As the 9th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the big story in the news is about the vitriol surrounding a mosque that may be built several blocks away from Ground Zero. I don't care to wade into that discussion, which sadly has become another game of political football. And how I wish the media would show any news judgment at all, and stop mollifying the hateful attention-seeker who says he's going to burn a book.Because each year, as September 11 approaches, all I want to remember is the love:
- the love shown by thousands of rescue workers and ordinary citizens, in NYC, Washington, D.C. and on Flight 93, when they knowingly put their lives at grave risk so that others may live;
- the love expressed by the many victims who lived for a desperate hour or more after their fate was sealed, and used the last precious minutes of their lives to call loved ones; all that mattered at the end was the love they had created along the way;
- the love expressed by victims’ family members, many of whom spent weeks desperately touring hospitals throughout the NYC metro area, hoping that their loved ones had miraculously been spared;
- and the love for fellow man that I witnessed when I emerged from my office building in midtown Manhattan in early afternoon, and indeed throughout America and much of the rest of the world, for months afterward.
For those of us in New York, that day and the weeks after were indescribable, almost beyond comprehension. Like the rest of the world, we watched the events unfold in horror. But our horror was personal; on my way home, all I knew was that many people I knew had died that day, but not how many or who. But in most cases, definitive word never came; we simply learned to accept that many people we knew went to work that day and never came home.
Many of us vowed that day that our outlook would be forever changed - that we'd hold our loved ones closer and longer, that we'd be more patient and compassionate with strangers, and less driven and harried, than we were on 9/10.Each September 11 is a chance to remember those vows.
This weekend, I will think about the manner in which so many people responded to the certain end of their lives by calling their loved ones. Though I won’t be imperiled myself, I will call or email my loved ones that I have been meaning to get back in touch with.
I will also recall how the heroes of 9/11 and the ensuing years saved us, in the words of my wise aunt,
“from having that day be remembered as one of being simply victims, totally demoralized....and turned the story into one of great pride in our values as a country and in the bravery and devotion to duty that our people can show.”
And I will beam with great pride about our values as a country, and in the bravery and devotion to duty that our people can show.And recalling the timeless words of firefighter Mike Moran, who in October 2001 declared that his brother and his many close friends and crew-mates who perished “are not gone, because they are not forgotten,” I will recall all of those ordinary people who perished that day while lovingly doing remarkable things, so that others may live.
As Bruce Springsteen sang to them in "Into the Fire:"
May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love
May your love give us love
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