SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001 - GROUND ZERO, DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN: As a native New Yorker, I felt it necessary to write a brief, albeit late, message about the terrorist attacks of September 11th. To say that the events of that day were a tragedy is an understatement. With no recollection of remembrance of anything other than a dusty construction sight and now the 9/11 Memorial, it is hard for me to fathom that two of the largest buildings in the world once stood in what is now a hole in the skyline. 2,977 innocent lives were taken that day, and since then, hundreds more have perished due to the toxic dust and smoke that they breathed in as they ran toward what others ran from. The picture above is representative of the struggle our first responders faced. In the above picture, the firefighters were standing eighteen feet above the rubble. The two tallest buildings in New York reduced to just eighteen feet. And under that was fire and smoke, and only a handful of survivors.
This picture shows a special significance to me. First, I see the resiliency of America in a very shocking and mournful time. Just like with Pearl Harbor, the "sleeping giant" was awoken. The other significance to this image, on a personal note, is that after seeing this image as a small boy I finally realized what had really happened in Manhattan on that day. In the fall of 2001 or winter of 2002, I went to the grocery store with my mother. The clerk was wearing a button, and on it was the image above. I asked her if I could have it, because, as a three year old, I idolized firefighters. She pulled open a drawer full of these buttons and handed me one. My mother thanked her as I wondered why somebody would have a drawer full of these buttons. It was around this time that I had realized, in my childhood, that things were different; that were damaged as a nation. One of my favorite quotes is, "We weren't old enough to do anything then, but we are old enough to do something now." Learn, educate, remember, and NEVER forget.