September 11, 2001- Remembrance, Ten Years Later

September 8, 2011

The day began like any ordinary day. The sun was shining; the sky was a clear bright blue. The normal rhythm of life could be heard, people going to work and children on their way to school. In an instant, everything changed.

The unthinkable happened that would forever scar the national’s collective mind. Planes manned by a silent, stealth enemy, whose motive was fueled by pure hatred, struck the world trade towers and the symbol of our nation’s strength and might, a seemingly impenetrable fortress – the pentagon. And on another plane headed for our nation’s capital, high jackers were wrestled to the ground by a few courageous passengers before further attacks could be carried out. This terrorist attack would go down as the deadliest one day massacre in US history. On that day our nation lost its innocence.

Many of these innocent victims were our family, friends and neighbors from southwest Connecticut. Of the more than 150 victims from our state, five were not only from my town but also from my church. Eleven of their children were left fatherless on that day.

I was brought to my knees when I could not reach all three of my children who were within a few blocks of the White House and the nation’s Capitol on that day. As with many desperate families it felt like an eternity before we could communicate with one another. As the days wore on, I worked with older residents who were reliving the horrors of WWII and assured grown men that they should not be afraid to cross the George Washington Bridge to get to work – yet their terror could not be assuaged.

The horrible scenes from those caught in the middle of the attack remain vivid in my mind. Some recounted the horrors and were traumatized as parts of human remains fell down on them from atop buildings. Another local woman described running down 94 floors to escape the smoke and flames, only to be pushed out of the building as it collapsed- when she reached the ground floor. Running for her life and searching for her husband, they were reunited in the middle of the debris. Their lives would never be the same.

As time heals and memories fade, people sometimes take each day for granted and become concerned over trivial things once again. Gone too is the unbelievable universal compassion and kindness that each person extended to perfect strangers on the street in the wake of such cruelness and inhumanity. It seemed that a whole country became united as one, no matter the difference in ones background. American flags and yellow ribbons were displayed on just about every corner and on every house. As were other displays of unabashed patriotism.

Ten years later we must all work to keep that compassion and caring in our life and in our communities. We must also thank the soldiers who continue to fight terror both here and abroad. Far too many have died for our freedom and still others continue to serve and protect our nation to this day. Theirs is the real national debt that we can never repay.

On this anniversary a resilient and courageous nation will remember and pay tribute to the innocent victims of 9/11 and their families. Thought many continue to suffer in silent pain and anguish a decade later – we must think of peace and the possibility of renewed life. Our fellow Americans deserve no less.