Thursday, September 8, 2016
What Happens This Sunday - September 11, 2016?
As I am sure all of you are aware, this Sunday marks the fifteenth anniversary of the 9|11 attacks on the United States. A great deal has happened in those fifteen years. Parents grieve for their children; children grow up without one parent. Couples were split apart, never to be together again.
This nation suffered greatly that day. I'm not exactly sure, but I believe I heard that one out of every 6 people in this country have/had some sort of connection to the losses of 9|11. I know it was true for me in a couple of ways. We knew a family from our former synagogue whose son worked at Cantor/Fitzgerald. A very close friend of mine, also a firefighter in South Florida, knew well several of our brothers lost that day. Another person very close to me was invited to fly with a business acquaintance on the flight to L.A., to play golf together. His schedule didn't allow him the leeway and he regretfully, declined the offer. He is alive today.
Also in these fifteen years, a new breed of Americans arose; they are the disbelievers. They claim that 9|11 was sanctioned, orchestrated and carried out by the U.S. government. They have videos that "prove" there were explosions that brought down the buildings.They heard "this," or "that," or someone told them that "this happened," or "that happened." They use the absences of certain people with government connections, as proof the government knew about this advance and also sorts of other drivel. Nevertheless, nearly 3,000 men, women and children, of all faiths, heritages, skin colors, personal beliefs, died that day, when it was supposed to be a beautiful early Fall day for all of them.
Already, there have been several television programs about that day. And there is not doubt that there will be a good number more over this weekend. It is the way that many in this country grieve; by watching these television programs, which broadcast the same videos we have all seen, many, many times.
With all of this, how have we changed? Did we change? No, I'm not talking about the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA, etc. I am speaking about us, as a people. How have we evolved.
If there is one group that stands head-and-shoulders above the masses, it is the men and women who are the first responders in this country. We are a group that lost 343 brothers that day; a group who lost members of Law Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services. These were the people you see running to the buildings, running to help the injured and the trapped. Not to forget the dozens of firefighters and other who spent hour-after-hour on the mound of rubble, inhaling all manner of poisons into their lungs; the poisons which led for many to various cancers and sadly, early deaths. These are the people that you want to show up at your home or place of business within five-to-six minutes of you dialing 9-1-1 or another emergency number. These are the men and women who do not work just for their paycheck, they work to help others; to help people like you, when you call. The people who very, very, rarely hear two words when they finish their jobs at a scene. They rarely hear the words, "Thank you."
Immediately after the tragedy, firefighters were the heroes; adulation was adorned on them all around the country. Yet, just several months later, the adulation was gone; the appreciation was gone. As departments around the country began working on their budgets, often the first target is the fire service. "Why do we have to pay them so much? They sit in the firehouse most of the day and once in a while go out on a call," is commonly heard at budget meetings. Yet, no matter what we do at the firehouse if we're not on a call, we are always prepared to answer the call - your call!
This weekend as you go to shop, as you visit family, as you visit your houses of worship, try to remember the men and women who protect you day in and day out and are willing, without a second though, to give their lives for yours.
Can you do that? Would you?