Posts in "Electing Leaders" category

Our September 11, 2001

We were on our last piece of furniture, just me and my twins. One newborn in each arm, and not expecting a war – acts of terror – on our home front.

I was already in survival mode, sleep-deprived and scared. And I was alone except for my babies, born almost two months early, Jack in my right arm and his twin sister, Chloe, in my left. Other than what I saw in front of me on the television, that is my most clear memory. They were all I could really focus on and that was because it was still life and death for my daughter.

There were movers coming and going from our house in Colorado, outside of Boulder where we had incredible, peaceful views and where I had amazing friends and support as a new mother. It was so hard to leave the best friends I’d ever had, three pregnant at the same time and going through the same emotions…saying goodbye in a hospital room because I was admitted early with toxemia.

September 11_2001_Deb Beacham_Boulder Colorado

This was not my exact view that morning, but pretty close. If I could paint, this is how I would express my memories of this view. These were the kind of vivid sunrises we had, with other amazing views out of the back of our house showing wild animals and horses roaming open fields, and hot air balloons drifting by.  A stark contrast to what followed.

On that morning I was debating whether or not to make another emergency room visit to our our hospital because of my daughter’s health issues and we were keeping a close eye on my son because we were weaning him off of the oxygen tank and tubes in preparation for flying on the GPC corporate jet to Atlanta, where daddy was already working. I don’t even remember where he was that morning, on September 11, 2001, but he was not home with us. I felt so alone except for the movers.

The next vivid memory I have is of the guys who were finishing up our packing (I couldn’t do much because of the constant needs of preemie twins who had not been home long from a month-long stay in the NICU). They had come into the room and seen the billowing smoke from the Towers after hearing the outcries coming from the television. They all stood in shock around me, unable to speak. I’m not sure if the sounds were coming from me or from our television.

I felt like screaming because this could just not be true, what I was seeing before me. Tears were pouring down my face and I was muffling my sounds into a baby blanket because I could not traumatize my frail infants who were already so hyper-sensitive, and with Chloe in and out of the hospital multiple times per week. I did not yet know the term Failure to Thrive, just that it was touch and go with her.  We were preparing to move to Georgia, and I was silently grieving the move on top of what we had just been through with our dramatic labor and delivery in Denver. I also wasn’t aware that I was suffering from severe postpartum depression. The fear, sleep-deprivation and grief over leaving my best friends were not things I had the luxury of thinking about at that point.

As I watched the second Tower get hit on live television, noting that the ever-calm and decisive Katie Couric sounded like she was trying herself not to falter while taking in the choking sobs of callers, I found another gear. I decided to let go of that gear today and give in to my tears that I’ve held back all of this time, for the last 15 years.

When you have no choice but to hold it together to protect your children, your own emotions and grief take a back seat. Until now I could not let myself watch any of the footage, read most posts or reports about the attack or feel what I felt that day. That is what happens when things just do not let it up. Not that it’s letting up now…I’m just stronger.

This post is updated – today is not September 11th as when I created the post in 2016. It is June 25th, my twins’ birthday. They are 16 today!

The only person I remember speaking to that day, and barely, is my neighbor Janette, who came over to drive us to a friend’s house where we were to stay overnight until the plane sent by Genuine Parts Company was to carry us, our nurse for the twins, our nanny and our dog Copper to Atlanta. Janette was amazing. She knew I just could not speak and we were both trying not to give in to the emotions caused by what we had seen and were beginning to learn of the terrorist attacks. I don’t know how I would have managed that day without her. It was hard enough that I was having to leave her and other wonderful friends from our neighborhood and Colorado. The support I felt from her, the strength I drew, the calm response to trauma…it was something I could only get from another mother who knew without being told that I was hanging on by a thread and for the sake of keeping these infants peaceful. Reaching for healthy.

