Today here in Lower Manhattan it looks like business as usual, folks are stopping at the coffee carts and then running to their office, the SI Ferry was packed with working folks and school kids and the weather, after one of the hottest and most humid NYC summers in a long time, is bright, cool and crisp, just like it was 11 years go.
I hear and see the words “Never Forget” every anniversary of the attacks of September 11th 2000 and I say to myself how can you forget? Every day I report to work I’m reminded since I have to pass the now construction site where a new 1 World Trade Center has risen high to the sky. I’m reminded like I was last night when I stepped out on the front steps of my house and looked up to see two powerful beams of light shining high into the clear night sky. This is same from steps that my wife and then 6 year old son and 2 year old daughter sat waiting for me to return home and then busting into tears of joy that I did return home unlike many of my Staten Island neighbors. Over 300 of the murder victims of that day were from Staten Island. Some were men men who I had been coaching against at Staten Island Little League and some were parents of kids playing in the league. Some were firemen and cops who made the ultimate sacrifice that is still to this day underappreciated by the public they serve. When you travel through Staten Island you see names attached to street signs, the names are of people who lived on those blocks that were killed in the attack. There is a beautiful memorial in the Grasmere section in a triangle in the middle of the road that leads into Hylan Blvd, it’s called Angels Way. It was started by a woman who lives across the street from the triangle who lit a votive candle and planted a pray card on the fence. From there more people came with candles, pray cards and pictures of loved ones lost. From there it grew to where a local nursery donated flowers and shrubs and people devoted many hours to build the site into a beautiful shrine. It always amazes me how people can come together in times of sorrow but why does it take tragedy to bring us together? That’s what hurts the most.
Eleven years ago today in Lower Manhattan when the Towers crumbled and people ran to help save as many lives as they could, no one cared if you were a Christian, Jew, Muslin or an Atheist. No cared if you were born in this country or were an immigrant. No one cared if you were White, Black, Brown or Yellow. No one cared if you were Gay or straight. All we cared about that day was you were a human being who needed help and comfort from another human being.
So when we say and write “Never Forget” it should cover not only the attack of that day but the compassion, kindness and total concern we had for one another.