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Week’s events lifted us to soaring heights

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By Wendy Binnie

JFK said, ‘Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.’

Last week we were treated to two events wildly disparate but nevertheless enabling us to be lifted up with lightened hearts.

How about those S.E.A.L.S? One would have to know something about scopes, snipers and sharp-shooting to fully realize what happened and the difficulties the feat presented.

It’s not the easiest of tasks when the subject and the shooter are stationary.

Without going into the well-known ‘story’ of piracy on the high seas, though that sobriquet doesn’t quite fit; Jack Sparrow and Captain Blood these ‘pirates’ are not!

Three fine, well-trained and nerveless Americans stationed on the fantail of the ‘at sea’ Bainbridge managed to shoot at a target pitching and bobbing in the waves.

Their superb marksmanship (each was assigned their own target) did the job and rescued a Merchant Marine captain who had allowed himself to be taken hostage to save his crew.

We thank the president for giving the go-ahead.

Are things looking up for our country – the pilot who landed in the Hudson River, saving the entire crew and passengers, made us feel proud again. With people such as these – and the unsung heroes we know we have – the swelling of the chest we feel for these heroes gives us hope that our America may yet be poised to take back her rightful place in the world.

The other event was the emergence of an admittedly frumpy 47-year-old British woman who literally stunned the world (and Simon Cowell) with a soaring voice of pure glory.

Her name is Susan Boyle and she appeared on British television in a show called Britain’s Got Talent – and does she ever. She sang the consumptive Fantine’s ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from the musical, Les Miserables.

In her lifetime she has known ridicule, bullying and how it feels to be laughed at.

We have a feeling she won’t be taunted anymore and we shall be hearing a lot more from Ms. ‘never been kissed’ Susan Boyle in the months and years to come. Her choice of which song to sing was interesting and leaves us to wonder if she will return to Les Miz for another of its descriptive tunes.

‘I dreamed a dream in time gone by

When hope was high

And life worth living

I dreamed that love would never die

I dreamed that God would be forgiving

Then I was young and unafraid

And dreams were made and used and wasted

There was no ransom to be paid

No song unsung, no wine untasted.’

It would indeed be a welcome encore if she were to sing the song sung by Fantine’s ‘daughter’ Cosette.

‘How strange, this feeling that my life’s begun at last

This change, can people really fall in love so fast?

What’s the matter with you, Cosette?

Have you been too much on your own?

So many things unclear

So many things unknown.’

We can wish only a glorious future ahead for this gifted lady both personally and professionally.

Strange segue – but there is none applicable:

Did anyone know about the gift from Russia to our country?

Obviously many people did not know and one can only wonder why it received such sparse coverage.

Most who knew about it saw the pictures in an e-mail.

It is called the “Tear Drop” and was made and installed by the Russians to honor those who died on 9/11 and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

It is a beautiful gift and a statement against terrorism.

The tear – a Tear of Grief –  hangs in a jagged crack that runs down the middle of the main slab. The monument is very impressive and also sports a statement against terrorism.

The teardrop is lined up with the Statue of Liberty and features a 40-foot steel teardrop suspended within a large bronze-clad tower.

Information about the memorial is available on the memorial Web site: “Time cures everything, but there are things we cannot and must not forget. To the struggle against world terrorism this honors the victims of 9/11 and the 1993 World Trade Center bombings and serves as a symbol of solidarity in the fight against world terrorism.”

The gift stands over 100 feet tall and was created by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli and is a gift from the Russian people. Tsereteli is a well respected, multi-talented artist whose works appear in many cities around the world. The monument is at The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, New Jersey.

The unveiling on Sept. 11, 2006 was attended by President Clinton, Governor Corzine, Senators Menendez, Lautenberg and other dignitaries.

The names of those who died are inscribed on the base which resembles the Vietnam Memorial wall.

A June 2007 New Yorker article describes the monument.

Supposedly it is best viewed when approached by water, which was intentional, says Tsereteli.

It comes into view before France’s gift to our country, The Lady herself – The Statue of Liberty.

So if you didn’t know of the Tear-Drop’s existence, you do now.

As I was saying ...

Wendy England Binnie a novelist and op/ed columnist lives in Oak Trace Villas.