On September 11th…
On September 11th, an even occurred which forever changed every American. Perhaps it fundamentally changed the world.
I remember where I was on September 11th, 2001.
I would guess no one here (readers of this blog), can forget their own whereabouts on September 11th.
Much like the children who were allowed to stay awake and watch the Neil Armstrong words when Americans took steps on the moon; the teenagers who watched in real time, JFK get assassinated in Texas; my Grandparents who saw the civil rights movement in its earliest stages and the unprecedented violence and disturbing law enforcement involvement and conflict from both sides. You cannot “un-see” the events which happened on September 11th. I can still see myself standing in my parent’s living room, worried that it was not an isolated incident, that perhaps even, our San Diego homes were at risk due to the Military connections. I remember having my worst fears confirmed when the second plane impacted the second tower.
I remember screaming “no, no, no!” when I saw it coming; again screaming “NO!” when the first tower fell. It would not be the last time that day that those words would exit my mouth. Disbelief. Shock. Fear. Hatred. Confusion.
I remember feeling patriotic, emotional, even strong, as a result of the attacks on September 11th. I had friends in government agencies, military, law enforcement. I was hearing things, rumblings about preparations, I was being conditioned for the upcoming “war on terror”.
To this day I cannot fully explain how I feel about the conflicting information available on the events on September 11th. I’m not sure I believe that it was Al Qaeda, bin Laden or extremist religious zealots. I’m not sure it was an inside job either. I don’t hate George Bush, in fact, even with an abundance of evidence pointing to the events of 11th September, I realized the potential for a Presidential Administration to bring together a nation. Was it staged “so to speak”? I won’t cheapen the loss of so many American citizens, innocent victims and precious life by going into some diatribe of “facts” which have been researched on youtube or some blog originated last month.
This fact remains:
Many people died on September 11th, 2001. Those people were murdered. It was not a natural event; it was not an accident. On September 11th 2001, a carefully orchestrated event took place which robbed thousands of people of their lives; hundreds of thousands of people of their loved ones and friends; millions of Americans of their sense of safety and security.
In the aftermath, we were lied to, “protected” and robbed of our freedoms, our liberties and our rights, in the name of security.
I cannot blame Bush for this; he is merely a pawn, regardless of his involvement or lack thereof in the terrorist attacks on September 11th. To clarify I actually respect George Bush for many things.
Instead of moving down the traditional path of least resistance on this topic, I will instead remind those of you who are reading, of the incredible benefits of being alive on September 11th.
It forever changed me, not by hardening my heart, but by reigniting my patriotism and hope for America as the Last defense of liberty and god given rights in this world.
I saw, I see, I remember and I revisit, examples of amazing acts of heroism, love, sacrifice and happiness, amongst, perhaps, one of the darkest “hours” in the history of this world. From the heaps of twisted metal at ground zero, a reaffirmation of our nation’s ability to come together and to effect change. Not like what we think we saw in the 2008 election. Not like what occupier’s think they are doing each time they put together some protest. We saw real unity, real leadership and real work being done. Again, I will not go into my thoughts about who was responsible for the tragedies on September 11th, but I will say that no matter who perpetrated the events, we emerged stronger than we have ever been.
Today, like every other busy and self-absorbed American, I picked today to revisit the September 11th events. I waited for a small window of time, where I feel almost compelled to revisit the events a year after the last time I did it. It’s a bit like claiming to be Catholic but showing up only for Christmas mass.
I hate terror organizations . I hate unrighteous dominion. I hate that someone could achieve their agenda at the expense of human lives, but I cannot change the way the world works, at least not beyond my sphere of influence.
I am reminded today, in the depth of darkness and the conspiracy theories and the scary moments on September 11th, 2001, revisited through youtube and blogs: that I Love America. I love the Human spirit, I love unity and I do not forget what has happened, and how I am blessed and how lucky I am to be who I am and where I am, and to have what I have. Many people have died to ensure my freedoms, from the troops at war for me, even though they do not know me individually; the victims of the plane hijackings and the World Trade Center attacks; the people who started this great nation, behind a notion of individual freedom and protection of unalienable God-Given rights.
What can I do to remember these people each day without darkening my days. I can remember the incredible stories of survival, heroic acts and sheer luck which happened in the wake of the darkest of days-on September 11th.
One cannot do justice to heroes. A simple mention of their heroic acts, life saving, world changing and incredible acts of selflessness and humanity does not do justice to their legacies. Their memory is above reproach, their actions a mere glimpse into the godliness each human aspires to attain at some point in their lives.
Some inspiring stories from the more human side on September 11th
On September 11th a hero reemerged
“…and if something happens to me, I want you to know you made my life.”
Rick Rescorla told these words to his wife, shortly before he went up to recuse and retrieve and calm the people under his watch. “His watch” you ask? Yes, Rescorla had a watch, people he was in charge of securing during a terrorist attack, or a major security concern. He was in charge of the (then) prestigious Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Security team for the HQ in the World Trade Center. Those were people HE was responsible for.
