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Today, we remember with you. Tweet using #redcross and one of the trending 9/11 hashtags, and you may see your post here:
Remembering 9/11: The First Few Hours of the Greater NY Red Cross Response http://t.co/YD61T5mPNx #NeverForget
&mdash NY Red Cross (@redcrossny) September 11, 2013
Thanks to #RedCross Disaster Responders across Arkansas who cared for those touched by #September11 #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/XXu0AJAEbt
&mdash RedCrossArkansas (@ArkRedCross) September 11, 2013
I worked w the Red Cross at ground zero. Someone put a green tablecloth with a red rose on a small table btw the towers. #september11
&mdash (((Amy Keyishian))) (@madfoot) September 11, 2013
Working @BancFirst, we watched events unfold on TV in the back hall. I soon joined #RedCross & #AmeriCorps as a responder. #wherewereyou
&mdash Beth Boyd (@Beth_Boyd) September 11, 2011
I'm in NYC to join 15 Red Cross friends that I worked alongside at Ground Zero. We haven't been together in 10 years. #wherewereyou
&mdash Darren Irby (@deirby) September 9, 2011
Volunteering at a blood drive & donating blood in NYC in honor of the 9/11 victims. 520 W. 49th St, 1st Fl. American Red Cross! #Remember911
&mdash Salaam Bhatti (@salawm) September 11, 2012
Remembering 9/11: The Ground Zero Cross - HISTORY
On March 30, 2002, a firefighter searching for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center in New York, is reported to have discovered a burnt Bible fused to a piece of steel. The barely legible top page is open to the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5, where Jesus speaks of “an eye for an eye” followed by “resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
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When was the last time you truly felt carefree? The question is almost unfair. The pace of life, the demands on our time and energy, the tragedy and trauma of the world coming at us 24-7… it’s left us ragged, wrung-out, and emptied.
What if there was a way to get our lives back?
There’s no need to wait for better days, friend…
We can begin to renew our souls and restore our hearts to God here and now.
I invite you to join the FREE Get Your Life Back Online Bible Study this spring and begin some very simple, restorative practices that will help you live freely and lightly again. God wants to come to us and restore our lives.
The Untold Story of the World Trade Center Cross
CBN.com John Picarello, a firefighter for over 20 years, arrived at the World Trade Center on September 11th as part of Engine Company 278 and Battalion 40 of Brooklyn. He saw two massive buildings enveloped in smoke and flames. John was ordered to the 75th floor of the first target, the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
As he was receiving those orders, the South Tower was hit and began to crumble on top of him, along with other rescuers assembled in the lobby. His orders would never be completed as John found himself trapped in complete darkness but surrounded by a mountain of twisted steel, shattered debris, and fires.
John opened his eyes to total darkness.
“The sensation I had for a split second, it was extreme fear and then totally numb. It was like having your eyes closed, and then for a few minutes there was complete silence,” says John.
Time stood still as John scrambled over debris to get himself out of the path of danger. He managed to make his way to daylight, remarkably without a scratch.
“I remember thinking, this is not a dream you’ll wake up from. This is real. You’ve got to run.”
So John turned to run even though he was exhausted from the first collapse. John didn’t find out until later that he was 3 feet – a mere 36 inches – from the collapse zone.
“One minute I was with other rescue workers, some of them friends, and the next minute, they were gone,” says John.
As rescue and recovery began, fireman, police, and rescue workers would be forced to endure the nightmare of working and living inside Ground Zero. Minutes turned into hours, hours turned into hopelessness as the reality of what had happened sunk in. While working in Building 6 in the World Trade Center complex, workers discovered a cavernous type hole in the debris.
“Just the way the sun shone down and the way it looked,” says John, “It looked like an amphitheater with benches.”
Then in the midst of America’s darkest hours and in the midst of the enormous devastation, John says he believes hope was revealed. Four steel girder crosses laid upright in the middle of Building 6. All the workers in the immediate area, both believers and non-believers, stopped what they were doing and bowed their heads and prayed.
John says the message is clear: “When you find the cross, there’s power in the message that it brings.” The cavern became a place of worship for weary rescue workers. John believes it was as if God was saying, I am with you, I am here, come find peace. One of the crosses was erected as a permanent memorial to the World Trade Center at Ground Zero.
