G Emil Reutter
a wonderful world
“The colors of the rainbow are so pretty in the sky; are also on the faces of the people going by…and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”
—George David Weis, Bob Thiele
What a Wonderful World
From the stereo, the mellow tones of Armstrong’s voice quietly play while they sit next to each other on the patio, relaxing one more time. The rain taps gently on the patio roof as the two hold hands and speak of the long journey through which life has brought them.
They had lived many lives in one generation, never thinking they would see space travel, two wars of liberation in Europe, the turbulent times of the Korean and Vietnam wars, the fall of the Soviet Union, the pride brought back to America, something they thought would never return.
Through their peaceful bliss, a neighbor yells at them to put the television on; they do. As Louie sings “The colors of the rainbow are so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of the people going by…,” the couple watch in horror as the second plane plunges into the World Trade Center. The images on the television grip them.
He holds her close. Images of Pearl Harbor fill their minds and they wonder if this generation will be strong like theirs. Louie finishes “…and I think to myself, what a wonderful world…” as tears flow down their cheeks.
Smoke fills the office; orange and red flames dance toward them. Falling to the floor, they dial their cell phones saying goodbye to those they love. Gazing at the window, they stand, hold hands and run through the broken window. “The colors of the rainbow are so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of the people going by….”
Thousands run down the stairwell, horror in their faces as they pass. The fireman and cop continue to make their way up, calling out to the lost to give direction—suddenly steel and mortar pour down upon them. Bravely they reach through the debris to outstretched hands until they can move no more. “…and I think to myself, what a wonderful world….”
A battle ensues in the bright metal cylinder as it streaks across the Pennsylvania sky. They give their lives to save thousands on the ground. “The colors of the rainbow are so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of the people going by….”
Walking along the streets of Washington, they look on in horror as the plane descends upon the city. It plunges into the Pentagon, walls crumble, fire enveloping those inside. “…and I think to myself, what a wonderful world….”
Remember them each and every day. Remember the families without sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles. Remember who they are and who they could have been. Remember, they are us. If you have forgotten, take a minute to look into the sky and you will see them passing by and think to yourself what a wonderful world it could have been.
. first published at Lit Writ Sure and various blogs since 2004