Mr. Rescorla’s wife knew that there was something a bit more final about his phone call than she liked. Rick Rescorla never returned from his last trip up the tower, after the second plane hit, it’s assumed Rick was killed, his body never recovered.
His memory lives on, not because of some story someone wrote about him on September 11th, but because of the people whom were helped by Rick that day, the hope he gave them, the heroics he continued to perform long after he had been begged to exit the building, reminded that he had done more than enough. Rick did not give up, he vowed to help save those who were trapped in the building above him-he saved perhaps hundreds that day, and has become something of a poster boy for the amazing heroes born or in Rick’s case, reborn on September 11th.
For the whole story on Rick Rescorla visit the website constructed in his honor at www.rickrescorla.com a beautiful tribute, unable to pay full honor to this patriot and amazing human being.
His train ran all day on September 11th
Joseph Irizarry helped to evacuate thousands of people from near the WTC in his subway train. The debris and danger of further attacks were enough to cause concern for a population already reeling from what seemed like a freak accident at first. It took real courage and heroism for Joseph Irizarry to continuously run his train back and forth to assist with evacuation of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors when it became clear that the attacks were in fact attacks by some nefarious group, rather than isolated accidents. Joseph Irizarry is a true American hero for doing what he could to save people. No doubt his help removing people from the threat area save countless lives.
A Lacrosse player saves lives on September 11th
Welles Crowther was only 24 years old, a decorated lacrosse player from Boston College with a trademark red bandana. Like so many heroes on September 11th, Mr. Crowther is no longer with us, but his legacy or heroism lives on; as he is known to have saved at least a dozen people and perhaps many more.
He was a volunteer firefighter in New York, and Sandler O’Niell in the South tower on the 104th floor. He was seen using the red bandana, a gift from his father to keep his lungs clear of debris and the thick smoke of the jet fuel fire. His heroics were not forgotten by many, his dedication and selflessness are an excellent example of what makes this country great. His legend lives on in the hearts and minds of those who have heard his story.
A hero before and one again on September 11th
Steve Salzano was always a hero. Something deep within a hero’s soul will not allow them to forget about those people who need their help. On his day off, the towers were under siege, by the time the city of New York requested all off duty firemen and law enforcement/emergency services personnel, Mr. Salzano was already on his way. The 132nd ladder crew will probably all say that they were just doing their jobs, but the 6 men they lost that day, and the thousands of lives they impacted; the help they provided Americans is heroic: beyond the call of duty.
Steve Salzano is a hero because he went before he had to; he fought fires to keep the situation in check and he helped to rescue hundreds of people. The legacy of the NYFD across the board is something that will live on forever, because of men like Steve Salzano, and the things they did to protect the citizens of America on September 11th.
A medal of Honor not only for her heroics on September 11th
Moira Smith, A dedicated NYPD officer, recipient of the medal of honor for her heroic acts and selfless sacrifice, including her life on September 11th. But this hero was a hero before the events on September 11th, when she saved over twenty-five people in a subway accident at Union Square in 1991 (the August 27th crash). She was survived by her daughter, at the time, two years old, and her legacy will always be remembered in the ferry named after her in NYC. Mrs. Smith is heroic because that is all she ever knew to be; it wasn’t in her to be less than superhuman. We salute Mrs. Smith for her heroism on September 11th, when she saved perhaps hundreds of lives by going again and again into the unstable and burning buildings at the WTC.
Phone Calls from a hero on September 11th
Tom Burnett was in a plane headed to San Francisco, Ca on September 11th. By all accounts, he was instrumental in attempting to change his and other’s fate up in the United Flight 93 that eventually crashed in Pennsylvania. It’s rumored that the plane was destined for the capitol building or perhaps the White House. Even if you don’t believe the story that was crammed down our throats on Spetember 11th, Tom Burnett and the passengers of flight 93 from Untied Airlines were and always will be heroes for their attempts to stop these evil acts. They acted unselfishly, knowing that they likely had no chance of living anyway. Tom Burnett called his wife, gave her strength and then tried to change his and other’s fates. We remember his heroism on September 11th.
There are countless other heroes from the events of September 11th 2001. Perhaps more heroes exist than casualties from the events on September 11th.
Forget what you think you know. Abandon your political affiliations. Think only about what transpired on September 11th and how those events galvanized our country, presented heroes, and gave us a reason to rely on one another. As horrible and evil as the attacks on September 11th were, it meant more to our country than any other single event since the choice to form our own country and the affiliated events. On September 11th, our Country’s resolve was tested, and we emerged victorious.
Always Remember September 11th…
Because of the trauma of September 11th, you can never forget, but will you go one step further and Always Remember those who became heroes on September 11th? Will you remember what it meant to our nation? Will you always remember what it means to attack the ideologies of America? Will you always remember that on one day, seemingly innocuous, in September of 2001, the world was forever changed. It is our duty as recipients of the heroic acts of these patriots to always remember the heroes and victims and their families forced into play by the events on September 11th.