The Day I Heard My Heart Sob
It was just six days after the symbolic celebration of the end of 2020, and the positivity of looking forward to a new year with the arrival of our new granddaughter, the hopeful success of the pandemic vaccine, the hope of baseball returning with fans in the stands, The NFL Draft in Cleveland, and the July Jimmy Buffett Concert for which we have tickets, headlining our plans for 2021.
Being a week where the Jamestown Schools were on complete remote instruction, and no subbing jobs being available, and not receiving a call from the Falconer Schools needing coverage, I tried to keep myself busy on that Wednesday with little planned. I piddled around getting some of my income tax information together and ready for figuring when our W2s arrive. Also, being that my sleeping schedule has been a bit skewed for about the past year or so (I wake up anywhere between 1:00 am and 2:30 am, and fall asleep in my chair each night around 7:00 pm), a mid-morning or afternoon nap is a welcome inclusion in my daily schedule. I also spend some time working on the Voice from the Bullpen, all things which help pass the time on my non-working days. About 8:00 am on January 6th 2021 though, with the Senate Runoff Election results from Georgia being reported, I sat in my “cave” and I turned on CNN News to check out the results.
As they reported at that time, one race was called, but one was still too close to call, so I kept it on and watched between doing some other things. At 1 p.m., CNN switched to the Electoral College Vote Certification, and that’s when all hell broke loose.
At first, it looked like a crowd of people moving toward the Capitol appeared to be just marching toward the building. It was a massive crowd, and there were very few masks work, and very little social distancing, but it just looked like it was going to be a peaceful demonstration. And then things got ugly.
Those at the head of the crowd kept on walking. They broke the barriers set up around the Capitol, and walked up the steps of the building. Some, then, marched through the doors, or worse, began breaking windows as they breeched the Capitol Building, forcing the suspension of the Certification debates and the evacuation of both chambers of the Legislative Branch of our government.
The Capitol went into lockdown, and the legislators went into Shelter in Place. Meanwhile, many storming the building got into both chambers of Congress, and some even disrespected the chambers of Congress as they sat in the places of the leaders of each branch, taking selfies, putting their feet up on the desks of those leaders, and looking smugly like they accomplished the mission they were given earlier in the day.
Many of the insurgents were armed, a woman was shot and later died, there were armed standoffs in the Capitol, the seditionists continued breaking windows, many of them dressed in military camouflage, claiming to be patriots, but who were, in fact, insurrectionists. That’s about the time I heard the first sob come from my heart.
My father served this country in World War II. I have friends who served in the military in Vietnam. I used to invite veterans from many wars to come into my classes and talk to students on many occasions, some of them so proud of their service to this country, that they weren’t ashamed to shed tears when they told their stories to the students. On January 6th of this New Year, I felt that this was not the USA that all of those people fought for and served so proudly, and that made my heart even sadder.
As I continued to watch, and my heart continued to cry, I thought of 9-11 and the attacks on our country, where an entire religious group was blamed (when it was just a small faction of that religion that was responsible) for the execution of the attacks on our country, and where most people in our country labeled them as terrorists. January 6, 2021 our country was attacked by American terrorists. It is my guess that many of those American terrorists, and their leader, whoever that was, that were responsible for the commission of the insurrection that day, might even be pardoned for their actions, which will make my heart sob all the more.
J. Paul Lombardo is a Jamestown resident.