Speak MY Piece: September 11 Memory

Crowd gathers at the Garden of Reflection
A Garden of Reflection Vigil in 2017.

Will there come a day when we don’t pause to remember 9-11— and the images of hijacked planes, deadly silver rockets, slamming into the Twin Towers, killing people there and in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

Or will it slide into oblivion as a forgotten date? Never. Sept. 11, 2001 will be as long lasting in our historic memory as Dec. 7, 1941—and for many of the same reasons. It was an attack – an attack on sleeping sailors on ships and an attack on innocent men and women at work. Both were attacks on America.

All of it is permanently recorded, so we and subsequent generations will see the horrific images over and over – always the crashing, the fire and the billowing clouds of smoke, debris and paper floating, glass shimmering in the sun and the people who got out –horror and soot and a question on their faces… was it war or an accident. What happened?

9-11 is a story about evil, soulless people out to destroy our way of life, and we must not
forget that, but their terror gave rise to great acts of courage and proof of the greatness of
our nation.

We can temper that nightmare of a day with other images that I saw as I stood in front of the television, not even moving I was so stunned. I did see people running to nowhere, it seemed. Running and running away from buildings that would soon crash to the ground.

But there was something else. . . police and firefighters were running – running toward the disastrous scene, also not knowing exactly what had happened – war, an accidental plane crash? Trucks, vans and police and firefighters kept coming and headed straight toward the shattered buildings in flames. They were going to save lives – after all.

Up the stairs they went, floor after floor, on a mission. There was honor and courage in their actions. For some, their final moment. We are often among first responders cut from the same cloth as those who went to work on September 11th. Now with the shocking magnitude of that day behind us, we take this opportunity to think about all who have chosen the same public service path as those who lived and died and we pray for them.

First responders are similar in training and motivation, all dedicated to keeping people safe. They are our neighbors and friends. They are the sentinels – the guardians at the gate, deserving of unending gratitude. We thank them all.