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October 2001
To My Peaceloving Friends

By Pamela Rice


I would not have tuned in to the TV special, “America: A Tribute to Heroes,” which was run on over 8,000 broadcast stations around the world on September 21st. I was sure it would be a crass, over-acted display of flag-waving up-with-America. But from the moment I began watching (my husband Alan had tuned it in) I was transfixed.

I can almost say it was the best thing I’ve seen on television since I cried over something I saw on “Romper Room.” That was a long time ago.

I especially knew it was a great show when I heard Neil Young sing John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Perhaps the emphasis on heroism was not exactly the right way to go. Maybe it was... Regardless, the TV special was immensely uplifting. From beginning to end it was an unabashed, full frontal assault on cynicism. Let’s hear it for love, tolerance, dignity, and selfless generosity!

Sure there was incredible talent displayed, but that alone would not have carried it. First, there was the soft-spoken, bursting-at-the-seams sorrow: rightly so. How refreshing after the self-serving, giddy-on-revenge George W. pep rally the night before at the House of Representatives.

Then the blockbuster stars, one after another, displayed their defiant love of life, simply by performing their art and displaying human emotion at its deepest. Unstated, they declared their absolute belief in the fundamental right to human expression. It was raw, and it cut to the quick. Our only defense is to continue to love and create. Even one step down the road of hate, coercion, and revenge will be our undoing.

Pamela Rice is the author of “101 Reasons Why I’m a Vegetarian” and president of the VivaVegie Society, which houses the new Vegetarian Center of New York City. Call (212) 242-0011 for more information.


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