John says he suffered from severe post traumatic stress syndrome. In January 2002, several months after the attacks, John says he realized his own immortality and that was when his healing began.
“It hit me that only another 36 inches and I wouldn’t be here,” says John. Although he understood that healing was a process, John still says he wondered would he ever be normal again – would the nightmares ever stop? Fortunately for John, his nightmares began going away after six months.
After 9/11, John was asked to speak around the country, particularly in colleges, about his experiences.
“All the speaking helped,” he says. “Along with my faith.”
The Cross and the Towers is a documentary which was released in August as an exclusive church screening program through Outreach Cinema. The DVD can be ordered online from ShopCBN,
Our Parish remembrance of September 11, 2001
Out of the rubble of New York City’s Twin Towers on that fateful 9/11 morning emerged a symbol of hope: a perfectly proportioned cross formed from the steel girders of the previously standing twin towers.
The original 9/11 cross was found in the wreckage of the twin towers and subsequently mounted here on this site October 15, 2006, where it stayed until it was moved July 23, 2011 to the September 11 th Memorial & Museum at the former World Trade Center site across the street. A hollow spot in the cross holds the remains of the original Twin Tower wreckage.
The artist, selected by Cardinal Egan to craft the new cross, was sculptor Jon Krawczyk who was raised in New Jersey.
The cross was built hollow, and on his way to New York from California, Jon Krawczyk encouraged people to put notes and symbols of loss inside.
That hole was sealed up with a piece of the fallen World Trade Center. When it rains, rust from the piece of metal will drip down the rest of the cross, simulating a bleeding heart. The base of the cross includes a metal book with 35 pages listing the names of all the 9/11 Twin Tower victims. The names were etched in such a way that rubbings can be taken by visitors. The inscription on this memorial book of names is:
The cross is a symbol of hope. It speaks of life’s journey
And to life’s limitless potential.
For the innocent, whose lives were taken from them, this cross stands as a memorial.
For the courageous, who faced death so others
This cross stands as a tribute.
For all of us, walking the streets today,
This cross reflects who we are
And who we may choose to become.
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"Prior to September 11th we were accustomed to look at the Twin Towers as the symbol of America’s strength and power in the world of trade, commerce and finance. But as those buildings turned to dust before our eyes, we came to look to each other to see where our true strength and power lie. Our true strength was in all those acts of compassion, those deeds of generosity and self-sacrifice that were performed that day and in the days, weeks and months afterward.”
WE WILL NEVER FORGET
The World Trade Center cast a shadow over the Church of St Peter’s, a street away. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 profoundly affected our parish and without a doubt made us stronger and more connected. Here is an account of how we opened our home and hearts at our three places of worship and how faith helped to resurrect downtown in New York City after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
ST PETER’S CHURCH AND 9/11 TIMELINE
Roman Catholics were the most represented faith group of those lost in the attacks. The parish can’t be certain of all the members of the parish who were lost, since many don’t register but we do know that a lector at St Peter’s and a parishioner at the mission of St Joseph’s Chapel were killed on that day. After 9/11 far fewer were coming to weekday morning and lunch hour Masses because the roughly 50,000 workers in the towers had to work in new locations
During these operations, Fr Madigan celebrated Mass, heard Confession and provided pastoral care to rescue workers and those allowed to enter the area. The church was open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the workers until the end of October 2001 when martial law was lifted and workers returned to work downtown.
The doors of St Peter’s stayed open to America’s heroes, and the church transformed into a relief supply station. "We were the first place they were bringing all the emergency equipment. Everything was in disarray," Fr Kevin Madigan stated. "Supplies were piled six feet high all over the pews, bandages, gas masks, boots, hoses and cans of food for the workers and the volunteers, many of whom were sleeping in the pews on bedrolls."
