Reaney Days

Reaney Days

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Poetry In The Park

 

On these beautiful autumn days as you stroll down Kingsbury Avenue take some time to read and enjoy Poetry in the Park; a series of nine original poems tucked among the front shrubs and near the entrance.

The poems were written by members of a local poetry group including Ali MacDonald, Donna Veeder, Mary Stolarcyk and Rebecca Sokol.  Poetry in the Park is a project of Margaret Reaney Memorial Library with funding from the Mohawk Valley Library System and design work by Jill Fredericks at Sportee Designs. Jill drew upon the deep, rich tones of a photo taken by Heather Battisti that was then turned into a library bookmark several years ago.

A program will be scheduled in the Spring to meet and greet the poets as they share their work and the inspiration behind it.   

 





 


Friday, September 24, 2021

Toddlers To Go

 

Hello Tiny pals and your adults!

 

Toddlers To Go is now accepting registration for the October – December session.  A Spring session will follow; February-May 2022.

Every two weeks, beginning October 15 we will mail a TTG packet to your family.  Each packet will contain a book.  The books may be kept by our tiny pals to add to or build their own libraries.  The packet will also contain a simple art project. 

Also included will be other age appropriate activity printables that we have resourced from PBS/WMHT and additional educational sources.

The program is free and open to children age 4 and under.

To register for Toddlers To Go, please call the library at 518-568-7822.   Our first mailing is planned for the week of October 15.  TTG enjoyed an enrollment last year of 21 families representing 31 children.

 

 

 


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

St. John’s Reformed Church Service of Remembrance

Saturday, September 11, 2021

 This morning at the fire house, beginning at 846AM, volunteers and staff from the Reaney Library along with members of the St. Johnsville Fire Department and community read the names of everyone who perished in New York City, Washington DC and Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.   

Reading steadily, it took us four hours to get through the list of 2977 victims, including one Port Authority Police Department dog, Sirius.  There were moments of silence marking the time when the WTC’s north tower, south tower and the Pentagon were hit, when both towers collapsed and when a plane slammed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  They say that the world can change in the blink of an eye.  This particular ”blink”, resulting in so many deaths and injuries, happened over a span of 1 hour and 42 minutes.  Can you imagine?  What can you do in the space of that time?  Perhaps wash and dry a load of laundry, go out to dinner, take a drive and look at the changing leaves, attend a concert?  You can do any one of a number of good and wonderful things.  What we don’t want to do, during that very short span, is to watch horror rain down on so many innocent people.  Sadly, that is exactly what happened.

As I was putting the lists together to read earlier today, several names in particular jumped off the pages at me; EMT Richard Pearlman 18 years old. Was the boy even shaving by that time?   There were a handful of women, who when you read their names, you ended by saying “with their unborn child”.  There was also 2 year old toddler, Christine Lee Hanson, who with her parents was on United Airlines Flight 175, flying to California to visit Disneyland.  I know toddlers, I have worked with dozens of them over the course of my career.  I can picture that tiny girl with mouse ears on her head smiling big only to have her excitement and joy destroyed as her plane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center. 

And then there was Todd Beamer; many of you may recognize his name but tonight, twenty years later, we remember his story of bravery; a story that exemplifies the heart and soul of our nation, a story that played out over and over in different scenarios on September 11th and the days after. This is the transcript of a call he made to Lisa Jefferson, a telephone supervisor for GTE. 

Todd: Hello… Operator…listen to me…I can’t speak very loud. – This is an emergency. I’m a passenger on a United flight to San Francisco.. We have a situation here….Our plane has been hijacked…..can you understand me?

Lisa: (exhaling a deep breath to herself) I understand… Can the hijackers see you talking on the phone?

Todd: No

Lisa: Can you tell me how many hijackers are on the plane?

Todd: There are three that we know of.

Lisa: Can you see any weapons? What kind of weapons do they have?

Todd: Yes…. they don’t have guns….they have knives – they took over the plane with knives.

Lisa: Do you mean…like steak knives?

Todd: No, these are razor knives…like box cutters.

Lisa: Can you tell what country these people are from?

Todd: No…..I don’t know. They sound like they’re from the mid-east.

Lisa: Have they said what they want?

Todd: Someone announced from the cockpit that there was a bomb on board. He said he was the captain and to stay in our seats and stay quiet.

He said that they were meeting these men’s demands and returning to the airport… It was very broken English, and… I’m telling you…it sounded fake!

Lisa: Ok sir, please give me your name.

Todd: My name is Todd Beamer.

Lisa: Ok Todd….my name is Lisa…Do you know your flight number? If you can’t remember, it’s on your ticket.

Todd: It’s United Flight 93.

Lisa: Now Todd, can you try to tell me exactly what happened?

Todd: Two of the hijackers were sitting in first class near the cockpit. A third one was sitting near the back of the coach section. The two up front got into the cockpit somehow; there was shouting. The third hijacker said he had a bomb. It looks like a bomb. He’s got it tied to his waist with a red belt of some kind.

