Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 10th, 2001

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love
Bruce Springsteen - Into the Fire

Sixteen years ago today, life was simple for us. Terrorism was in Israel, Northern Ireland and Colombia. Thirteen years ago today, we could look at an azure sky and enjoy it for what it was – pure, deep and inviting. People rode the subways, planes and buses without cause for concern. Washington D.C., Shanksville PA and New York City would never be mentioned in the same sentence on September 10, 2001.

Sixteen years ago today, we saw and spoke to friends and family members for the final time. We watched as firemen parked their cars at the firehouse for the night tour, hoping to watch the Giants-Broncos game between runs. Police officers stood at roll call for a quiet September night patrolling the city. Husbands, wives and flight attendants packed for their flights the next morning.

Sixteen years ago today, we said goodbye to our innocence as we woke to a new world. In 102 Minutes, our lives would be forever changed

Now, blue skies remind us of that day when they were blackened by smoke, when we heard the skies become silent and saw many act courageously in their final moments. Statements like, Let’s Roll and We're Three Truck and We’re Still Heading Up exemplify moments of bravery and final acts of humanity in a day filled with so much fear. Stories of the fire safety director who wouldn’t leave the Trade Center until he accounted for all of his employees, the equities trader with the red bandanna who saved 12 people, the final fight for their lives on board a hurdling plane, the firefighter running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel in full gear to do his job, the police officer last seen as she helped victims to safety -- each one of these heroes gave their lives for others...this is what September 11th should be remembered as...selfless acts of courage.
Our September 10th heroes looked up to our September 11th heroes in the following days. 

Sixteen years ago on September 11th, our world changed and it will never go back to the way it was. Something always reminds you of that day – a song, a fire truck, a plane, dust on the sidewalk. Although we must move on – never forget the sacrifices, the unspoken hurt that still remains, the friend’s phone number still on the cell phone after ten years or the want of a memorial for those never recovered.

Future generations won't know what life was life before this day. They will hear about it in reminisced stories by survivors, witnesses , victims families, songs and TV. It is our job to keep the memories alive of  the almost 3,000 victims who perished that day, the first responders who are dying now as a result of their rescue and recovery work and our soldiers who fight to defend our country. Our future generations need to know more than we were attacked by terrorists. They need to know that we were attacked by terrorists and brave human beings from 90 countries - civilian and military and even a bomb sniffing dog, died  and many survived through brave acts by fellow human beings. They also need to know that day was hell -- it was terrifying to not know what was next, to watch humans perish in front of our eyes on live satellite television.  Life was extinguished and disappeared in an instant and we all experienced or watched it first hand.

Sixteen years on -- we have grieved, we are remembering, we are moving along but never forgetting.

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