The other day I was reading through stories on the internet and came across a story about how a new video of the planes striking the WTC had surfaced. I realized while I was reading it that it was a long time since I had even thought about 9/11. I felt genuinely bad about that because 9/11 is something that we should never forget, regardless of the way that we choose to remember it.
I became engrossed (and subsequently blew off work for a few hours
). I read about all the different passengers on the flights. For every David Angell (co-creator of Frasier) there was a Candace Williams, a 20 year old student. I read about the firefighters, how they went in with no regard for themselves, and how they kept searching for people, regardless of the conditions or the danger. I read about the absolutely courageous passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93, which ended up crashing in Pennsylvania because the passengers voted to mount an insurrection on board, despite the fact that the hijackers had knives and said that they had a bomb. There are so many other unbelievable stories about courage and selflessness in the face of such overwhelming and horrifying odds.
I have two personal stories from 9/11 that I didn't get to share with people here because I wasn't a member of the board. My dad watched the South tower of the WTC crash from his office building. I vividly remember talking to him on the phone that night, and how he said it was the most disturbing thing he had ever seen. My uncle was in the US Patent Office in Washington DC when the plane hit the Pentagon. He spent the next 4 days driving across country to his home in California with his business partners. He says his most lasting memory from that drive was the patriotism across America. There were American flags everywhere they drove.
In the next few days I am sure there will be a number of television specials and tributes. After that it will probably go back to life as normal for most of us. Except I don't want it to be like that anymore. I realized when I was reading old articles on the internet that this is not something we should forget, ever, even for a day. These were people who were put in the most horrible circumstances, yet they showed true selflessness and character. I don't know that, if I were on a hijacked flight, I would have the guts to mount a rebellion against armed hijackers. I don't know that I could sift through piles of rubble in a collapsed building with depleted levels of oxygen. Yet these firefighters, plane passengers, police officers, and paramedics did it without a thought for themselves. And I bet they didn't even think twice about it.
As we approach the second anniversary of this horrifying event, I think we should all take a minute to remember just how courageous these true heroes were.
God bless America, and God bless our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are fighting to protect the freedom that makes our country so unique.