The Lady Cried: A poem written after Sept. 11, 2001

Published 9:19 am Thursday, September 9, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Editor’s Note: The following article is by Thomasine Gaither, about her late mother, Alice Canady Gaither. It is followed by her mother’s poem, “The Lady Cried.”

By Thomasine Gaither

For the Enterprise

Sept. 11, 2001 was a day marked in history to be remembered by many. This date left the United States at a standstill. I, like many others, can remember on this day as to where I was and what I was doing, just like it was yesterday. I was at work on this morning of disbelief, opening the doors to the pharmacy as to what employees and staff, ready to work, thinking it to be a normal day, had no idea what would follow.

It wasn’t long after when one of our regular customers rushed in hysterically and wanted to know if we were up to date on this event. After hearing about our Twin Towers, the mood of this day changed for all Americans near and far.

Mother, I know by now you had already heard, but I had to call home to check on you to make sure that you were okay. You did your best to reassure me that you were fine, but it was as if I could hear your thoughts rather than your verbal response. For the next several days, I felt that  you were preoccupied with your own thoughts and needed space. It was only a few days after, you handed me a paper and asked my thoughts for what you had so intensely and in your undisturbed time, had completed, with your pen to paper and expressed your heart of this day with your one-of-a-kind, “The Lady Cried.” It became one more of your poetry collections.

The Lady has stood the test of time.

I, the Lady, the Statue of Liberty, will continue to stand today, now with tears of joy, because from where I stand, I can see it on the horizon. A smile of hope today for all the world to see, so that when you come into the harbor, as I continue to stand, those of you will see that I still stand for liberty and justice for all.

There is no other who I would choose to honor than Mrs. Alice Lee Cannady Gaither.

After graduating from Davie County Training School, you went on to attend Surry Comunity College and Winston-Salem State University, prior to teaching Head Start for 23 years for YVEDDI and attended church at Agape Faith in Clemmons after many years at St. John AME Zion. Mother, you most definitely made sure that every child was literate.

The legacy of this woman will long be remembered in Davie County. Her untiring work for justice, education and equality will be long remembered.

The Lady Cried

By Alice Gaither

The golden door of freedom opens far and wide,

   to welcome throngs of men and women

   who choose to come inside.

One tragic September morn, the golden door was    

   breached by terrorist visions and wild,

   attempting to destroy our Nation

   and cast our freedom aside.

The lady cried.

We reflect on the chaos and ruin rendered that day,

   and mourn the loss of our Nation’s family.

Amidst the rubble and devastation, we stand,

   united, looking to our Lady as we pray

   to keep faith boundless and feedom alive.

The lady cried.

When we think about this tragedy, we feel

   a collective sadness for those who died.

We pray for their families, we pray for t

   he victims who were blessed to survive.

As we attempt to help each one heal, the balm of unity

   and strength must be applied.

Our Nation must band together.

The Lady cried.

Let us tear down the walls that separate us,

  the walls of discrimination and hate,

   the walls of racial, cultural and religious intolerance. We must embrace the value of humankind

   to keep our Nation great, to keep the promise

   of liberty for one and all across each generation

   and the binding cord of strength is ours,

   in this our great nation.

The Lady cried.