Reader reflects on Healing Field

Dear Editor,

My wife Sherry and I visited the Healing Field at the Cannonsburg ski hill on Sunday and were moved by the display of 3,000 flags representing those lost on 9/11. We returned after dark to see what it looked like under the lights and were moved again, in an entirely different way. Those experiences prompted thoughts that I have since converted into the following poem. I thought perhaps some of your readers might identify with my reflections.

Flags On a Ski Hill at Night –
September 11, 2011

Three thousand flags displayed on a ski hill,

lined up in rows like tall stalks of corn,

standing like tombstones, mute in the darkness,

full moon above, a harvest forlorn.


Today in the wind they waved with conviction,

now in the night they hang limp and damp

like sails on a mast when a zephyr has faded,

or slack canvas tent flaps when armies encamp.


A pair of young girls darts blithely between them,

like skiers who slalom through gates made of poles,

unmindful this evening of reasons for mourning,

forgetting that these are the shrouds for lost souls.


They are, after all, simply flags on a hillside,

metal and cloth in ordered array,

but such is the stuff that mitigates heartache,

and such is the innocence lost on that day.

Steve Trott, Rockford resident

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