My oldest turned nine last month. She reads voraciously and has just discovered The War on Terrorism while searching for new books to read this summer. She and a young boy we see at Ronan’s speech therapy clinic were discussing books recently when the young boy asked what her favorite war to read about was. She blurted out The War on Terrorism. I had to laugh internally when she announced that because she had only just days earlier discovered it. She was thoroughly studying whatever I gave her permission to read on the World Trade Center buildings, the airplanes, the men who chose to die while killing the thousands of people in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. She wanted to know who this Osama Bin Laden was and is he still alive. Her fascination grew as she discovered the date of the attacks because only one month previously, Fiona entered the world. “Mom! I was alive for this war!”
I have a hard time watching news stories about the planes flying into the Towers. I can’t even look at pictures of the buildings once they are set ablaze with the jet fuel. We have relatives all over the New York City area—hearts were beating quickly, loudly and painfully as we reached out across busy signals all day trying to find our family during the September 11th attacks. Reliving that moment in time is heart breaking but Fiona wanted to know the story. I felt she was ready to hear it. She’s handled a lot in her short life—watching her brother Ronan go through some medical hell in hospitals, listening to him howl at the site of an IV and knowing how serious a fever can be as it has lead to several emergency room visits. I have helped feed Fiona’s desire to learn more because she has a level of understanding beyond other kids her age. She was so interested in this bit of history that I braved my emotions and filled her head with just enough details that her young mind could handle.
I started with Fiona as a character in the story: “Back in 2001 in Northern Virginia, Mommy held a baby who was only one-month old. The baby’s Daddy was working near the Pentagon when Mommy heard the news about a bomb of some kind in New York. Mommy watched TV in the morning and saw pictures of an airplane fly into the building. She and her brother, your Uncle Joe, were going to meet up with friends in Farifax for a play date. Even though they couldn’t believe the news, they decided to still go to see their friends.
We watched more news at our friend’s house. We witnessed more atrocities happen on live television. Life stopped for many that day, literally. We couldn’t move, could barely breathe and didn’t comprehend what we saw with our own eyes. Feelings of disbelief, fear, wonder and pure terror crossed our minds. Mommy tried to call Daddy several times to check in with him but couldn’t get through to his cell phone. We only knew about the events of New York at that time. Mid-morning, when Mommy wasn’t able to get through to Daddy on the phone, a new feeling of panic struck. Daddy was working awfully close to that building called the Pentagon. The Pentagon was another target and we heard about a huge explosion there later that morning. Daddy was just a few blocks away in lock down at another building…no one goes in, and no one goes out…for hours. He’s safe but we don’t get to see him until well after nightfall due to the emergency situation on the streets of Washington, D.C. Joe Joe stays close to us and we drive back to our little apartment watching more news, waiting for Daddy and praying for the hundreds that are turning into thousands of casualties.
Heroes were made that day in September. Families fell apart as buildings crumbled to ashen heaps on the ground. Strangers turned into guardians—guardians of safety, of hope and of preserving life. Our country was made stronger despite the acts of terror against us. No one wants to witness events like that again so we have to thank the people who have jobs to keep us safe—like the military members who fight for our freedom because remember, our freedom isn’t free.”
As I retold the story to Fiona and reflected on the amount of pain I conjured up from my own memories, I was reminded of another group of brave citizens. Just as painful to reflect on their own atrocities, they too are ‘ordinary turned hero.’ They struggle to stay alive. They have endured acts of terror and they have been made stronger due to all of it. This group is the vaccine injured.
Imagine, a mostly-sterilized body comes into the world in the form of a newborn. Some Earthly toxins may have seeped into the placenta via mother’s habits or even by her mere existence. If it’s a totally natural birth, baby has foregone the first bombardment of drugs as “precautionary” measures. If Mom opts to breastfeed this tiny newborn, nature takes over and baby ingests her first doses of nutrition. If Mom is fully informed and has read a thing or two on the internet, or listened to her sister’s neighbor’s cousin across the street, she may realize all standard operating procedures in the hospital setting don’t have to happen. Vaccine waivers do exist for the hours-old child she is holding in her arms which means she can forgo the first immunization on the ever-increasing list of childhood vaccines. Life begins with a brighter ray of sunshine as baby is allowed to wake up and exist with minimal medical intrusion. Mom is thankful for the chance to be fully informed and enjoys watching her baby grow into a healthy and happy child.
