This page is not perfect, but it is my heartfelt tribute to this country, its people, and those of us who still suffer with the losses and memories of 9/11/2001
People seem to have forgotten 9/11. What's worse, they seem to have
forgotten the lessons learned from 9/11.
For me, the memories and images are as vivid today as they were on that day 14 years ago. And I will never...I CAN never...forget the horrible deaths and destruction of that day. I can never forget the feelings associated with realizing we were under a coordinated attack, here, on our homeland. America chaged that day. America became vulnerable like it hadn't been since Pearl Harbor. America was no longer insulated against attack on our native soil. America and its citizens joined the ranks of other people, countries and cultures who have fallen prey to the aggression and violence of extremist islam.
On that day, and during the fallout, there were no liberals. There were no conservatives. There were no Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, African-Americans, gay people, straight people, trans people, Democrats or Republicans. There was no differentiation between any of us, because we were all attacked as one people, as one nation, and as one culture. On that day, we were all Americans, and we were all attacked together as Americans. And we felt that attack upon us, together, as one nation and as one people.
On that day, and in the days and weeks following the attacks, some people became heroes. Some people became widows or widowers. Some became orphans. Some became single and were suddenly left alone with their hopes, dreams and future plans lying in ruins. And as the shock of the tragedy slowly subsided, as reason and sanity came back into view, we all wondered together; "Why?"
That tragedy brought out both the best and worst in people. While some were becoming heroes, saving life and limb and property of strangers, concerning themselves with the wellfare of neighbors and strangers alike, others became angry and vengeful, violating peaceful shop owners or victimizing anyone who looked to be of middle eastern decent. We were in shock. We were scared. We were unsure of what would come next. We had taken a knock-out punch to the head and we were reeling.
And yet, as a nation, as a culture, as a people in general, we took that knock-out blow and survived. Down, but not out. Dizzy with shock and pain and insecurity, but still standing. We pulled together, and immediately began to go on with our lives, standing strong together in the face of a threat like we've never known before, together, as one nation. We had to. We had mourned, we had wept, but then we did what Americans always do; we went on with the business of being Americans, clinging faithfully to our culture and traditions, clinging to our freedoms and liberties and democracy, some of which being the very things for which we were attacked.
But we seem to have lost sight of the lessons we learned that day. We quickly lost that sense of "oneness" that permeated through us in the immediate aftermath of that horrible event. The sense of insecurity we realized from that attack has now all but faded. That feeling of "oneness" was only a temporary state of shock and panic, and has subsided back into our individual senses of life and existance. We seem to have gone back to "business as usual" in most of the aspects of our lives, in running this country, and in the connection we all felt for each other during that time of tragedy.
It's amazing to me that you can hold an intelligent, adult conversation with someone who was born after that dreadful day. You can talk with someone who doesn't remember that day because it happened before they were born. Time has passed, day-by-day, year-by-year, returning us to our norms. A new tower now replaces the old twin towers. The Pentagon still holds scars on its walls, but that attack is now otherwise unnoticeable. Memorials are now built in Pennsylvania. All the feelings of that day have faded, and along with it, the fleeting moment when we were truly one nation, indivisible, one people, under one banner, as Americans.
But for some, those who lost loved ones, those wounded and who still suffer with the physical consequences of those injuries, or for those who lost their innocence, the feelings of that day are permanently etched into their psyche, their soul, their spirit, the very core of their beings. They can never forget, because they live daily with the reminders.
Yet, it's the heroes of that day who deserve center stage and recognition. There are more heroes than we can count or even mention in this article. There were undoubtedly acts of heroism about which none of us will ever know. During the final moments, somewhere, in New York or Washington or in the air, in the midst of fire or wreckage or certain doom, when death was imminant, I know some gave comfort to others, encouraging them to face their demise with dignity and courage, and to leave this earth with as much peace in their hearts and souls as was possible.
From the police and fire fighters tirelessly working to rescue survivors to the strangers who gave aid to each other in those buildings or planes, heroes emerged. From the people on United Airlines flight 93 who stood up to the terrorists to the medics who braved danger to give medical treatment to the victims, heroes emerged. From flight attendants in the air to ordinary citizens on the ground, heroes emerged. From the acts of those handling the emergency response systems to the parent having to tell their child that mommy or daddy was never coming home again, heroes emerged.
To the lost, the fallen, and those forced to forever survive the consequences of that fateful day, I salute you, and I promise you, I have never and will never forget that day, your sacrifices, or the lessons learned on that day.
May God bless The United States of America and its people.
Anheiser-Busch aired this video only once after 9/11 so as not to profit from it.
9/11 tribute video I created using
Dream Theater's song Sacrificed Sons