Thousands upon thousands of words have been devoted to the subject of September 11th, 2001. That fateful, terrible day is etched into the memories of anyone who followed the dreadful events as they unfolded, and I do not want to imagine how it must have felt to be in New York as everything happened. I did not know whether or not to write a prompt about the subject, but I felt I would be remiss in my duties of remembrance if I did not.
I was at work (at the time, working for my local magistrate’s court in an admin capacity) when the news first broke, and it seemed surreal and impossible for such events to take place. A part of me honestly believed it was some kind of sick joke. Over the course of the day, as more news filtered through, it became horrifyingly clear that this was real, and the footage was horrible. It was the bleakest day, and what followed was a sequence of other, terrible events. The shadow of 9/11 is long, with repercussions that are still felt today. The impact upon the physical and emotional health of survivors and rescue workers cannot be calculated. A city’s skyline was forever changed, and the pain of that day will be carried by thousands upon thousands of people for the rest of their lives.
Out of darkness comes light. There are tales of tremendous bravery, and demonstrations of courage and compassion, reminding us that even as human beings conspire to be cruel and savage, there are also human beings capable of heroism and kindness. The passengers of United flight 93 sacrificed their lives to prevent greater loss of life elsewhere. There is the story of the Red Bandanna Man, Welles Crowther, a volunteer firefighter who saved 18 lives in the south tower, going back for survivors over and over again, at great risk to himself. He perished that day, but his courage is eternal. Another man, Vietnam veteran Richard Rescorla, led employees of Morgan Stanley to safety, defying original instructions for everyone to remain in the south tower after the north tower had been hit. He took lost his life, but deserves to be remembered.
There are many more stories of sacrifice and heroism, and I cannot possibly list them all, but they are out there, waiting to be told. Even as people try to prove the worst aspects of humanity, there are always people prepared to display the very best.