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Archive for the 'Never Forget 9/11' Category

The Day We Should Never Forget

Saturday, September 11th, 2004

Every year as the anniversary of 9/11 gets closer, our office begins preparing a memorial service and every year I think "when will we move on - when will we do this no more" - and every single year, without fail, my entire attitude changes during and after that service.

I, too, am one of the Americans who "forgets", when we swore we never would. Even I could not keep a dry eye as the co-worker, and friend, who gave the service's voice cracked as he remembered his trip to New York less than a year ago to retrieve a piece of the World Trade Center for a memorial park our agency is creating. He stayed a night in a fire station who'd lost everyone on shift that fateful morning. He'd visited with a retired firefighter who'd lost his son, also a firefighter, that day. He was allowed to visit a small and special building at Ground Zero that was resevered only for family of the lost. It was when he was describing the photos and notes left for those that are gone that he faltered.

In this memorial, he mentioned the fact that a lot of people bemoan the memorial services with the very same questions I posed above. He countered this by saying that if we were to remember a different person who died every single day it would take seven years to go through the entire list of names. It's only been three years, and we wouldn't even be halfway done.

I'm ashamed that I forgot - and I vow to keep the memory alive once more.

In closing, I'd like to share this poem that was posted in a local newspaper, the Riverside Reader:


As the soot & dirt & ash rained down,
We became one color.
As we carried each other down the stairs of the burning building
We became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting & hope
We became one generation.
As the firefighters and police officers fought their way into the inferno
We became one gender.
As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength,
We became one faith.
As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement,
We spoke one language.
As we gave our blood in lines a mile long,
We became one body.
As we mourned together the great loss,
We became one family.
As we cried tears of grief and loss,
We became one soul.
As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heros
We became one people.

We are
One color
One class
One generation
One gender
One faith
One language
One body
One family
One soul
One people

We are the Power of One.
We are United.
We are America.

- Cheryl Sawyer

Today - remember. Every other day - never forget.

Doing What Is Right

Thursday, September 11th, 2003

Alright, so I went to the memorial service. And I'm glad that I did. I feared it would be too painful to remember; it was a tragedy I didn't want to revisit. But I suppose it's good that we do. So many people are still affected by this - so many people are still suffering. I still hope that in the years to come the services will change. Our office handled this one well. There were no pictures of the carnage; and I think that was good. We know what happened - no one can forget those images. But that's not how we need to remember. That's the point I was trying to make earlier (and couldn't quite seem to get out). We need to honor these people as mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters...the firefighters and policemen...real people. We need to remember 9/11 for the lives lost, the lives ruined. I'm glad I attended, and I'm glad that it was held.


Thursday, September 11th, 2003

You can't let today pass without, at least, a nod at what it's the anniversary of. I've got a few things to say on it; some people will disagree with me, I'm sure...but these are my 9-11 thoughts.

It's akin to the J.F.K. assassination - everyone remembers where they were when they heard. On September 11, 2001 I was at work. There was some buzz around the office about a plane hitting the World Trade Center - a retired Naval officer told us, on such a clear day, such a thing could not be an accident. Then someone came running in to say that a second plane had hit. Everyone was in shock. Next thing you knew, people were on the phone, radios were on, and we were calling out to each other things we learned. No one was working. Some administrators had TV's in their offices, and people were crowded in and watching them. A group of women were in a back room, holding hands and praying...and crying. There was a collective silence in the room when we heard each of the towers fell...the slow dawning of all the people on the ground around it. The full scope of it was beginning to be understood. We learned, during the chaos, that the planes were passenger planes and it was terrifying. Later that day the lights went out in our building and a pregnant woman passed out and had to be taken away in an ambulance. When I got home, I got drunk on a bottle of red wine. My computer was down and I had no TV back then, so I didn't see any of the actual footage for a few days. The first time I saw it was two days later, on a business trip to Shreveport. I turned on the television in my hotel room, and saw for the first time all of the footage in vivid color.

After a few weeks, I turned the television off. I just couldn't watch it anymore. It was depressing and sad, but time to move on. My Mom and sis stayed glued to the tube and watched every memorial, survivor story, and show on it. I'd drop by to visit and find them crying in front of the TV weeks after 9/11. I told them to stop...they were so depressed it wasn't even funny. Eventually, even they had to stop watching...and go on.

So that's my 9/11 story. Where were you?

As for September 11, 2003, I am ready to see life going on. I watched this amazing special on the Discovery Channel the other night about all the plans for the rebuilding of Ground Zero. It's going to be amazing...including two towers that will reflect the sun's light in a special way exactly on September 11 and at the exact time of the day the planes hit (think of it like a sun-dial). If you haven't, you should check out all of the plans that they have for the area. It's going to be pretty awesome.

This morning my office is holding a memorial service in honor of the date. I don't want to go. I went to the one year anniversary memorial service - that was appropriate. It was huge and terribly sad. I cried - everyone cried. Two years later, I am ready to move on. I remember what happened, I said a prayer for those that died and those that lost, and I'll light a candle in remembrance when I get home tonight. That's how I'd like to honor them. I don't want to go to another terribly heart-wrenching memorial service, see all of the pictures again and listen to the sad songs. It's depressing. That may seem wrong and cold, but it's how I feel. Of course I'd feel differently if I'd lost someone that day. But I didn't. And while I feel for those that did - I'd like to think over-blown memorial services aren't going to be held every year on this date. We need to look past that awful day and up towards the future. We should never forget - but we also shouldn't dwell on the pain and suffering. That's just how I feel. I may be wrong, but I stand by it.