It’s a day we will never forget. It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years.
September 11, 2001…
Listen to the audio version of this post originally recorded six years ago:
It was a life-defining and life-changing experience for many of us.
I was living in downtown New York. That night I walked north and saw an armada of emergency vehicles crossing Eighth Avenue. They came from so many different states to rescue us. There were tears streaming down my face.
Two nights later, I walked out of my neighborhood which was closed to cars, the businesses shut down. When I later returned and got to 14th street, a State Trooper stationed there asked for ID. I didn’t have my driver’s license on me. But when he saw the air filter I had just purchased that was in my shopping cart, he finally let me through saying, “I don’t think you would have bought that if you didn’t live here.” As I headed further south down the street, I put on an inexpensive paper mask. I could no longer breathe. The air was so thick with smoke. The cloud of toxic dust darkening the sky.
A flatbed truck was heading north up the street full of rescue workers, who looked exhausted. Then I looked around me as people began pouring out of their homes, and we spontaneously gave our heroes a standing ovation. They smiled and waved. And we all kept on clapping, choked with so much emotion.
Two months after the attacks on the World, I walked down to the site to pay my respects to those who had died. There were some makeshift memorial sites where people had left cards and notes. I copied down some of what they left, because I wanted to remember. I shared it at the time with friends and family. Now I’d like to share it again with all of you.
“If you love someone, put their name in a circle, because hearts can break, but circles go on forever.”
Raine Girardot wrote this on a poster sent by the 5th and 6th graders from Carbandale Community School in Colorado. The poster was part of a memorial display on a fence at St. Paul’s Cathedral close to the World Trade Center following September ll, 2001.
“We can reach out and give—and then reach out some more.
We can help make a difference like never before.
We can take a close look deep within our own hearts and stop any prejudice right where it starts.
We can vow to respect every faith, every creed, knowing each offers comfort to spirits in need.
We can make this America’s best shining hour and ask for the wisdom to help guide our power.
We can keep candles burning and proud flags unfurl.
We can pray for our nation.
We can pray for the world.
We owe it to ourselves, to our country, to each American who has suffered so deeply
To always remember September 11th in our hearts and do whatever we can to make a difference in the world.”
Written on a card left at a memorial site in an area overlooking what was the World Trade Center.
“If I knew that it would be the last time that I’d see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord your soul to keep.
If I knew that it would be the last time that I’d see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.
If I knew it would be the last time I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would videotape each action and work, so I can play them back day after day.
If I knew it would be the last time I could spare a minute or two,
to stop and say ‘I love you’ instead of assuming you would know I do.
If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day,
Well, I’m sure you’ll have so many more, so I can just let this one slip away.
There will always be another day to say ‘I love you’ and certainly there will
be another chance…”
Author Unknown (Part of a typewritten note left at the Teddy Bear memorial site in downtown New York in the weeks and months following September 11, 2001. The other half of the note had weathered away.)
And a child wrote: “I love you Daddy. We miss you so much. Lisa”
We miss you all.
We pay our respects.
We remember all those who died, all those who survived.
We cannot forget.
Imagine if we commit ourselves each day to
Making a Positive Difference…
in the lives of all those we touch..