It had been a rewarding experience listening and reading the stories of those who were so affected by September 11th, 2001, a tragic day in the life of the United States and people all around the world.
Over Labor Day weekend, my Aunt and I decided to watch the video of my cousin’s wedding from back in 1996. As the camera man passed around the microphone for each person at the tables to wish the newlyweds their best for a successful, happy and prosperous life, we came to the groom’s cousin and his wife.
Tears came to my Aunt’s eyes. For this cousin had been killed in the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001.
I watched him wish my cousin, the bride, and his cousin, the groom, a lifetime of happiness. I especially looked at his wife and all I could think was here they were enjoying a wonderful family wedding never realizing only five years later their entire world would be shattered by radicals who wish to harm our people and our great country.
As the tape played, my Aunt reminded me who his parents were when they appeared and we saw them dancing and laughing. We talked about how hard it was for his parents and how they nearly split up themselves from the trauma of losing a child.
We spoke about how they had had a memorial event and I donated several dozen of my book “Understanding Your Grieving Heart After a Loved One’s Death” which my Aunt put in beautiful baskets with other items to be sold at the auction to raise funds. I had forgotten I did that until she reminded me.
No matter how many years go by, we cannot forget. For several months, our country was numb. And in NYC, longer than that.
I guess it’s beyond me how officials in NYC are still playing the ‘politically correct’ card with all we’ve been through. There is no reason to build a mosque at Ground Zero when there are two in close proximity to it already. It’s a slap in the face of law abiding, good people who have no evil intention.
It is also beyond me how Pennsylvania and DC have their memorials built long ago and we’re still working on New York’s.
Nine years ago at this hour, we saw smoke flowing for miles around the southern tip of Manhattan. Fires still burning, buildings still waiting to fall, nearly 3,000 people dead including 343 firefighters, many who were friends of another cousin of mine, a FDNY Lieutenant.
Let us always remember the victims of this earthshaking day and the families who were forever changed.
Regardless of the dreary, rainy day in NYC today, the spirits are extremely high as nearly 15,000 dedicated folks run from Brooklyn through the Battery Tunnel to the site of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
It was there that Firefighter Stephen Siller, dedicated husband and father to five young children ranging from 10 years to 9 months, was killed on September 11th, 2001. To assist in the effort, he ran through the Battery Tunnel back into Manhattan with all his gear on.
To honor his memory and that of his fellow 342 New York City Firefighters killed that day in service to their fellow citizens, this race is held to raise funds for a Foundation in his name, started by his wife Sally and his family.
Nothing touches my soul more than other individuals who understand the great need to assist young children after the death of their parents or siblings. There are many organizations which only help 9/11 families but this organization helps children whose parents have died in any manner.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run (http://www.tunneltotowersrun.org/) raises funds to provide counseling and financial assistance to children under the age of 10, whose parents have died.
I admire and praise their efforts as folks who believe as I do that little ones grieve just like adults do, and we must care for them early, when they need us.
If you enjoy runs, I encourage your participation next year as they do wonderful work for young people.
And to the thousands of brave members of the FDNY, including my wonderful cousin Lt. Sal (Peter) Pastore in Inwood, please accept our sincere appreciation for everything you do to keep us safe everyday.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop yearning for the images of the Twin Towers whenever I admire the majesty of the New York City skyline. This week the beams of white light rise from the ground through the sky to once again remind us exactly where those towers stood. From the first time I saw those beams, several years ago, then in purple, the images and placement in the New York City skyline are forever etched in my mind, never to forget how they graced the sky.
In Shanksville, Pennsylvania the heroism of the passengers of United Flight 93 thwarted the plan to destroy either the White House or Capitol Building. Such love for our country, to come to the decision that they would rise up and do what was right for our land disregarding their own lives. To know that you might die and still, in a just a few minutes, decide these enemies of our country needed to be stopped, was the ultimate act of heroism.
In Washington, at our Pentagon, 125 people died within that building along with 59 passengers of American Flight 77. A wonderful new memorial is now available remembering those who died in Washington. I so look forward to visiting it.
A total of 2,751 families lost their loved ones that day. Studies show when a single individual dies there can be upward of 300 family, friends, business colleagues, classmates, social circles, neighbors and others who are affected by their deaths. On September 11th, 2001, all Americans and citizens of the world became their family members, too.
Our country was forever changed that day. Through unspeakable tragedy, we became closer and kinder as a people toward one another and we became more resolute in securing our land. Let us always remember that we have passed seven September 11ths on our calendar, but we have not experienced another 9/11.
Let us give credit to our President, George W. Bush and leaders who changed the structure of government at many levels to insure we have not repeated this devastating day. Regardless of your politics, we have been kept safe since 2001. Our government’s main mission is the security of its people. And they have succeeded and for that we are eternally grateful.
God bless all who have been affected and have suffered as a result of the attacks on our great nation and for all who, in their own way both large and small, from the first responders at all three sites, to the military who fight for our liberty, to the counselors who help the emotional pain, may we always honor their work.
No matter what our America has endured, no one, and nothing will ever kill our spirit!
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