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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of September 11 - 17, 2002

reflections on September 11th

ĎI will light candles Ö and pray.í

By James D. Valesey, Ketchum

On the morning of Sept. 11, I was working at my sisterís house high on a hill in upstate New York. At night, you could see the red blinking light on the mast of the Twin Towers. On a clear day (as it was) you could see the mast.

I went to New York early in August to take care of my Mom, who was recovering from breast cancer surgeries. She lost her left breast.

When I found out she had cancer, I told the Grabhers, my bosses at Grabher Construction, about it. They told me to go, and take are of her, and not worry about my job. I took seven weeks leave of absence. I am forever grateful to them.

Years ago, when I lived in New York, I worked the winters in a NYC nightclub, bartending. We used off-duty cops and firemen as bouncers.

Here I was, working on a retainer wall at my sisterís house. My Mom, half a mile away, resting at home.

My sister ran outside and told us that a plane hit the World Trade Center. Her husband and I ran to her living room where the TV was on. Her living room has a southern exposure that I described earlier.

We all have seen the video of those towers as the second plane hit. I saw a very small fireball just crest the horizon to the south as well. I could tell you of the panic surrounding us as my family got gasoline, diesel and kerosene. I could tell you of friends and acquaintances lost and some whose remains were never found. I could tell you how eerily quiet it was without any air traffic except for the occasional fighter jet. I could tell you of tears brought to my eyes then, as it still does. Space doesnít allow my telling.

When I finally drove back to Idaho in late September, the first thing I did was clean and load my pistol. As always, I will never lie on my back and play dead.

I am a martial arts instructor, and was teaching some youngsters from the neighborhood when I discovered Momís cancer and went to New York. When I came back, I rented a hall, and taught for free. I had quite a few students initially. I still teach, although I canít afford to do it free anymore.

This past year, I have lived my life well. I refuse to allow some bully terrorist coward stop me from teaching, working, laughing, playing "Black Bart," nor give up my ideals of life, liberty, nor pursue my own happiness as I, a human being, see fit.

I have spent two weeks this past August on the East Coast. Mom seems to have recovered nicely. Oh yeah, by the way, so had New York.

There are spotlights that are blue and go to the heavens. There is a huge rubble pile in Long Island filled with ghosts. There are people in touch and on the streets that are in recovery, and doing well. We Americans are resilient people.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2002, I will work, I will learn with Arek and Shannon. I will remember, and I will light candles and place them outside like we did in upstate New York a year ago that night, and pray in the candlelight.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.