John Dawson Winter
Up to this point, you probably realize that everything you have heard so far was written before the terrorist attacks on our country. I had just finished writing this, and was working on the music, when these events occured. You are not hearing it until now because it has taken me this long to get myself back together. I was uncertain as to whether or not to put this on the net as I had originally planned, but I finally decided to let you hear exactly what I had intended to say before any of this happened. I will let it stand, without changing a word, because it is no more or less true than it was then, and because that is the most honest thing I can do.
This is my third attempt at putting my feelings into words, and so far it refuses to come out right. Monique said, you’re not a politician or a preacher; it’s not up to you to tell people how to feel.
All you have to do is express your sorrow, and encourage everyone to come together and help in whatever way they can. I know she’s right, but somehow, I feel compelled at least to try to say what is in my heart – so, here goes.
Things have changed, and the world seens like a different place. We have all been affected in many ways: on the deepest emotional level by the utter ruthless disregard for human life, by the destruction of time-honored landmarks that we held in our hearts as symbols of America’s power and greatness, and by the insidious psychological doubt and uncertainty these attacks were designed to create. There is more to it than just the obvious physical destruction and loss of life. If you are an American, this attack was aimed at YOU! You are the one who is supposed to be afraid. You’re the one who’s intended to wonder, what now? Who’s next?
Another aspect of this attack is the economy. Everyone is concerned about financial stability. But don’t forget: terrorism is a “scare” tatic; they want us to panic, so the best thing to do is stay calm and conduct business as usual. Remember that the economy is essentially based on production and consumption. America is BIG, and we produce! So as long as we keep on producing, (that is working), and consuming (that is buying things), our economy will continue to be sound and secure.
And that brings me to my point. If you’re asking “What can I do to help in this time of crisis?” – the answer is simple. Whatever it is you do, redouble your efforts. Do it more; do it better. The strength of America is the strength of the individual: the, so called, “common man”. It is his simple skill and ingenuity, his resourcefulness, his raw courage, and his indomitable spirit that make America great. The strength of America is something you think about every day, but take for granted. The real strength of America, is YOU!
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of all those whose lives were lost or shattered by these catastrophic events. Now is surely the time for all Americans to come together in a spirit of unity and cooperation, to help one another, to support our leaders, and to aid our country in every way possible. It will be easy to find ways to participate within the normal sphere of activity. As is the case with entertainers, I will be performing on the Volunteers For America Benefit Concerts, October 20 and 21, in Atlanta and Dallas with such groups as Journey, Styx, Foreigner, Lynyrd Skynyrd, REO Speedwagon, Bad Company, Ted Nugent, Kansas, and Survivor. These shows will benefit the Firefighters, Police, and victim families of the September 11 tragedy. Each of us is contributing by simply continuing to lead a normal life in a helpful and positive way.
Peace Is Marching On has a positive and optimistic message, while it recognizes the courage and heroism of those who had to fight to keep our nation free! I wrote it at a time when the cold war ended and the Berlin wall came down. I believe in peace! Man aspires to it, and is evolving toward it. That is why it is so sad to see there is still such hate, fear, and misunderstanding in our world, today. I am a pacifist at heart, but logic and pure survival dictate that there are times when it is necessary to fight.
I trust our retaliation will be intelligent, well considered, and effective. But we must be able to face ourselves in the mirror of humanity, and know that our actions were just. I believe that if we conduct ourselves with honor and integrity, that many nations will be willing to aid us in our campaign. Terrorism exists in many parts of the world, not just here, in America. It must be addressed as a world problem, in order to be dealt with effectively; just as peace must be envisioned as a world concept, in order to ever come about. But I believe in America, and I believe that peace will come!
Please, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to mitigate the seriousness of the situation we face. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, or it’s going to happen overnight. Nor am I saying, don’t worry: everything’s OK, it’s all going to work itself out in the end. It may come at great cost, and bring man to the brink of utter destruction. We are being told to expect a war like no other in history.
So, what am I trying to say? I’m not exactly sure, myself. Just that peace will eventually prevail in the end? I can hear you thinking – Big deal – So what – Edgar believes in peace – How is that going to help anything… NOW?! But, I still have to try. What it all comes down to is a matter of core belief: in the innate goodness of man, in his ability to overcome his violent nature, in the order and sanity of the universe, in God – when you come down to it. My father had that kind of simple, unshakable faith in God and his fellow man. He truly loved his neighbor. He was an extraordinary man. And yet, he fought and killed in the war; I can’t explain it, I just know it happened.
Peace is a noble dream of man. There are those who would argue that it is naive and idealistic, and too impractical to ever come about. But it’s strange how man’s dreams have a way of coming true: not only his dreams, but his nightmares. The most wonderful and amazing inventions of science fiction are now a part of our everyday lives, but the most awesome and devastating weapons of mass destruction are with us, as well. So, what will determine the fate of man? What will tip the balance of his hopes and fears.
I say, it could be that simple core belief, in the minds of enough people, that ends up being the deciding factor: the collective mind of man. If you harbor the dark, unconcious belief that the end of the world is inevitable, then it is that much more likely to come about. But, if you look forward to a future bright with promise and adventure, then that becomes the greater possibility.
It’s just another way of saying that prophecy is often self- fulfilling, we are what we think, mind over matter, believe it – or not. So, what’s it going to be? Star Wars, with never ending battle against the dark force? Or Star Trek, with peaceful exploration of strange new worlds? The future is in your hands. It’s almost like casting a vote: optimist or pessimist, peace or war, order or chaos, love or hate, good or evil, life or death. Well, I vote for life! I vote for love! And I vote for peace!
OK. I’ve had my say, and thanks for listening. I know this sounds like an oversimplification. Just think about it; that’s all I ask. The next paragraph will pick up right where I left off, exactly as I originally wrote it, immediately following the lyrics to “Peace Is Marching On”.
So, there you have it. I hope it conveys my love for my father, and my appreciation of the sword!