Yeah, I was there! Never Forget………Have We?

9 11 towersThose who know me well know my story with 9/11.  The 36 hours I spent down there from 9/11 to 9/12 provided images that many could not have nightmares about.  It was a day that transformed my life, as it did for a grieving nation.

Every where you look you see the date 9/11 with the words ‘Never Forget’ right next to it or below it.  But are we forgetting?

This was not just a day of names that must never be forgotten.  It was a spirit.  To those of us who lost loved ones and friends of course there will be thoughts today.  Local stations will cover the reading of the names of the lost.  A bell will sound.

CNN showed the first two people reading names, went to commercial (and even dropped the little box they usually kept in the lower corner showing the people reading names from around the country) and when they came back from commercial break; continued the news as normal. That is their choice.  But if we are to remember today, it should be remembered as a “STOP AND REMEMBER” day, and not merely a ‘today in the news…..” type story.  As if this date is just a normal day.

This is not a normal day.  This was not a normal day.  This will never be a normal day again.

To those that know my story also know that I have shared of not only the horror, but the incredible spirit that I witnessed 12 years ago.  That American Spirit that had people helping far beyond what anyone could have ever imagined.  The rest of the country had this spirit also. 

The best way to remember this day is to not only recognize the names of those who were killed in Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and New York but to renew the spirit we showed each other.

Lately, have you even read a response if someone says they are Republican or Democrat on FB?  Have you seen the personal attacks from our elected officials on Capitol Hill?  Have you ever seen so many statements of; “….this is my opinion and if you disagree you are wrong and by the way, you’re a pig too….” attitudes.  Just hurtful, sometimes.

I get it.  Freedom of speech and disagreements and discussions are healthy.  THAT is not to what I am referring.  The Spirit of America; is it getting pushed further and further into the background?

Lately, this is a country of division.

Political belief, race, sexual orientation, and even having an opinion; if it is against the mainstream (or just the loudest) we are very quick to ‘pounce’ in retaliation.

Twelve years ago we saw a different America.  I remember seeing a taxi cab driving in New York and the air was so still you could actually hear the rubber of the tire on the road as it drove up the street.  People nodded to each other, said hello, or at the very least smiled to passing strangers as if to say, “we both understand”.   ON THAT DAY, I saw people come from every corner to help, to want to help, to need to help; in any way no matter how small.

This was not a naive America; this was an America that knew what we meant to each other.  It’s unfortunate that it took thousands of deaths and 4 planes to be commandeered out of the skies to remind us…….but it did.  It reminded us how important we still are to each other from every walk of life; we are Americans.

The more we ‘go to commercial breaks’, the further we will get away from what is important.  It’s not just a list of names, it was not only the death of so many; it was a birth of spirit we had forgotten existed.  It is this spirit that also needs to be remembered.

Let’s not wait for four more planes, or worse, to have to be reminded again.

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5 replies on “Yeah, I was there! Never Forget………Have We?”

Tom, thank you for sharing this post. The spirit is still there it simply needs to be re-kindled. The networks are all about ad $ and we certainly can’t rely on them to stoke the spirit it must come from within all of us. United we stand.

Thanks Mike;
The breaking to commercial was only the smallest aspect; just a constant ‘chipping away’ at remembering—each year it becomes less and less. I just don’t want 9/11 never forget to become 9/11 remember.
Thanks for writing.

Yes, I think we are starting to forget. And I just came to the realization that half of today’s schoolchildren (grades K-6) weren’t even alive when this whole thing happened, making it less of a memory and more of a history lesson. For me, it will always be a memory.

Cutting away from the reading of the names is a difficult choice, though. I can understand why we don’t need 15 different channels airing the same footage, but that footage should be available somewhere. Similarly, it disturbs me when TV sports broadcasts don’t air the singing of the National Anthem. Commercials during this time I can tolerate (but dislike), but what is obsene is when the in-stadium/arena announcers offer their commentary over the song. That’s just not right. (Off my soapbox now).

However, I will say that I prefer my memories to be non-visual. I quickly scrolled past that image at the top of your post, just as I have quickly scrolled down, folded the newspaper, or changed the channel for years when that image crosses my sightline. I remember it, but I don’t need to see it.

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