For those not aware or who refuse to believe their brother’s tales of woe that vaccines = regressive autism, the less-than-a-day old baby is jabbed with an immunization meant to prevent a disease that has a greater history of being transmitted sexually and infecting those associated with IV drug-use than infecting typical folks. Since it’s harder to get prostitutes, thugs and those that use drugs into a clinic, the US vaccine schedule grabs and stabs a brand new life to do the job of reducing this disease. Instead of promoting less promiscuity that leads to sexually transmitted diseases and discouraging less drug use that leads to a need to share IV drug paraphernalia, a baby is given the task to prevent hepatitis B outbreaks. Last I checked no babies were hooking on the street corner jacking their arms with dirty needles or hanging out with the likes of those who sell their bodies for cheap tricks.
In time, if the baby injected with hospital vaccine #1 has parents who truly don’t know about delaying the recommended vaccine schedule, or who stubbornly turn a deaf ear to their friend or family member’s story about their own child’s negative vaccine reaction, that baby may dodge the vaccine-induced autism bullet, but later fall to one of the other growing trends in children’s poor health. I foresee that baby growing into childhood with a mostly-full shot record. I also see that child’s body surrender at some point and at some level to a form of attention deficit, food and/or environmental allergy reacting while having gastrointestinal troubles that have become commonplace today.
For those children who went for a well-baby check up and received their childhood vaccines that turned their mostly-perfect health into maddening medical trauma, I’m sad to say you will not be recognized like one of the almost 3,000 individuals who lost their lives during the attacks on 9/11. You will not likely be given a scholarship to help your family manage your health or your individualized education. You will not find a beautifully landscaped memorial where people can pay their respects to your body that has had to work harder than ever due to seizures, GI problems, loss of speech and a suppressed immune system. You will not see billions of dollars pouring into vaccine education that actually educates both sides of the needle while parents ask, “What if my child IS the one in a million that has a vaccine reaction?” You will not see a strengthening of those in power to protect future vaccine-injured children. Instead, the vaccine makers will again be touted as scientific geniuses. Funds will only be pumped into cheaper, quicker assembly lines while safety practices take second or even third place on the production floor. The only thing that seems to remain afloat in all of this is pharmaceutical sales and stock holder’s returns of bigger kickbacks.
September 11th was a wake up call to our country. It was a time to mourn and to revitalize millions of Americans. We came to our feet that day. We demanded our freedom never be compromised. We made a solid vow to protect each other. Amidst the fear, pride swelled in the hearts of thousands. American flags waved higher, brighter and everywhere we looked. My daughter was thrilled to know that her countrymen were standing tall for each other--and she understands better now why a military neighbor is packing his sack for an upcoming overseas deployment.
We citizens were ready to do whatever it took to bring life back into these United States. Why hasn’t all of America demanded the same for the 1 in 91 children affected by autism? When are we all going to stand as a nation and help families in need now? Why is looking for help for our children so difficult and then affording that health care more of a burden than a blessing? Is it going to take more people in power on the legislative level to have a loved one diagnosed with autism to turn things around for the rest of us? With the autism numbers creeping up, and that rate of autism rising through the roofs, I just hope turning things around happens sooner than later.
A motto of 9/11 is Never Forget. How could we ever? That event, those lives and all that we hold dear as a nation was taken from us in meticulously planned selfish acts. Sadly, a generation of children will never be given the chance to grow up to be future heroes because medical practices continue to promote injecting known neurotoxins, a few mishandled bacteria or viruses and some chemicals not meant for human consumption. That has and will continue to silence many. I fear that children who have inherited autism from a vaccine schedule gone bad has already been forgotten, shooed under the rug and pawned off while we who speak up continue to be thrown under a bus for good measure.
I would never wish the autism of today on any family. I just hope that someone out there who has the power, the gifts and the knowledge to make the necessary changes for families like mine to please show up, and soon. I’ve learned a great deal from hundreds of parents who have gone through the medical mazes, the educational struggles, the insurance issues and the family stresses. There are those out there in the community with voices louder and stronger who demand to bring more than just awareness to the growing autism situation. The old saying, ‘Action speaks louder than words’ keeps running through my head as I stand firmly in this community. We must do more than believe it will get better. Hope Now. Help Now. Act Now. I’m following the lead of many hoping to make the path less bumpy for those who follow behind me.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor of Age for Autism.