FATHER MYCHAL JUDGE
Father Mychal Judge OFM, the beloved chaplain of the New York Fire Department, was early to the scene of the disaster, giving absolution and prayers for the wounded and dying. Late that morning, he was in the North Tower lobby surrounded by rescue workers when the South Tower collapsed. The force of the building falling on itself blew cement dust and debris at speeds estimated to be 100mph. The impact of the implosion was so violent that parts of the compromised North Tower building fell. Obscured by the cloud of dust, it was only after the incident that the men nearby saw that Fr Judge had been struck down and killed. Fr Kevin M. Smith, another fire chaplain from Patchogue, NY blessed the body on curb. Eventually his body was carried by two firemen, an FDNY medical technician, a police lieutenant and a civilian bystander into St. Peter’s and laid in front of the altar. Fr Fussner, a priest at St. Peter’s Church noticed that Fr. Judge’s neck was swollen and appeared to be broken. Resting on the marble, Fr Judge’s body was covered in a white cloth with a fresh stole from sacristy on top and his chaplain’s badge and helmet resting on his chest. Fr Fussner added that the firemen pulled two of the candles close to either side of his body and a Franciscan friar later pointed out that the resulting pose resembled a bas-relief sculpture of Christ immediately behind the body. At around 2pm, two Franciscan friars from Fr Judge’s residence carried his body to a fire station across from his residence.
Fr. Mychal gave the following sermon at a Mass for New York City Firefighters at Engine 73, Ladder 42, Bronx, NY on September 10, 2001:
You do what God has called you to do. You get on that ring, you go out and do the job. No matter how big the call, no matter how small, you have no idea of what God is calling you to, but God needs you. He needs me. He needs all of us. God needs us to keep supporting each other, to be kind to each other, to love each other.
We love this job, we all do. What a blessing it is! It’s a difficult, difficult job, but God calls you to do it, and indeed, He gives you a love for it so that a difficult job will be well done.
Isn’t God wonderful?! Isn’t He good to you, to each one of you, and to me? Turn to God each day -- put your faith, your trust, your hope and your life in His hands. He’ll take care of you, and you’ll have a good life. And this firehouse will be a great blessing to this neighborhood and to this city. Amen.
Fundraising commenced and the Mission of St Joseph’s Chapel received the support of Cardinal Edward M. Egan and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. In a letter, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani wrote, “St Joseph’s Chapel in Battery Park City is creating a Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero to honor those who were lost, and pay tribute to those who responded with such heroism and bravery in the face of mortal danger.” (Read full letters written by Cardinal Egan, Mayor Giuliani and Fr Madigan.)
Fr Madigan and a committee of parish leaders commissioned artwork to honor the heroes of 9/11 for “their bravery, sacrifice and love.” (Details about Catholic Memorial artwork.)
In May 2005, Cardinal Edward M. Egan held a ceremony to bless the refurbished St Joseph’s Chapel. Cardinal Egan remarked that, “the memorial affirms the presence of God in a place that has tested the faith of many.” The completed Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero honors those who died, those who performed heroic and selfless acts on that day, and all of us who survived to bear witness. The memorial compliments the 9-11 National Memorial and gives visitors an opportunity for prayer and reflection in a quiet sanctuary.
February 26, 1993, a truck loaded with bombs, parked in a public garage below the North Tower of the World Trade Center and exploded. Terrorists set of the powerful homemade bomb by way of a twenty-foot fuse. The blast killed six innocent civilians. The bomb was powerful enough to create a 200 by 100 foot hole in the building. Approximately a thousand office workers suffered smoke inhalation injuries. One hundred and twenty four of those injured were rescue personnel. Seventeen kindergarteners were trapped when the electrical power line was knocked out and one woman in labor was airlifted out of the area to a hospital.
The terrorists intended for the North Tower to come crashing down and topple the South Tower. Seven men have been convicted for their role in the attack but only six have been caught.
Many have forgotten the first truck bombing of the World Trade Center in the wake of 9/11. A son of a victim in the attacks, Stephen Knapp Jr., is quoted in the New York Times: “It started on Feb. 26, it played out on 9/11, and it is still going on now.”
Our Parish has not forgotten. Every February, the families and friends of people who died and those who were injured, hold a memorial Mass at St. Peter’s Church.
This account of what transpired on September 11, 2001 and in the aftermath of the attacks has been prepared by parish volunteers. The research and fact checking continues and will soon include further quotes from our clergy. If you want to get involved in the parish history preservation project, go to our volunteer page to sign-up.
If you want to get involved in the parish history preservation project, go to our volunteer page to sign-up.
