2001-12-01 / Columnists

Notes From The High C’s

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
By Sharon Gabriel

Every morning I look out of my bedroom window at the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, so peaceful and calm. And, off in the distance, I still see the Navy ships that have been protecting us since that awful day in September and my mood changes to a depression that has only increased since November 12.

All of a sudden, Rockaway, which hardly anybody ever heard of (and, sometimes we think that includes City Hall), is now known all over the world for two of the most horrendous events ever in our city.

While many of us have not personally lost anyone in either of the events, we all know many families whose lives will never be the same. You walk into a shop or meet someone on the street and your first discussion concerns how we are coping and what we are doing to help each other. You watch television and see long lines of people paying respect at a funeral home, or another funeral or memorial service and you wonder how all these priests and rabbis can think of what to say over and over again to comfort the families. How do you explain these events to small children?

I remember as a child living here in Rockaway during World War II when we had blackouts and sirens wailed and people ran home at night when you lived with special blackout shades on your windows and your father out on the street as part of the civilian defense force. It was all a part of our everyday lives and we accepted it. Today’s children, however, have lived in peace and they are shattered to realize that the world is changing. How do you explain these events to small children?

Small children love a parade. They love Snoopy, gigantic balloons, clowns and Santa Claus as they watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. This is their world. Let’s hope that their innocence returned as they sat on the living room floor watching the parade.

Each of us at the Rockaway Music and Art Council has participated in several of the local events that have taken place since September 11, and now since November 12. Whether it was helping out at the candlelight vigil held at Fort Tilden or at a concert at Beach Channel High School, or having the authorities, whether it was the press, the FBI, the NTSB, the FAA or others using your home as a base after the plane crash, we have all in some way, no matter how small, helped out. And, the RMAC will continue to help especially with our school-based music program for children. At the present moment, we are planning a full schedule of age appropriate events to be held at several of the elementary schools and in both of our local high schools, as we have done for the past several years.

Of course, we wanted to have our Festival, but that was not to be and so we go on planning for the next one to be held next September.

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