At this point I was unsure about flying with preemies but had no choice as the Company would not wait any longer. Every little disturbance, internally or externally, experienced by my daughter would make her very ill and send me racing with her to the emergency room. I didn’t know what each day would hold for us. But I coordinated with packers and movers, following instructions because that was all I could manage.

It was only when my babies were sleeping that I could attempt to get through to their father to make sure he was ok. He was safe, thank God, but was busy as every other executive/manager was while they were doing damage control over the impact on their employees and businesses.  Some of his office products / office furniture employees had been inside the Pentagon and only stepped outside for a break from meetings when it was hit by one of the planes under terrorist control. It was a miracle that they had gone outside when they did. News kept coming in like this about who was where, what they were experiencing, and about the mounting losses. It was almost impossible to look away from the images, the shocking live videos and reports streaming in. As you recall, there was virtually no good news to be found on any channel. Lots of heroism but way too much grief.

When I was finally able to get through to friends I had worked with in the financial district in NYC, the grief started to set in. The people I knew from Dean Witter (Morgan Stanley) had made it out, except for the guard who never left his post at the elevators at the top of that Tower to make sure that everyone got out, including people coming up the stairs and onto the floor where he held his post. He turned everyone around to get them out, while not thinking of himself. This man’s service and sacrifice is written about and posted at the memorial to 9/11 in the City of Atlanta. Yes, I fell apart when I came upon his story in Atlanta, not expecting to read what is posted there. For the month or so I spent working on those top floors there, he was always the first face I saw when heading for the trading desk of my department. And the last at the end of the day.

There is a documentary that depicts what it was like inside the buildings, using transcribed calls with the emergency service centers. From all I remember of my time in those buildings, it is accurate, and also chilling.

When someone you care about experiences something worse than your own grief, it gives you the chance to detach from your own thoughts and sadness. That is what happened when talking with my dear friend who worked in another building there, with another investment banking firm. I watched the same footage that she did, as one of her friends jumped from the smoldering building. We held our hands over our mouths, experiencing horror none of us could have ever fathomed before. There is still so much grief in our world, but none worse than for those families and children who witnessed that and lost their loved ones that way. On this day, this morning, 15+ years ago.

Time to allow this emotion to surface, and to move forward.

By God’s grace we are doing well, and we are together, my twins and our family. We get to join in with others spending time today to honor and support veterans, especially those wounded in service to our country and to the values we stand for.

Our Freedom and our ability to be together, to work and play together, are still at risk and being threatened in different ways each day. But we have each other and we have something in us that those terrorists and others who want to tear us down do not have.

Respect. Honor. Integrity. Courage. And Love.

Note: as I update and share this post, I am no longer allowed to be with my children due to the same terroristic acts which I study and report on. It is my turn to feel this pain, to bear down…and stand up. We are not done here.

Brad, if you make it this far please know there is a war at home which is not being fought as it needs to be, with the same resources and willpower with which we take on ISIS.  This is where I’m supposed to be. When I rejected the CIA, almost out of college, I couldn’t fathom what the future would bring, but now I understand.

Thinning the Thin Blue Line for Political Gain

A candidate spoke of the positives coming out of the violence at his political rally. Yes, he did.

No mention of the injured officer or of the waste of our tax dollars caused by his inciting of violence and intentionally divisive, inflammatory words and conduct. But he did speculate it could be good for his vote count while talking to media and even went on to talk about himself and his supporters as being the victims for having their first amendment rights denied.

This could be the thinning of what is already a thin blue line.

What does #ThinBlueLine mean?

The Thin Blue Line is a symbol used by law enforcement, originating in the United Kingdom but now prevalent in the United States and Canada to commemorate fallen officers and to symbolize the relationship of the police in the community as the protectors of the citizenry from the criminal element. In my opinion this line gets thinner when people treat law enforcement with disrespect and make their jobs harder, and integrity – or the lack of it – has everything to do with this problem.

