Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Never Forget. Ever.

Today, September 11, 2007, is the sixth anniversary of the worst day in American history. It changed all of our lives as Americans forever, and mine in particular. My friend Joyce was one of those 3000 souls who was lost forever on that terrible day.

I have been at all five of the previous September 11 remembrances that have been held at the World Trade Center site, also known as Ground Zero. I will be there again. Today will be a special day, and a very emotional one as well. It will be the final time any of us can go down to the pit of the site, down to bedrock, and offer flowers and prayers for those we loved and lost. The construction at Ground Zero has been going at an accelerated pace in the past year, and by next year many of the construction projects, such as the Freedom Tower and the World Trade Center Memorial, will reach street level, and bedrock will be covered over forever.

We must never forget those brave souls who gave their lives for our freedom that day. Those first responders, the workers in the WTC, as well as those on the hijacked planes, are all heroes, as well as victims. But over the past few years, I've noticed a tendency in some parts for some people who want to "forget" that the 9/11 attacks ever took place. (And they obviously are people who suffered no loss that day.) I read an article today about something called "9/11 fatigue," about how the general public is getting "tired" of being reminded about what happened six years ago, and the commemorations of that day are getting "excessive, even annoying."

I don't know any people who really feel that way (although I read the occasional letter to the editor from someone so totally clueless echoing those sentiments), but if there was ever any widespread thinking along those lines, those people either need their heads examined, or a refresher course on exactly what happened on September 11, 2001.

It was a day America was attacked on her own shores, in a simply unthinkable way. It was a day America and New York City was tested, and it showed the best of us. Thousands of first responders came rushing to aid their fellow New Yorkers, and regular civilians in the buildings showed great courage getting their friends, colleagues and complete strangers to safety. Hundreds paid for it with their very lives. We know many great stories of the heroism of that day, but many more will go unknown forever.

September 11, 2001 was a great dividing line, not just in the history of America, but in the history of the world. We currently live in what is called "the post-9/11 world." For myself, something that occurred in my life in 1999 or 2000 will instantly remind me that it happened before the terrorist attacks. That's the way it will be for me forever. Anyone who thinks we go back to the way things were before September 11, 2001 is just kidding themselves.

September 11 will never be just "another day on the calendar" anymore. For many people, it may just be another day. But for me, it has a completely different feel to it than any other day. It is a sacred day for me, as it is for all those who lost a loved one. It will forever be one of the saddest days in American history, on par with December 7 and the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and November 22 and the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.

There will forever be tributes and remembrances on the events of September 11, 2001. Those lost that day will forever be memorialized as heroes of our country, people who gave their lives for us. It's important we never forget them, and I'm sure we never will. For as long as there is a United States, it will be a special day. Those lost souls of September 11, 2001 have gained immortality.

So please say a prayer for all of them today.

Never Forget. Ever.

Earlier this week, I received a special email from the 9/11 support group, Voices of September 11th. In it, they included a special prayer that was read in a 9/11 remembrance service in Connecticut last week. I thought it would be fitting to share it with all of you now. It's called "We Remember Them." (My thanks to the Voices of September 11th for sending it.)

We Remember Them

In the rising of the sun and its going down, We Remember Them.
In the bowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, We Remember Them.
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring. We Remember Them.
In the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer, We Remember Them.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn. We Remember Them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, We Remember Them.
When we are weary and in need of strength, We Remember Them.
When we are lost and sick of heart, We Remember Them.
When we have joys and special celebrations we yearn to share, We Remember Them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are part of us.
We Remember Them.

--From the Jewish Book Of Prayer

And today, I would especially like to remember the victims from General Telecom, who worked on the 83rd floor of the North Tower. 13 people went to work on September 11, 2001 in that office, and none of them survived.

Helen Cook
Aisha Harris
Lashawana Johnson
Margaret Mattic
Tara McCloud-Gray
Curtis Noel
Elsy Osorio
Giovanna Porras
Juan Rivera
Fitzroy St. Rose
Darryl Taylor

And especially:
Harvey Gardner
and my dear sweet friend of 16 years,
Joyce Carpeneto

You're in all of our hearts forever. May all of you rest in eternal peace.


Michael Leggett said...

Joyce, IS also on my list:

Kaylee's Aunt;

& two Local FDNY Guys;

Added is an EMT from Jamaica Hospital, not too far from me;

As it was last year, No Sports will be written today.

mikeysmom said...

Hello: I stumbled on your article regarding 9/11 and all those lost. I agree with you 110%--I don't know anyone personally (that I know of) who was lost on 9/11, but I lost my son to brain cancer last October, and I will never, ever forget him, ever. I will never tire of hearing about him, talking about him....he EXISTED, just as the victims of 9/11 EXISTED. How can we forget those we lose? Whether it's a member of our family or a member of society who we come to know through a tragedy such as this was. 9/11 should NEVER be forgotten, 9/11 victims should NEVER be forgotten. Whether you knew them or not.
Reading over the list of names makes my heart hurt even more.
Carol J. NH