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Monday, September 9, 2019


The September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Between 8:46 am and 10:10 am, four airliners were crashed into North and South towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, PA. The attacks killed 2,996 people, including citizens of 78 countries, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. Additional people died of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases in the months and years following the attacks.
 Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.” —former President Barack Obama

This catastrophic attack that occurred almost two decades ago is memorialized this anniversary in SecondLife. Paul Woodrunner built the 9/11 Memorial Plaza SL, modeled after the RL memorial plaza in New York City. He also owns the Bob Hope Theater and he directs the Outsiders Dance Troupe. Paul teamed up with Performing Choreographer Ally (allyson.solo) to present their Tribute performance on Wednesday, 11 September at 6:00 PM SLT
I recently had the privilege of chatting with both Paul and Ally, and we discussed their involvement in this Memorial and Tribute performance.

Josh (thomas1.bellic): Paul, please share with our readers what inspired you to build a memorial to the attack on 9/11?
Paul Woodrunner: Well it's sort of a long line of things that have been strung together for years. Going back to the Vietnam War. I grew up during that war and as a kid i remember all the torn up young men on TVv during the World News shows. I grew up thinking if this war continues i could be in it. I missed the war by two years but the visions of that war the memories stuck with me forever. After I joined SecondLife, I thought of USO shows as a way to give back to the vets the soldiers the people who gave their all to defend this country. Eventually, the owner of one of the groups I belonged to gave me a shot at having a show on Memorial Day. Over the last decade a long line of good people that have given me chances at the right time to help me get where I am today. I love my country and all the folks who have fought for its freedom. I’m a patriot and i will never forget all the people who helped me grow in second life with the Bob Hope Theater and The Outsiders. The 9-11 Memorial is a way to make sure others do not EVER FORGET
JB: What does this 9/11 Memorial mean to you?
PW: I love my country. I love the people here and when we were attacked out of the blue...well...all the folks in the planes in the buildings...everyone one who died...and yes, all the folks like the firemen and police They were doing what came natural to an American they ran to the fire and they were HELPING others. It means that everyone who died there that day and all the lives that were affected will never be forgotten. It was one of the worst days in America’s history and we saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history.

JB: You have some amazingly powerful statues in various locations around the plaza. When did you build the memorial, and have had much traffic?
PW: I had planed on an Outsider show for 9-11. I looked out at a quarter sim from Bob Hope Theater. I wanted to do something big and it brought to mind the 9-11 Memorial Fountain. The Memorial itself is brand new and only about a dozen people have actually seen it.
JB: Tell me about the Outsiders? Who are they and what do they do?
PW: The Outsiders is a dance troupe made up of several people I’ve worked with through the years. We mainly started as a group during a LEA Lindens Endowment for the Arts project. We do patriotic shows USO type shows to bring about awareness of those who have fought and or died to protect freedom around the world Mainly as a support to vets.

JB: And what about the Bob Hope Theater? How many can it seat?
PW: Bob Hope Theater is a 70-seat venue focusing on patriotic holidays and events. We have USO-type shows mainly and its a tribute in itself to Bob Hope who brought laughter to so many soldiers around the world in places like Vietnam.
JB: And now we turn to you and you, Ally. Tell me about how you became a SL choreographer.
Ally (allyson.solo): When I joined SL I became a model and I had a lot of success, but just posing for photos was kind of boring! I partnered a guy who was part of a dance troupe that was unique and fun, and I was totally taken with the idea of dancing. I was already a fan of tribute band shows too. I started going to shows and at one I ran into Paul Woodrunner, who was in a tribute band I followed. He told me about a dance troupe called the Elysium Dancers and their show. They were a new group, and when I started going to shows and I asked to be a dancer, they let me join! I didn't know much about putting together dances but I knew how to ask questions and I made a pest of myself!

JB: Can you describe your current project - "Phone Call from a Tower" – for us please?
AS: At 9/11 I've always thought of those who were lost, of course, but also about so many others whose lives were changed forever when they lost a loved one there. In this performance I put together actual audio from one of the helicopters above the scene, a reading of a poem by Tom Bedlam called "If Tomorrow Starts Without Me", and laid it over Enya's "May It Be". I want to show the anguish of a young wife whose life has just been shattered when her husband died in the towers.
JB: Why did you do this? What is it about this particular show that makes it different from the others you have done?
AS: My dad was a Navy pilot, and he died in an accident when I was four. I guess because of that I've always had a patriotic streak and tried to honor our military and especially those who gave their lives. I guess 9/11 felt like war to me, and so it fits naturally.
So there you have it folks. If you only attend one event this year, make it the 9/11 Memorial Tribute Show. The Memorial Performance is Wednesday 11-Sept-2019, starting at 6 PM SLT at the BOB HOPE THEATER at Copperhead Road. Ally asks that you please come early to enjoy the whole show. It’s not unusual for the place to be full 20 minutes before the curtain goes up, so be early for a great seat.

Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” —former President George W. Bush
"When Americans lend a hand to one another, nothing is impossible. We’re not about what happened on 9/11. We’re about what happened on 9/12."—Jeff Parness, founder of New York Says Thank You


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