Think. When we unnecessarily make police work harder by inciting violence we – candidates who activate hate, racism, fear, anti-semitism, and more – undermine our officers’ ability to protect and to serve as they are trying to do.

Poor judgment by candidates increases the risk to our officers, to families and children, to businesses, and, yes, to reporters as well. When you put down women, minorities and lie about what you’re doing, you’re inviting in abuse…but this candidate then rewards it with more fanfare.

When we create situations that cause law enforcement to have to react – and these are avoidable situations – we are wasting our resources, taking officers away from areas where others are truly in need of protection.

This candidate said about a protestor, “I was ready for him,” Trump said. “But it’s much easier if the cops do it.” This says he knows what he’s doing, escalating fear and hate, but that it’s not his problem, it’s law enforcement’s problem. And…it’s OUR problem as taxpayers, as parents, as business owners, etc. This doesn’t help us – – it hurts us.

Consider these statements in this CNN report:

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski added, “We don’t make decisions in a vacuum. We coordinate with all the appropriate law enforcement.”

But Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago police spokesman, told CNN that Trump’s claim that he informed a police commander before making the decision to cancel the rally was “absolutely untrue.”

“No one from the campaign contacted the Chicago Police Department and we were not involved at all in canceling the event,” Guglielmi told CNN. [So this candidate’s going to subject our officers to greater risk, and our citizens, and then lie about his campaign’s conduct while blaming police.]

“I was literally standing next to the superintendent when we were notified by the university that the event had been canceled. I think a lot of people were surprised, including the Secret Service officer standing next to us who was notified at the same time.”

Guglielmi added that police then dispatched an additional 100 police officers to the University of Illinois arena, where the event was being held, to assist with crowd control.

What if, Mr. Presidential Candidate, instead of stirring up violent protests for the sake of attention, media ratings and to distract from your own misconduct, you managed in a way that encourages law enforcement to use their time and energy to rescue victims of child trafficking and to pursue the predators in each area you visit?

That is what honoring law enforcement and protecting our vulnerable citizens looks like, when you choose what is right for them over what your ego demands.

If enough people say the truth over and over again maybe it will start to resonate with voters who still have integrity and empathy for people.

To the millions who are struggling, losing children, homes, health and jobs, I hope you’ll consider the attitude and example of candidates and watch how they treat others. If someone is cavalier about risking the lives of our officers, retaliates against a victim of violence for speaking out, threatens anyone who speaks out against him and rewards those who put profits over facts, what chance do you think we’ll have of getting him to care about the plight of families and children? Where on his list of priorities do you think your family will fall?

Respond to me on Twitter @DebBeachamATL or @MyAdvocateCentr, or via MyAdvocateCenter.com.

Deb Beacham

Deb Beacham, My Advocate Center
Deb Beacham, My Advocate Center

 

Hope and Heritage: New American Century for Millennials

ChristinaWantstoKnow_GAPrimary_RubioCampaignChristina wants to know why such a diverse crowd showed up in Georgia to learn more and support Marco Rubio for President of the United States. From long time Republicans and generally conservative voters to new, young voters to newer American citizens, Christina heard a common and positive theme of hope.

This interview of another college student gave us a clear view into the mind of a well-spoken and motivated millennial. This young man is graduating from college and expects to be in medical school soon and we appreciate him sharing his viewpoint as a student, a future doctor and as someone with a different heritage from most of the supporters who attended this overflowing event. As Christina made her way through the crowd with Pro Advocate Radio’s microphone he waved at her while holding his “Arabs for Rubio” sign, and of course she wanted to know more!

Listen to what he has to say about why Senator Rubio is his choice for millennial voters.

Mt Paran Christian School Rubio Rally

 

College Student Shares Hope – Part Two

Georgia College student Christina shares her perspective on why she switched from supporting Ted Cruz to using her voice to help get Senator Marco Rubio elected as our next president.

