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September 11th, 2004

The Day We Should Never Forget

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:

One

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.

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