Ground zero responders remember 9/11
On 9/11, Dr. Benjamin Luft prepared Stony Brook University Medical Center on Long Island for the massive number of casualties he expected to overwhelm the emergency room. But none came through the door that day, so few had survived.
As it turned out Dr. Luft's casualties were coming, but they would arrive much later. Although nearly 3,000 people were killed at the World Trade Center, 70,000 others responded to Ground Zero and worked for months amid toxic smoke and dust.
Dr. Luft helped start a clinic to treat the chronic illnesses and psychological trauma suffered by the 9/11 responders. Over time, Luft discovered something that he never expected - he began to hear their stories, honest, raw, irreplaceable stories. And almost two years ago, he began to record the definitive history of Ground Zero - remembering 9/11 in the words of the people who lived it.
60 Minutes Overtime
Eyewitness: Interviews with 9/11 responders
"The problem that came up was that our society began to look at the responders in terms of their disease," Dr. Luft told correspondent Scott Pelley. "They became an issue in terms of their liability. And my feeling was that, that's not who the responders were."
Dr. Luft said that he wanted to "find out who they are as human beings, what their motivation was, what values they had, what sacrifices they made, how they were able to renew themselves."
He told Pelley that it was like "taking a civics class as to what is important about being a citizen. What is important about being a human being? What is important to being an American?"
9/11 pictures taken by former NYPD detective
Former NYPD detective and photographer John Botte shows a unique view of a pivotal moment in history
Stacey Goodman, a suburban Suffolk County police detective, is one of the voices Luft recorded in what is now called the World Trade Center Oral History Project. Goodman worked at the makeshift morgue.
"We took in all the bodies. You know? Saying, 'I'm sorry for your loss' was very difficult, because that almost got to be like rote, you know?" Goodman said.
"At one point, this senior, I think, he was a retired fireman," Goodman continued, holding back tears. "He comes in. His hands are cupped. And he's got bones in his hands. And he goes up to the medical examiner and he puts the bones in front of him and he goes, 'This is my son.' What do you say to that?"
No one could possibly know 9/11 the way these responders do. "60 Minutes" asked several of the people who gave testimony to Dr. Luft's project to give a sense of what they went through.
Carol Paukner was a cop on the scene before the towers fell. She said that the debris and people rushing out made it difficult for her to get to Tower One, so she positioned herself at the base of Tower Two.
"This big, brawly FBI guy had his shield around his neck. And, you know, I looked up at him and he's telling, there was about six officers there with me, and he's like, 'If you want to live, you, you might as well leave now.' He said, 'We're all gonna die,'" Paukner recalled.
"And I'm like, 'I can't, we can't leave. I'm, I'm not leaving.' And the officers that I were there with, 'We're not leaving either.' And we continued to evacuate and do our jobs, but, you know, we were all like, 'Wow, we're gonna die,'" she said.
Paukner was trapped when the first tower collapsed, but she was able to pull herself out of the wreckage.
So few were saved, but Nassau County Long Island Emergency Services Unit police sergeant Richard Doerler helped pull out one, rare survivor - a fellow cop named John McLoughlin.
Doerler said that McLoughlin was given morphine because "the plan was that if we couldn't extricate him, they were gonna cut his legs off."
"John screamed in pain while we pulled him initially," Doerler said. "So, we let him rest. And, we simultaneously pulled again and we broke him free. And, pulled him out."
Benjamin Luft is a medical doctor who volunteered to help create a clinic for the 9/11 responders at Stony Brook University Medical Center, part of the State University of New York.
More than 6,000 responders enrolled in his World Trade Center Health Program. One study shows that nearly a third of those who worked at Ground Zero have asthma, 42 percent suffer with sinusitis, nearly 40 percent have gastro esophageal reflux disease, known as GERD, and many have reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, that patients simply call "RADS."
Luft listened to their stories in the examining room for eight years when he realized that his patients were the authors of one of the most dramatic chapters of American history.
With his own money, a few donations and a small, mostly volunteer staff, Luft started the interview process - so far he has recorded 137 testimonies.
FACT CHECK: Did a firefighter at find a Bible page fused to a steel beam in the World Trade Center rubble after the 9/11 terrorist attacks?
