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This is late - as I glance at the clock, it is 9:12 PM.  I am off this week, home from the convention in Charlotte where I was lifted with speeches that convinced me to work harder than ever until election day.  I will share some pictures I took, and maybe write up a diary or two, but today is special.

This diary is the result of a small miracle.  I think my brother, a lifelong Republican, will vote for President Obama this November.

Join me below for the rest of this story.

My brother, now retired, worked as a motorman for the NYC Transit system.  He never completed schooling beyond high school, but with him and his wife and hard work, bought a home in New Jersey, raised two sons.  

He started to notice my political views after seeing me post on Facebook.

Initially, he would just briefly comment, but my sister, a chairperson for the Democrats in Monroe County, PA, was perplexed - she said to me once - "John is a Republican, don't you know that?"

I still went to baseball games with him, and stayed away from politics.

Then, I see him post a Chris Rock video which links to Move On.  Well.

It doesn't take long before one of his Facebook "friends" posts this -

"Chris Rock is not very bright. If you are guided by his stupidity, you are even less bright!"

It was on.

I posted - "I don't know you, but calling my brother less bright means you don't really know him, and if you do know him, you are someone who only pretends to be his friend. Kind of like how Romney pretends to care about about the average American."

Then, a friend that knew my brother from the MTA posted this -

"I like Chris Rock his insight into the human experience and translating it to humor is a welcome voice in this world. And you are having problems with the human experience when it is seen through some else's eyes. Your lack of insight and lack of knowledge remain darkened by hatred and fear. Ignorance suits you well. And it makes you a valuable tool to those who count on you, out of touch scared old men trying hard to grasp those last straw at feeling superior to others. The Republicans welcome those who don't want the facts checked or show concern for those "other" Americans. The Republican party has isolated itself and painted itself into a corner. It is a slow death for your party. Jump ship while you still have Medical!"

I thanked this lady for her support of my brother.  I mentioned in a message that I had worked in the World Trade Center, and sent her a link to the video I made in 2007.

Things Changed Forever from James Lyons on Vimeo.

She replies with the longest Facebook message I had ever received, but I thought it was worthwhile to post it here.

Thank you - I am so touched by this. This a day ingrained in my memory forever. I used to work in Building two in the 70's and early 80's. I was a civil service clerk.

I worked first on the 23rd floor and later on the 65th. When I left to go work for NYCTA I left with fond memories and pride. I watched the WTC being built and often would ride there across the ferry on my bike to the building site.

I was awestruck by all the heavy machinery and felt free to walk and bike around the site on Sundays back then lower Manhattan was ghost town on Sundays and I felt the world was mine to explore. I live a Staten Island and watched the second plane crash from Front Street. Not really  - I didn't see the plane just the explosion. (which leads to a whole 'nother story)

I was shaken to the core I thought about my co-workers and sobbed I knew the fire drill at the WTC well they were never for a full evacuation just floor by floor. The reason being that in the event of fire the fire would be contained within the floor. No event like this every crossed the safety experts minds. I knew the stairways were narrow and not meant for a full evacuation. My heart was sinking I knew many people would head up stairs.

We were taught to head downstairs because heat rises. But where was the escape? I stated so loudly to a companion I had called to meet me there on the waterfront. I felt I was in a dream and then the buildings came down.

I felt my soul leave my body and my knees went out. I knew not everyone made it out and that the Fire Dept. was still in the building. My companion steadied me but now I was out right crying witnessing the death of so many. I stayed on Front St. for hours after the building fell, not knowing what had become of my world. For days I felt in a dissociated state. I felt I was in caught up in a bad dream and nothing seemed real.

And then I saw it - in "The Chief" (a civil service job listings paper) and in the listings for all the NYS state workers lost in the tragedy there were names I knew, people I knew. People I thought had retired or escaped. I knew that the state workers had been moved to lower floors as more monied tenants had moved in. And yet here were just pages of names. Names with faces I knew. I was just crushed.

I had been back to my old job a few times to say hello, talk to my old boss say hello to a few faces. Gradually I lost all contact and moved on but I never forget the good times I had there and the beauty of the buildings itself. I enjoyed working there and still find it hard to believe they are gone.

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