Lisa: So is the door to the cockpit open?

Todd: No, the hijackers shut it behind them.

Lisa: Has anyone been injured?

Todd: Yes, ..they…they killed one passenger sitting in first class. There’s been lots of shouting. We don’t know if the pilots are dead or alive. A flight attendant told me that the pilot and copilot had been forced from the cockpit and may have been wounded.

Lisa: Where is the 3rd hijacker now Todd?

Todd: He’s near the back of the plane. They forced most of the passengers into first class. There are fourteen of us here in the back. Five are flight attendants. He hasn’t noticed that I slipped into this pantry to get the phone. The guy with the bomb ordered us to sit on the floor in the rear of the plane……….oh Jesus.. Help!

 Lisa: Todd….are you ok? Tell me what’s happening!

Todd: Hello…..We’re going down….I think we’re going to crash……Wait – wait a minute. No, we’re leveling off….we’re ok. I think we may be turning around…..That’s it – we changed directions. Do you hear me….we’re flying east again.

Lisa: Ok Todd…. What’s going on with the other passengers?

Todd: Everyone is… really scared. A few passengers with cell phones have made calls to relatives. A guy, Jeremy, was talking to his wife just before the hijacking started. She told him that hijackers had crashed two planes into the World Trade Center……Lisa is that true??

Lisa: Todd…..I have to tell you the truth…..it’s very bad. The World Trade Center is gone. Both of the towers have been destroyed.

Todd: Oh God —help us!

Lisa: A third plane was taken over by terrorists. It crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC. Our country is under attack….and I’m afraid that your plane may be part of their plan.

 Todd: Oh dear God. Dear God…….Lisa, will you do something for me?

Lisa: I’ll try….if I can….Yes.

Todd: I want you to call my wife and my kids for me and tell them what’s happened. Promise me you’ll call..

Lisa: I promise – I’ll call.

Todd: Our home number is 201 353-1073…….You have the same name as my wife…Lisa….We’ve been married for 10 years. She’s pregnant with our 3rd child. Tell her that I love her…….(choking up)..I’ll always love her..(clearing throat) We have two boys.. David, he’s 3 and Andrew, he’s 1…..Tell them……(choking) tell them that their daddy loves them and that he is so proud of them. (clearing throat again) Our baby is due January 12th…..I saw an ultra sound…..it was great….we still don’t know if it’s a girl or a boy………Lisa?

Lisa: (barely able to speak) I’ll tell them, I promise Todd.

Todd: I’m going back to the group—if I can get back I will…

 Lisa: Todd, leave this line open…are you still there?……

Lisa: (dials the phone..) Hello, FBI, my name is Lisa Jefferson, I’m a telephone supervisor for GTE. I need to report a terrorist hijacking of a United Airlines Flight 93….Yes I’ll hold.

Goodwin: Hello, this is Agent Goodwin.. I understand you have a hijacking situation?

Lisa: Yes sir, I’ve been talking with a passenger, a Todd Beamer, on Flight 93 who managed to get to an air phone unnoticed.

Goodwin: Where did this flight originate, and what was its destination?

Lisa: The flight left Newark New Jersey at 8 A.M. departing for San Francisco. The hijackers took over the plane shortly after takeoff, and several minutes later the plane changed course – it is now flying east.

Goodwin: Ms Jefferson…I need to talk to someone aboard that plane. Can you get me thru to the plane’s phone?

 Lisa: I still have that line open sir, I can patch you through on a conference call…hold a mo…..

Todd: Hello Lisa, Lisa are you there?

Lisa: Yes, I’m here. Todd, I made a call to the FBI, Agent Goodwin is on the line and will be talking to you as well.

Todd: The others all know that this isn’t your normal hijacking. Jeremy called his wife again on his cell phone. She told him more about the World Trade Center and all.

Goodwin: Hello Todd. This is Agent Goodwin with the FBI. We have been monitoring your flight. Your plane is on a course for Washington, DC. These terrorists sent two planes into the World Trade Center and one plane into the Pentagon. Our best guess is that they plan to fly your plane into either the White House or the United States Capital Building.

Todd: I understand…hold on……I’ll…….I’ll be back..

Lisa: Mr Goodwin, how much time do they have before they get to Washington?

Goodwin: Not long ma’am. They changed course over Cleveland; they’re approaching Pittsburgh now. Washington may be twenty minutes away.

Todd: (breathing a little heavier) The plane seems to be changing directions just a little. It’s getting pretty rough up here. The plane is flying real erratic….We’re not going to make it out of here.

Lisa: Todd, what are you going to do?

Todd: We’ve hatched a plan. Four of us are going to rush the hijacker with the bomb. After we take him out, we’ll break into the cockpit. A stewardess is getting some boiling water to throw on the hijackers at the controls. We’ll get them….and we’ll take them out. Lisa, …..will you do one last thing for me?

Lisa: Yes…What is it?

Todd: Would you pray with me?

