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One Year Later, On This Side of the 49th
by Marty Goldstein on 2002-09-11

Last year I had checked into a fancy hotel by LAX, as a treat after weeks on the road. On Sept. 11th, I woke up early and rushed out to take my girl to her equestrienne session, and didn't turn on the TV for once.

By the time the elevator got to the main floor, I had seen a shocked airline pilot and crew discuss what had happened. I immediatley knew it was a terror plot.

My girl had worked at a major financial broker and she knew for sure, that her friends knew people who had perished, even if she herself didn't. She couldn't stop crying all day.

By nightfall, I couldn't get back to my room because troops and cops were everywhere. The next day I checked out and went to the safety of Las Vegas to stay with my transplanted friends from Winnipeg, and it was like a ghost town. Vegas was empty. And so were the skies.

Meanwhile, back in my home and native land, thousands of stranded flyers were being taken in by hotels, homes and churches, provided for by department stores and restaurants, here in Vancouver and all the way to the Maritimes, as flights were diverted to ward off further attacks. I am just learning of the great efforts made and the friendships formed under such awful circumstances last year.

The risk taken by Canada was also great, and that is why we felt slighted when President Bush didn't specifically mention Canada as a valued ally in his speech.

So after a year of looking nervously at planes overhead, actually showing ID at the Tijuana border, taking my shoes off at airports, anthrax scares, and more recently the riot that prevented a speech in Montreal by former Israeli premier Netanyahu, what does it all mean?

Well I had a good life going in California, travel and writing stories about pro wrestling history and current events, and frankly, after Sept. 11th a lot of the foundation was erased. The business downturn cost me thousands but cost others, in travel and sales and entertainment, millions. I could have had it worse.

My girl and I split, but she is still my friend and for many, they lost their spouses, parents, breadwinners, heroes.
So I am broken hearted but still a lucky man. I could have had it worse.

As a Canadian I feel less safe, but not a target. As a Jew, I feel less safe and like a target, but less so here than in the USA. Canadians are very lucky here because the level of fear and nervousness, the sense of vigilance, is not part of our routine the way it now is for our neighbours in the States. We could have it worse.

We should take particular pride in the selfless way we protected the innocent who were thrust into our midst, and the way we served with our allies to try to root out terror cells.

I am not trying to provoke any greater debate on international politics here. I think that the moral for us at this level is simple. Read about those who escaped, and how they have had to rebuild their health and lives. Do onto others. Love your family. Be kind. Value friendships. Remember the fallen heroes and the innocent victims, their partners and families and all the orphans. We could all have it worse.

Most of all, do not judge an entire religion because of the acts of zealots. That goes for all sides in the conflict. There are bombed out innocent civilians dying and being maimed on both sides, but we enjoy peace here at home and that must be preserved. If riots keep breaking out when world leaders try to speak at lawful assembies, our liberties may be swiftly curtailed and the respect we enjoy on the world stage will be diminished.

We are Canadian, and besides beer and hockey and babes, we have the greatest country in the world. It is our duty to enjoy it, protect it and pass it on to our children. Canadians died last Sept. 11 in New York, and we owe it to them to carry on in a civilized way.


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Quotes from the boys: Notorious T.I.D. says "If you are a heel......stay the hell out of the crowd after your match. In fact, just give up all together. It's quite apparent that you are an idiot."
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