Archive for September, 2011

Remembering 9/11: Ten Years Have Passed. A Day of Service

Sep. 10th 2011

While an undergraduate student at Boston College, I was an intern at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library located in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is situated along the water, looking out over Dorchester Bay, which connects to Boston Harbor. I. M. Pei’s  stunning structure architecturally blends the library building with the natural environment. The JFK Presidential Library’s outer walls are made of crisp white stucco; a sail-like design. The building reflect’s President Kennedy’s love of the wind, the ebb and flow of the tide, and his passion for sailing. His boat, Victura, is displayed facing Boston Harbor, placed on the lawn—- lost—as if waiting for  its captain to return.

The captain will never return.

In the days leading up to the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America, I experienced an empty feeling. I seem to be looking for the return of something lost. It’s a vvoid hard to describe–yet I speculate, we all may have felt this way at one time or another.

This summer, I worked on photographic project in New York City. Night photography and night cinematography is one of my passions. After staying  out all night shooting still film and live footage, I made my way on foot to Battery Park to greet a new dawn.  I looked out where two rivers intersect and Lady Liberty stands tall across New York Harbor. Inspiring.

The sky was blue. The clouds–dream-like. There was a touch of Autumn in the air. I could not take my eyes off the Statue of Liberty. She looks so different  in person compared to high school textbooks.  To me, Lady Liberty is a beacon of hope. She is a source of inspiration and determination. A promise of a new day; a new beginning.

The morning I was in Lower Manhattan was similar, weather wise,  to September 11, 2001. The sky was blue. The water glistened. People were making their way to work. Nothing seemed out-of-the-ordinary. It could have been any Manhattan morning.

The events of 10 years ago shattered our collective sense of national security.

I can pinpoint the precise time and  place where I was 10 years ago on September 11, 2001. Disbelief was my first reaction. Then panic set in. Where is (name withheld)? I made a telephone call home. Morning television programming was preempted. As I  turned on the TV, Tower Number 2 collapsed in real time before my eyes.  I then  switched on WBZ AM 1030, Boston’s oldest and one of the nation’s most respected radio stations. I wanted to  learn what was happening to our nation. It was hard to connect the dots, cross “t’s” and make sense of nonsensicle acts.

It is important  tomorrow to reflect upon lives lost, tears shed, the heroic deeds and the kindness of strangers related to that horrible morning in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania 10 years ago.

It’s time to dig deep into our collective national soul and seek out goodness. Turn a bad memory into a memorial of healing and service to others.

Michelle Obama, First Lady eloquently noted in her address to the American people this week, make tomorrow, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a day of national and community service. I know Fenway Park, the iconic shrine to baseball and home of the Boston Red Sox will opens its gates for a Red Cross blood drive.  I learned from a reader of my blog, in the Heartland of America, will spend the day at a nursing home with her pet cat, visiting patients with memory impairments. Another friend from New York City sent me an e-mail noting he will play his guitar and share his love and talent of music in a small neighborhood public park. No dark glasses. No fame. Just a fellow  American playing tribute songs on his acoustic guitar to all who pass by and wish to sing along.

As noted, the  captain of the Victura did  not return–yet  his legacy lives on in spirit. I think of The Peace Corps, The Alliance for Progress, an underground nuclear test ban treaty signed with the Soviet Union.

Every action causes a reaction. Or is the other way around?  I am horrible when it comes to science.

America is a nation strong in character, will, and determination.

Honor the dead. Praise those who assisted on that fateful day: police, firefighters, EMTs, chaplins, mental health workers, rescue dogs, meal makers, and trained rescue workers. The list of first responders, and those who came to the 9/11 sites in the following hours, days, weeks, and months are to honored.

On September 11, 2011,  reach out to others.







With a heavy heart, and  the promise of  knowing only working TOGETHER as a nation, we will move forward to create a better America and a better world— free, safe, and secure.

Alone. We suffer.

Together, we unite.

United we stand.

God bless America. My country. My land of opportunity. My land of freedom. A land I love with deepness of heart.

Cast your sails to the wind.

Never forget September 11th.

Brendan Ben Feeney

San Francisco, CA. USA

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“I Am a Lineman for the County….” Glen Campbell’s Farewell Tour

Sep. 7th 2011

Deeply embedded in a recent edition of The Wall Street Journal was an article about Glen Campbell–a musician whom I deeply admire.

Is it hip to admit you like Glen Campbell? Is is not cool to say you once owned all of his albums and tried to emulate his voice–outside of the shower?

Once I turned a particular age, I could care less if I had The Best of the Partridge Family glued to my forehead.

The Wall Street Journal article noted Glen Campbell recorded a new CD. In support of this new CD, Mr. Campbell  is touring to promote “the product.”

Yes. The music industry is a business. 

What struck a cord with me was this tour was titled a “Farewell Tour.”  Why the farewell?

Glen Campbell has Alzheimer’s Disease.

When public people go public with private information diverse reactions occur. Some good. Some bad.

On one side of the fence, one may say, “How nice. One last time to hear and see a living legend perform.” On the other side of the fence (the one that shows the infrastructure and cross-beams- not the round, neat compilation of fence posts) one may say,”How cruel! How exploitative! Why make this man sing with teleprompters and put him in uncompromising situations.”

 On tour you work at night and try to sleep during the day.  Anyone who has lived on a tour bus knows life on the music circuit lacks glamor. Touring is not a Vanity Fair photo spread.

Glen’s voice is pure. When he sings Wichita Lineman, he sounds like he is personally crooning to me. This particular song’s delivery is rich and resonates with sincerity. The guitar tracks and vocals are not bloated with overdubs. It is a magnificent song sung with precision and grace.

His guitar work on Wichita Lineman is stunning. He is known as a recording and touring artist in his own right, yet Mr. Campbell played as a studio musician and has  backed-up many famed musicians on iconic songs.

When Glen Campbell comes to town I am uncertain if I will see him perform. Should I  keep the memory I have of Mr. Campbell from the days of old, in my minds-eye, remembering how Mr. Campbell interprets his classic songs on his recordings? His songs paint word pictures. Do I want to spoil this?

And what about the essence of a “Farewell Tour?” 

Exploitation? I don’t know.

A chance to say say goodby to the stage? Plausible.

One big bang for the buck for his record label? This could be the case.

Or, maybe Mr. Campbell has the call of the road in his system. There is something hypnotic about being on stage, pouring one’s heart out with one’s music–and feeling a wave of love  from the crowd bouncing back at you with each round of applause and two or three encores.

I feel deeply for those who suffer from memory impairment. It is a cruel fate. A bad deck of cards often dealt at an unexpected time during one’s life.

If you read this Glen, I thank you for the years you performed a steady repertoire of hit songs. I thank you for the clarity of your melodic voice and honest, un-cluttered guitar playing. I admire your long career in the music industry. Your style is unique and I thank you for being part of the soundtrack of my life.

As you hit the road for your “Farewell Tour,” I bid you a fond farewell.

Brendan Ben Feeney

Providence, Rhode Island. USA.

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