A terrible day that actually took days to name.
A terrible day that we’ll never forget.
Almost everyone that I know knew someone in New York that terrible day… that perished.
9/11 was not a “tragedy”.
It was not even a “disaster” in the traditional sense.
9/11 was an attack perpetrated by terrorists bent on murdering innocent people.
It was an attack on the people of this country.
Many of us know people that paid the price at the Pentagon and on the aircraft filled with brave souls that fought to their deaths, to save others, knowing that they would not… could not possibly survive.
Many of us knew people who died in those landmark towers in New York City.
Policemen ran headlong into hell, knowing that the flames that had killed so many already could take them as well. And they stood those lines with silent resolve as the chaos surrounded and then engulfed them.
And there were firemen who assembled like a division of heroes, wearing their hearts on their sleeves as they did their jobs with bravery and courage. Men with hearts larger than the 70 pounds of emergency gear they wore on their backs, their only focus on finding and then… saving lives as hell took all it could grasp.
They actually heard hell calling their names and they answered that call with roars fueled with bravery and courage.
The workers in the towers never knew what hit them. But… those firemen, EMTs and policemen did. They knew before hand and they strode forward without hesitation, with no regard for their own personal safety.
You can see the fear in their faces, in the photographs that we see daily that chronicle this tragic event. But it did not deter them. Because they knew that fear brought along with it courage. One cannot exist without the other.
They were from all the boroughs… places like Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens…
… and they ascended those tower stairs to disappear into the flames and carnage. Some of them never returned to their families and loved ones.
I later read that three hundred forty-three firemen gave their lives that single day.
The number made my heart ache. It was like a cold hand swept heroes from the earth in one swipe.
I don’t honestly know how many policemen paid the ultimate price.
I’m embarrassed that I have to admit that…
What I do know is that is that at the World Trade Center memorial, with all the posturing, camera scrambling and political chaos that is created, no-one seems to be stepping forward to remind us that there is NO statue, NO memorial, not even a scratch in the ground, to remind us of the price these brave men and women paid.
That marker, that memorial would remind us that in these terrible and uncertain times, we are still surrounded by heroes ready to answer the call.
THAT their sacrifice is not recorded there in stone, to be used as fuel for our children… to remind them of the courage that this country is founded on… is the heartbreak that will not heal…
No matter the hardship… America will survive, because she is woven from the fabric of heroes… All we have to do is look around us to be reminded of that.