crossing america, one year later

The TV Told Us To

The Seattle Times
September 12, 2002
By Alex Tizon

TIMES SQUARE — We stood on the exact spot where the glitter ball slowly descends at the turn of a new year, the place where people go to bathe themselves in waves of neon, where noise is part of the point. But at 8:46 yesterday morning, the crowd here, as motley as it gets, did its best to observe the national moment of silence. They did so because the TV told them to.

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New York With A Vengeance

The Seattle Times
September 11, 2002
By Alex Tizon

NEW YORK CITY — Starting before dawn, this city will have begun prepping for a ceremony to honor the 2,801 people known killed here in a spectacular act of barbarism one year ago today. Speeches will be made, and every name of the vanished read aloud from the bowels of Ground Zero. The reading will last, no matter the sorrow, longer than the average attention span.

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A Previous Ground Zero

The Seattle Times
September 8, 2002
By Alex Tizon

ANTIETAM CREEK, Maryland — There is no town here; only cornfields and pastures, sliced through by a winding ribbon of water that makes hardly any noise. The land rolls to the horizon. They appear first as dots, the carloads of people who want to see this place for themselves. There has been more interest since September 11, presumably to connect points of cataclysm in the nation’s history. There have been other Ground Zeros.

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Fear and Trepidation are in the Cards

The Seattle Times
September 6, 2002
By Alex Tizon

NEW ORLEANS — A few days after September 11, a witch in the French Quarter named Mimi Lansou — Lady Mimi to her followers — drew three tarot cards to divine the future of America and its shaken citizenry.  What the cards revealed still haunts her. Something bad lies ahead. And regardless of whether you believe in this kind of thing, many of us share the same sense of foreboding. Lansou turned to the cards because she herself was shaken, and besides being a witch, she considers herself a good citizen.

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First Alamo, Then Shopping

The Seattle Times
September 4, 2002
By Alex Tizon

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — He is a vision in beige. Calhoun is his name, Julian T. Calhoun, but he wants to be called Jake. He is an ex-Marine, 80 years old, in beige slacks, a striped beige shirt and matching leisure shoes. The cane that props him up looks positively lively by contrast; it is brown. If it must be known, Jake is not in a good mood. It might have to do with being stuck in a car, from Lakeland, Fla., his home, to this sweltering metropolis in south-central Texas, 1,200 miles in a Mercury. It is a family road trip. They came to see the Alamo.

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Once a Bad Guy, Now a Folk Hero: What Pancho Villa has in common with Osama Bin Laden

The Seattle Times
September 3, 2002
By Alex Tizon

COLUMBUS, New Mexico — From the sandstone valleys of the Navajo Nation, a world far removed from September 11, the Expedition journeyed south to this dusty border outpost where townspeople recall their own Ground Zero. It happened 86 years ago, and the bad guy, in the end, won. His name was Pancho Villa, a Mexican bandit-revolutionary who laid waste this town, killing 18 Americans and seriously hurting a dozen more, in what historians say was the last invasion of the United States by a foreign army. Yet here and throughout the Southwest, Villa is celebrated more as a folk hero.

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Should We or Shouldn’t We?: The Conundrum of Racial Profiling

The Seattle Times
September 2, 2002
By Alex Tizon

SELMA, Alabama  — Here in a sleepy corner of the Southern Black Belt, on a shady street once marched by Martin Luther King Jr., three townies discuss the complexities of racial profiling. September 11 brought an unexpected plot twist: for a few jittery months, there was something resembling unity on profiling people who looked Middle-Eastern. Americans of every color, including blacks, if surveys were to be believed, supported the government effort to scrutinize men of Arab descent.

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Lady Luck Meets the Shady Lady: …In Las Vegas

The Seattle Times
August 28, 2002
By Alex Tizon

LAS VEGAS — Before reaching this city of illusion in the desert, before stopping at the Shady Lady Ranch where hookers mingled with peacocks in a lush green garden, we met a woman who had fallen asleep at the wheel. Lori Atkins is 53 and lucky to be going on 54. It turns out we were four minutes behind her on Highway 305, south of Battle Mountain. We spotted the skid marks stretching across both lanes and into an open field. The car lay on its roof.

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Starting at the Big Empty

The Seattle Times
August 25, 2002
By Alex Tizon

HARNEY COUNTY, Oregon — This is as vacant a place as you might find on the open road, the high desert country where the great rectangle of Oregon meets with the vast triangle of Nevada. It is an outback, a desolate plain that seems to say in its silence: Humans beware; you could die of loneliness here.

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Her Red Valley of Everlastingness

The Seattle Times
August 25, 2002
By Alex Tizon

MONUMENT VALLEY, Arizona — There might not be a place on Earth farther from the events of September 11 than Rose Yazzie’s heart. It isn’t a haughty or angry distance, but a simple sense of apartness summed up in the words: “That is your world; this is ours.” Yazzie is a Navajo. She is small and imperial, like a miniature queen, 58 years old but with the demeanor of an ancient. An ancient who wears Reeboks.

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