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This Month From Cliff- September 18, 2013

President’s Report

September 18, 2013

Cliff L. Wood

Marking Time in Time


All of us have those moments in time where an event causes us to stop and mark time.  From the moment of this seminal event, we always remember where we were even though the intensity of our feelings may change.  For some the intensity never changes.

As a little boy, I remember my parents, aunts and uncles talking about where they were when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.  Similarly, I always remember the death of John Kennedy in 1963, the moon walk in 1969, the explosion of the Challenger in 1986, and, of course, the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9-11-2001.

It is interesting and, somewhat sad, that only one of these was a happy occasion.  The others were all sad, and I remember the enormous grief and regret that wrapped around me and those I loved.

And even though such incidents make us very sad, we need to continue to memorialize and remember that these events are marks in time when the world stops and we remember.  We mark time in time.

I thought about all of this on 9-11-2013 when RCC held its annual 9/11 Remembrance, a poignant ceremony when we stopped to reflect on this infamous day in history and honor those who were lost, over 3,000 people.  These 3,000 people have names. These individuals came from different backgrounds, ethnicities and lifestyles.  These people were old and young and in between.  These people came from all over the world.  These people represented achievement and potential and hope.

This year’s ceremony was very special with beautiful music and the reading of Rockland county’s Poet Laureate and RCC Professor Dan Masterson’s “Out of the Blue,” his extraordinary poem that commemorates/marks the occasion.  Dan also chose the commemoration to remember another moment in time, his father’s service in World War I.  Under the permanent installation of the monument of “Out of the Blue” Dan buried a box containing a picture of his father in military uniform and his father’s Purple Heart received for courage in the “War to make the world safe for democracy.”

Another special feature was the flag shared by Patty Castro of the RCC Foundation.  Her dear cousin, Steven Schlag, lost his life in the World Trade Center, making it a special day of remembrance for her family.  The flag has the names of the more than 3,000 who lost their lives on 9/11 etched in the fabric.  One person remarked to me about the sense of loss she felt in seeing the flag.  The names had to be written in such small letters in order to fit them all in.

Dan Masterson and Dr. Wood

September 11, 2013 is now another watershed moment for me, a day when a bell rang, a gong sounded for me because of a comment made to me by Dan Masterson


He sent me a note that read:  “The picture of you and me standing together and the stunning monument is already a vital keepsake of the history you ordained.”

This statement stunned me as I realized I am creating my own history, marking time in time.


A Question for us all

The question then becomes is the history we ordained by marking time in time, a history of seizing the moment and making changes so others do not have to mark a similar moment!