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Respect reflect remember September

Franklin Avenue subway station honors Aretha Franklin.
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More than any one day in recent memory, Sept. 11 demand pause for a cause, here over there and somewhere.

In America, it is a day dedicated to remembering and paying tribute to the 2,977 people killed and numerous people who were injured during the terrorist attacks 17 years ago in New York City, Washington DC and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

For New Yorkers the millennial tragedy resonates with reflections of the 2001 primary election day that started with terrorists’ hijacking of airplanes that crashed into the Twin Towers claiming the lives of a multitude of people.

The vivid nostalgia of the day is readily recalled by yours truly who awakened after a brief sleep from attending an all-star concert headlined the night prior by Michael Jackson at Madison Square Garden.

And while the overwhelmingly memorable historic assembly of talented entertainers lingered in my mind into the dawn, thoughts of going to the polls before heading uptown to fulfill editorial duties on a deadline day at the Amsterdam News where I worked as entertainment editor dominated.

Breaking news reports blasted past any action, hesitation or contemplation.

Frozen by the reports, my consternation focused on colleagues and friends in the entertainment industry who might be returning to Los Angeles, California on those aircrafts.

But the added reality of the Tuesday deadline hastily took precedence when a phone call from the publisher urged me to “stay put…you will have to put out the paper from home?”

It seemed an improbable proposition because pages had to be dummied, pictures had to be scaled, headlines had to be measured and reporters on assignment were scheduled to drop off stories to fill the entertainment and Caribbean pages.

My presence was necessary, or so I imagined.

At the time, Harlem seemed farther than usual.

Like an unreachably distant location subway service uptown was suspended.

Warp speed merged with slow-motion and within minutes the sobering details of the Ground Zero massacre unraveled.

Needless to say, the presses rolled.

It was a Sept. 11 to remember in 2001.

Unfortunately it was not the first time the day and month held significance.

A similar feeling of disbelief nostalgically resonated with news of the Sept. 11, 1987 murder of Peter Tosh at his home in Kingston, Jamaica.

Along with nationals here and over there, we were shocked to learn that gunmen stormed his home in Kingston, Jamaica to assassinate the legendary Wailer who with Bunny Wailer formed a triumvirate to help promote the island’s reggae music recording freedom songs with Bob Marley, the acclaimed king of the genre.

The 42-year-old revolutionary was a superstar in his own right and for months — now years — after his Sept. 11 passing he is regaled with tributes from the global community of music lovers.

A recurring September 11 significance emanated seven years after most of the world community celebrated a new millennium .

September 11 2007 found me in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The contrast to the commemorative date of 2001 and the very same anniversary of September 11 was more than sobering.

There, jubilation was the order of the day.

It is their Enkutatash (gift of jewels)-- New Year’s Day.

According to Wikipedia the date “has also been associated traditionally with the return of the Queen of Sheba to Ethiopia following her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem in circa. 980 BC.”

Nationals there prepared the day before by cleaning every corner of their homes, decorating with huge bouquets of long-stemmed roses and placing long blades of fresh grass on the floors.

Church services mark the holiness of the occasion.

At night, Meskel Square like Times Square filled with thousands of singing celebrants.

Bands of youths spread mirth, glee and joy hugging friends and strangers along their path.

Probably more jubilant than most annuals, it was their millennium year 2000.

Operating from a Julian calendar seven years behind the western Gregorian time recorder, Ethiopians annually revel on September 11 to rival the rest of the world’s Jan. 1st and New Year’s Day.

I was privileged to see the pop group -- Black Eyed Peas perform a rousing and eventful concert that invited head of states from the Sudan, Rwanda, Djibouti and other nations.

Ambassadors and consular generals from virtually every continent traveled to the horn of Africa to enjoy the historic milestone day.

That Sept. 11 fills a reservoir of time-honored memories of all my Septembers.

Considering the fact Ralph Herbert Pryce, my father was born on Sept. 19, the month has always claimed importance.

Needless to say, this Sept. 11 dawns a new year and 2011 in Ethiopia.

Hopefully the calendar date that places them at a seven year distance from the rest of the world will manifest hopes of a brand, new, peaceful, healthy and happy New Year.

Likewise, members of the Jewish community will end a three-day observance of Rosh Hashanah on Sept. 11.

For observers, it is the Hebrew year 5779 and a new year that along with the commemoration of the anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy probably also prompted a Thursday, Sept. 13 primary election process.

In addition to some of the memorable associations with the date, scientist are saying that Sept. 11, 2018 starts a three-day sky-show beginning at twilight with the alignments of Venus and Jupiter brightening the westward position of a crescent moon.

The experts claim that the moon, Venus and Jupiter are the second, third and fourth brightest celestial bodies to bedeck the heavens, respectively, after the sun.

Regardless of the circumstance, reflect, respect in September.

Catch You on The Inside!

Updated 5:46 pm, September 11, 2018
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