Thirteen years ago evil men flew planes into tall buildings and changed our world. One plane of heroes fell from the sky. Towers fell. Thousands ran down the streets of lower Manhattan trying to escape dust and devastation.
Two wars later, security alert after security alert, we muddle through this brave new world. Thousands died on Sept. 11, and thousands more have died from combat and from hundreds of smaller acts of violence — car bombings and beheadings and endless random shootings.
Thirteen years later, we remember the silence of skies empty of airplanes. We remember the heroism and heartbreak, of the living pulled from rubble and the others whose remains are now part of sacred ground in the footprint of the World Trade Towers. The maimed of that tragic Tuesday would soon be joined by the injured of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The names of the terrorists change. Al Qaeda becomes the Islamic State, hydra heads we think we have chopped off that grow back. Small acts of bravery give us hope, though: schoolgirls who defy zealots for the right to an education — and demand the right even when shot. Maybe we are brave ourselves for continuing life, for staying free and walking in bright sunshine on a glorious fall day.
Honor the dead and mourn them, and do what they would want us to do: live on. Love life. Love this beautiful town far removed from madness, and hope madness never finds us here at the end of the road. Celebrate life in the best way possible, by enjoying it, perhaps with these Best Bets:
BEST STEP BY STEP: The End of the Road draws a lot of adventurers, like Jennifer Pharr Davis. She set the record for the fastest hike of the Appalachian Trail, walking it in 46 days. At 6 p.m. today at the Homer Public Library she speaks about her hiking adventures and signs her book, “Called Again: A Story of Love and Triumph.”
BEST SONGS FROM THE HEART BET: Support Homer-grown talent in a special gallery concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Homer Council on the Arts. Ben Tyrer learned piano from the best — Mary Epperson, of course — and has been playing since he was 7. He’s joined by sister and vocalist Amelia Tyrer. They perform original compositions. Tickets are $5 youth, $10 HCOA members and $15 general admission.
BEST LET IT GLOW BET: If you have time from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. today through Saturday, give Mavis Muller and her basket building crew a hand at Mariner Park. At 1 p.m. Sunday “Grow,” this year’s burning basket, is given to the community, with a potluck at 6 p.m. At sunset the basket is transformed into light and heat. Join the popular fall celebration, but please, no alcohol or dogs.
BEST WARM UP BET: No child need go cold this winter because the Salvation Army offers free coats for kids from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at the church on the Sterling Highway.
BEST WALK IN BEAUTY BET: Your body is beautiful, so why not add a bit of Homer fiber art to it? The Homer Fiber Arts Collective holds a Private Stash sale from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday at the Kachemak Community Center. Pick up something for the Pratt’s Ritz gala or Wearable Arts — or just that special night on the town with your honey.