Craig Dennis, California

Editor’s Note: The essay below was written in 2001 and appears in the self-published book, Through Our Eyes: A Tapestry of Words and Images in Response to September 11. Printed and distributed in 2002, the book was the result of an independent, volunteer documentary project organized by a journalist and several friends. The author’s bio was written in 2002 and has not been updated. 

CRAIG DENNIS
Los Angeles, California

As pals will tell you, Craig Dennis is the type of guy who gives new meaning to the words humor, kindness and friendship. “He is a friend in for the long haul,” says Beth, an old chum. “He is somebody you should know, if you don’t already.” Craig, 26, was born in La Mesa, California, but spent most of his life in Phoenix, Arizona. Today, he and his dog live in Los Angeles, where Craig works as a software developer. Last year, he applied to work for the Peace Corps in the technical arena and is presently awaiting acceptance and placement. Craig also plays in a band under the guise of 7’Moustache (visit http://www.mp3.com/7FootMoustache). As for his faith, Craig writes: “There is a God, but all organized religions have lost track of Him. Everyone has a little bit of the puzzle, but no one wants to listen to each other.”

On the morning of Sept. 11, Craig was working from home when his girlfriend (now ex) came home frightened and told him what was happening. “We got together with all of our friends in the area and got ready for the end of the world as we know it.” A week later, Craig drove across the country with a pregnant friend who was going home to Connecticut. Once he arrived, he tried to assist technically with the companies in the World Trade Center wreckage and was pleased to find they had more than enough help. Craig did, however, help a company that provides technical services to non-profit organizations; the company’s regular workload was getting ignored because of the WTC disaster. The following, “I Am,” is a song Craig wrote Sept. 12. “Sometimes, the only way I can get stuff off my chest is by writing. This was one of those cases.” 

I Am

I am human.
I am demanding to know why these acts were done by other humans.
I am demanding more than just that they were “evil.”
I am demanding to know why one would risk their lives to send a
message.

I am afraid to know the answer.
I am afraid to hear that we did not listen.
I am afraid to hear that we knew, and did not listen.
I am afraid that this act was because it was felt that it was the only way
that they could be heard.

I am afraid we have had this problem before.
I am deathly afraid that we will have it again.
I am listening.

I am American.
I am not proud.
I am not proud of not having pride.
I am not backing up the decision to kill humans.
I am not backing up a decision that will make anyone feel, on any scale
what we felt that day.

I am not willing to make anyone listen through violence.
I am not going to agree that this is the solution to the problem.
I am not going to agree that the message we are sending “We won’t listen, and we will make sure you never talk again” is the right one.
I am not going to agree that message is safe, healthy, or productive.
I am not ignoring the fact that America isn’t accepting any blame.

I am not ignoring ignorance.
I am not ignoring the fact that everyone needs to listen to everyone.
I am not forgetting that everyone wants and needs peace.
I am not listening to media manipulation, but, I am listening.

I am human.
I am proud.

I am overjoyed to see the amount of help, love, and brotherhood.
I am hoping that this will continue.
I am believing that we need this attitude all of the time.
I am sorry that it took an issue like this to make it happen.
I am believing that those who lost their innocent lives would feel the same way.
I am wishing that I was more involved in understanding issues like this.

I am going to be.
I am realizing daily that the way we live is not worth it.
I am realizing that there is more to life than a flat screen television and two half-ton SUVs.
I am realizing that I would not give my life, or even 40 hours a week, for that American dream.
I am going to work and act differently.
I am realizing that it is humanity that I am proud of.
I am listening.

I am one.
I am frightened.
I am not saying I know the answers.
I am not saying that I would want to be or could be in a place to make the decisions.

I am saying how I feel.
I am wondering if I am alone.
I am scared in knowing that this meathead-driven power represents me to others.
I am not willing to die for those beliefs, but am afraid that I might, that we all might.

I am not able to listen to talk radio.
I am having a hard time believing the hatred toward innocent people.
I am not able to say that if I was directly related to those innocent people in the buildings that I wouldn’t feel the same way.

I am confused.
I am mourning.
I am not sure why I am writing this, but,
I am listening.
I am begging you to do the same, listen to what you are feeling,
understand it and own it, it is yours, and it is okay.
I am listening.

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