Friday, September 9, 2011
Sunday is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks - the worst terrorist attack in the history of our world. It is appropriate that we honor and remember the nearly 3,000 people who died.
We should remember those who died on the four hijacked aircraft. Some were traveling to take care of business or to visit family. Some were aircrew just doing their job. Some were members of the military working in the Pentagon or their support staff or business people simply going about their workday in Lower Manhattan. The loss of every one of those people is a tragedy.
We also should remember those who were injured in the attacks. In particular, several survivors from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were terribly burned - a horror with which firefighters are all too familiar.
We should remember the NYPD and PAPD police officers and the civilian EMS personnel who died responding to the World Trade Center attack. Their heroism should never be forgotten.
As a firefighter, I especially cannot forget the 343 members of the FDNY who died on that terrible day. They truly exemplify one of the most honorable things about our profession - running into buildings from which everyone else runs out. FDNY's losses do not stop there. Along with NYPD officers, steelworkers, and others, many of them have been dying by inches from respiratory disease, cancer, or other health problems acquired.
Our losses do not stop there. Members of our military have died by the thousands in the subsequent military actions whose intent is to root out sources of terrorist activity whose motive is nothing more than to kill Americans and others who are targeted for no reason other than having different values. I have a very personal reminder of how important this is; my son is one of those military members fighting the group that sheltered and assisted Al Queda as they planned the dastardly 9/11 attack.
I wear a 9/11 memorial bracelet honoring Captain Terry Hatton of FDNY Rescue 1. It is an everyday reminder to Never Forget. Remembering our fallen every day is important, but with the Pentagon rebuilt, the Shanksville memorial in place, the Ground Zero memorial pools flowing water, and the new World Trade Center rising from the ashes of its former site, it can be tempting to simply get on with life. Life indeed goes on for the rest of us, but it is important to take the time to set aside our daily routine and to celebrate the lives of our fallen.
Never, never, NEVER Forget.