Christina is informed, thoughtful and well-spoken, and is hoping that more millennials will vote and vote thoughtfully about how to keep America great and about how they can make a difference.

ChristinaWantstoKnow_GAPrimary_RubioCampaign

As Christina explains in our initial interview with her for Pro Advocate Radio, she has done her homework and has spoken with Senator March Rubio three times herself to gain personal insight and accurate information so she is making informed decisions. Her wish is that more college students will also be bold thinkers and learn more about the candidates before voting on Super Tuesday and beyond. Thank you, Christina, for setting a great example for other students, millennials and for the rest of us!  [Yes, I turned the microphone over to her after this; she is quite remarkable!]

Christina Interviews Mt Paran Christian School Leadership

Child Advocacy and Presidential Elections

When many speak of child advocacy it seems they are counting on only one political party to care or take action. When I’ve spoken about the work I do at My Advocate Center some will even ask, “Why aren’t you a Democrat then?” They seem surprised that I am conservative and that I look toward Republican leadership to make improvements in child and family protections.  Over the last few years I’ve explored this question for myself and have found that political views or party affiliation have no place in the minds of the true advocates pushing to rescue children, to intervene in society’s pitfalls and to change policy.

DaveMcCleary_Advocate_Rotarian A Georgia businessman I’ve been getting to know when visiting the Capitol and events related to stopping child trafficking has raised the bar in showing how you can make a positive impact while collaborating with people from across every sector and with others who have different perspectives in areas such as faith and politics. For Dave McCleary it’s a simple matter of showing up and using the resources you have available to drive change.

When I saw Dave at a campaign event for Marco Rubio for President, I of course wanted to know what it is about Senator Rubio that has earned Dave’s support for this presidential candidate. As I’m sure you will be, I’m grateful to learn that Rubio has the same fire in his gut for helping our vulnerable citizens, especially exploited children and battered women. Please listen to what Dave has to say about the man, the father and leader Marco Rubio.

Where Do You Find Hope? Part One

What I’m supposed to say is that I find my hope in God’s word and while that is true, I’m also like many of my peers (and I don’t fake it well!). We relate in wanting something or someone we can see with our own eyes, and we want clear plans and promises we can wrap our minds around. We want to see and know that someone we trust will follow through and deliver on what we need and expect.

No, that isn’t faith but it is a part of being human, of being real and normal.

As long as we can keep the perspective that politicians are just as human as we are, and as long as we don’t displace our hope and faith by leaving it in their hands instead of in God’s hands, then we can find peace. Then we can more effectively use our voices – and our votes – in the political process.

During this intense and uncertain time of a hotly contested presidential election we monitor, judge, compare notes and spar with each other because we want to be heard, and heard over others. We probably even want to be validated by others in our choices. But most of all we want to know that our hope in someone or in certain ideals will manifest into reality, meaning a better life and more certainty and stability. Of course it’s a slippery slope if we are betting on / believing in someone who just talks a good game…as opposed to having game.

IMG_0129Rather than share more of my own thoughts I wanted to give others a chance to think out loud and to express their hopes, dreams, feelings, questions and to even show enthusiasm if they felt inspired to do so.

When the opportunity came to join the press ranks at the campaign event for Senator Marco Rubio this final weekend of February, I realized as I stepped into the crowd what I was supposed to do. We’re in the final days leading up to the Georgia Republican Primary on Tuesday, March 1st, I’m just happy to be here, but also grateful we live where we don’t have to fear retaliation for speaking our minds. So I decided to make the most of it for the people who came out to learn more and to support someone who gives them hope. They were pleased – enthusiastic is a better word – to share their opinions and to use their voices this way.

I’m also grateful for the Georgia college student who joined me in giving others a voice on this day, so if you meet Christina, please congratulate her on a job well done! I could not have covered the turf (or the stands holding thousands) like we did today without her help.

Christina Wants To Know Why Rubio for

Just watch…and listen.

Christina’s First Interview