They pray: Our Father which art in Heaven

Hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive our trespassers,

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…

He makes me to lie down in green pastures

He leads me beside the still waters

He restores my soul

He leads me in paths of righteousness

for His name’s sake

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I will fear no evil, for thou art with me….

Todd: (softer) God help me…Jesus help me….(clears throat and louder)

Are you guys ready?…… Let’s Roll……

At 10:03AM, United Airlines Flight 93, smashed in to a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 

I am sure each one of us here remembers exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news.  For myself and my then co-worker Marta Zimmerman, it started out a routine day at the library until our dear patron, Mary Finch came by and told us about the Twin Towers being hit.  After she left, we rolled the television out from the Memorial Room and sat in a state of devastated horror watching the events as they unfolded over the course of the day and several days later.

My friend, Tiffany Schoff Sen, who grew up here in St. Johnsville and now lives in New Jersey recently shared her memory of that day with me.  She wrote “I wish I could be with you in person to share my experience. I was working in midtown Manhattan on that day, having moved there just over two years earlier. It started out as just another beautiful Tuesday morning, and I had voted in the democratic mayoral primary early before making my way across town to work, when everything started to fall apart. Before the day was over I would witness the fall of the first tower from the roof of my building.

The changes to NYC since that day are significant. But I also witnessed a sense of community in what many people think of as a gritty, soul-less metropolis. I attended memorials for friends who lost loved ones in the towers. It made me feel closer to my neighbors, and is part of the reason why I did not, could not, leave NYC after that day. It had already become my new home.”

We were a nation united in tragedy; our grief was tremendous.  How do we measure grief?  Do we count the days since our loved ones were taken from us?  Do we guess at the number of tears we have shed?  I am certain, our responses would vary from person to person depending on their memories and life experiences. 

Yesterday, on the eve of September 11, 2021, twenty years since we experienced the horrible attacks and profound loss I put my mind to finding a concrete way to measure our grief.

I invite you to picture in your mind’s eye a large egg.

Google told me that a large egg weighs approximately 2 ounces. 

If we take that weight and multiply it by the 2977 victims we come up with 5954 ounces, now divide those ounces by 16, because there are 16 ounces per pound.  Our personal grief now weighs 372 pounds per day. But wait, we are not finished.

There are 365 days per year.  Over the course of 20 years that is 7300 days.  When you multiply all those days by our grief weight of 372 pounds, it equates to 2,715, 600 pounds per individual of grief. But we are not finished. 

In 2019, there were approximately 328,000,000 million people in the United States.  If each person carries their 20 year grief weight of 2,715,600 pounds, we have, collectively as a nation, carried 89 trillion, 71 million 680 thousand pounds of grief since September 11, 2001.

How is it that we have been able to bear such a burden? 

We are able to bear that weight, and sustain ourselves, because as Americans, we do not carry our burdens alone.  We rely on our families, our friends and our neighbors to help us endure.    Just as Tiffany wrote of her experience on that blue skied September morning, the events of September 11, 2001 made her feel closer to her neighbors, so close in fact, that she could not and would not abandon a city that had become and remains her home.

As a World War 2 veteran, my dad always said that the worst thing we could do was to forget cataclysmic events and the people who were part of them and the people who were shaped by them.  As the months and years slip by, some of these memories become foggy, in danger of slipping over the cliff to forgotten.  It is up to us, the living, to never allow that to happen.  It is our duty to continue to bear witness to the events of September 11, 2001.  It is our duty to ensure that the hope which lives in us all thrives and finds a home in the hearts of the hopeless, because without hope we are doomed.  I am here to tell you, even in times of immense distress, hope is alive.  It does not weigh us down like our great grief but rather lifts us up.  Hope is lighter than air and when it encounters the darkest of days, it somehow finds a way to shine through.  Sometimes, the light of hope is just a tiny spark, the smallest of beams, but given time it can grow and shine as brightly as the sun. 

On this grim day a 20 years ago we see in our minds eyes, through the haze of an entire nation’s mourning, the images which have forever become engraved in our hearts.  The sacrifice and suffering of September 11th demonstrated to us that while we as a nation may bend, we remain unbroken.

As clear as if it were yesterday we recall the determined faces of emergency personnel and first responders and the haunted look of broken families and a devastated citizenry.  Within the stillness of our minds and hearts we hear the focused words of our leaders and the comforting prayers of our pastors.

We need to remember, never forgetting that day, and all that has occurred at home and abroad because of September 11.  The twin flames of hope and remembrance light our path towards the future as we continue to struggle to find a new kind of normal.

On what is probably one of the saddest anniversaries our country marks we need to keep hope alive because it is when our despair extinguishes that flame of hope our enemies claim victory.

On this day remember and pledge yourselves to never forgetting. 

As a nation we have endured our share of ups and downs these past twenty years; especially the last 19 months in a pandemic.  Nonetheless, hope remains.  It comes to us in the most unexpected ways, we just need to stay aware and watch for it.

 

Please stand as we close with the Star Spangled Banner.