25 at Brighton this Saturday!

Filed under:Inspiring, Special Olympics, Cool Stuff — posted by Tyler on December 8, 2006 @ 12:21 am

Ski for Gold on December 9th, 2006!Want a heckuva deal for an all day lift ticket at Brighton Resort this Saturday? Donate $25 to “Ski for Gold” (a Ski-a-thon for Special Olympics Utah athletes) before midnight on December 8th. Print out your receipt and bring it up for a free lift ticket the day of Saturday, December 9th.

Want to make a difference without freezing your butt off in 44 inches of freezing snow? Donate whatever you will and have a good feeling in your heart this holiday season.

My goal is to raise $600 for Special Olympics Utah. I’m about 1/3 of the way there, but I’m determined to make it this year. (Last year I fell a little short.) I used to work at Special Olympics Utah so I know first hand how great a program it is. Special Olympics empowers individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition. It really is a worthy organization of your support.
If you’d rather donate your time instead of your money, I’m all about that, too! Visit the Special Olympics Utah website and get involved as a volunteer. All volunteers watch a General Orientation video, so when you watch it think of me. I filmed it (hours and hours of footage) and edited it.

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Angelo Amaranto, 60, 2 World Trade Center

Filed under:D. Sirmize, Inspiring, Web Log (Blog) — posted by D. Sirmize on September 11, 2006 @ 7:12 am

Most people aren’t morning people- especially when they know they have to go to jobs they don’t like.  Angelo Amaranto was not one of those people.  He woke enthusiastically every morning at three o’clock to catch the subway from Borough Park to his job at 2 World Trade Center.

Angelo’s janitor job was hard work, but he loved it. He was employed by Ebasco and worked on the 87th, 89th and 91st floors of the tower. He had worked at 2 World Trade Center since the towers opened in 1973, and he knew that building well.  His wife, Maria, says he would regularly go into work one or two hours early every day.  Sometimes he would even work the weekends.

Originally from Salerno, Italy, A young Angelo Amaranto fell in love with New York when he arrived in Brooklyn with his young Bride.  He got a janitorial job at the Nasdaq, where he worked until he took the World Trade Center job.  “He told me the pay was better and if they took him, he would have to work nights for a little while,” his wife, Maria, told Newsay. “He said it was worth it because it was a better building. He switched to days after two years or so. He loved those buildings.”

Angelo took great pride in providing for his family.  He had worked hard and honest his entire life.  But it wasn’t about the money.  “He used to say to us, ‘You know, a lot of people have money,’” his daughter, Emily recalls. “‘I have something better than money. I have grandchildren.”

It is my honor to pay tribute to Angelo Amaranto today.

You can read messages left by family and friends here.

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