Claim: A firefighter found a Bible page fused to a steel beam in the World Trade Center rubble after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Example: Collected via Twitter, October 2015
BIBLE PAGE FUSED TO 9/11 RUBBLE: Discovered in Pristine Condition, What it Says Will Leave You in Awe… http://t.co/sX8flLLB5d
— Jan Pleasants (@Jantxnc) October 16, 2015
Intact Bible Page Found Fused To Steel In 9/11 Rubble Has An ASTONISHING End-Time… http://t.co/4CpjAKIdDR pic.twitter.com/2ikmcyJlMF — Terrorism Updates (@terrorism_info) October 16, 2015
Origins: On 25 September 2015, the New York Times published a short article titled “At 9/11 Memorial, an Enduring Message of Forgiveness” and described a previously little-known artifact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that Pope Francis was slated to view during his visit to the United States: a Bible page fused to a steel beam from the World Trade Center that was uncovered by a firefighter and documented by a photographer in March 2002:
Words from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, in the Gospel of Matthew, were found permanently exposed at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attacks. The pages of the Bible in which they were printed had fused to a chunk of steel as the World Trade Center collapsed, to be found only months later.
The artifact is to be shown to Pope Francis when he visits the National September 11 Memorial Museum. It was given to the museum by the photographer Joel Meyerowitz, whose book “Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive” is the definitive pictorial chronicle of the months following the attack.
A firefighter found the fragment in March 2002, under the Tully Road, a temporary truck route that covered the last remnants of the south tower. He called out to the photographer, who happened to be nearby.
The firefighter was not identified by the Times, but the photographer who stepped forward with the Bible was identified as Joel Meyerowitz. Meyerowitz appeared in the History Channel web series Remembering 9/11. Footage from that series was the first instance we’ve been able to find wherein Meyerwitz (or anyone) described the finding of this artifact, which was reported sometime between 2013 and 2014):
By 2013, there wasn’t much that hadn’t been examined, memorialized, relived, or written into history with respect to the events of 11 September 2001. That event was seared into the American consciousness and continually referenced directly (and indirectly) in films, music, books, on television, in the news, and across the political landscape. The tiniest fragments remaining from that day have long since been swept into time capsules and museums with the oft-repeated promise to never forget, so that such a moving remnant would remain unpublicized in the years of mourning that followed is unusual but not impossible (especially given how quickly and widely other reports of responders finding Bibles and Bible pages in the WTC rubble were spread via the news media).
Meyerowitz was not a late entrant to 9/11 memorialization efforts indeed, his work as a photographer was linked to recovery efforts at Ground Zero long before Remembering 9/11 aired more than a decade later. However, a Google search restricted to content published prior to the airing of Remembering 9/11 (wherein Meyerowitz seemingly disclosed the existence of the fused Bible page for the very first time) yielded no hits for any previous occasions on which he mentioned the item even in passing. A brief and unverified CNN iReport dated 11 September 2011 referenced a Bible page matching the description of the one Meyerowitz later discussed but included no mention of his name and involvement.
Around the same time in 2011, Meyerowitz spoke at the 92nd Street YMCA about his work during 9/11:
Meyerowitz was profiled by the New Yorker in September 2011 to mark the ten-year anniversary of the attacks that article also did not mention the Bible page discovered and given to him by a nameless firefighter back in 2002:
5. Is there one image or scene that evokes that day for you?
Because I was in the position of making images of the aftermath, I am loaded with image moments of my own, but when I think back to that day there was an image, maybe a video, of a cloud of dust squeezing its way through a side street, like the biggest tsunami of dirt ever made, and that image, for some reason, holds a special power for me.
In short, it’s neither impossible nor implausible that Meyerowitz did document a “heart-shaped Bible [page] fused to a steel beam” found in the WTC rubble after 9/11 and given to him by a firefighter. However, we haven’t yet found any mention of that story appearing prior to 2013 or 2014, despite the fact that his body of work is strongly associated with the aftermath of 9/11. And as far as we know, the firefighter from whom Meyerowitz received the relic has never been identified, nor has he stepped forward to corroborate the discovery.
We’ve attempted to contact Meyerowitz in order to obtain more details about the 9/11 Bible page discovery we will update this page if he responds.
Flight 93 National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service): The website for the National Memorial for Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA. Phase 1 of the permanent memorial will be dedicated on September 11, 2011.
Pittsburgh Cares: Find local volunteer/service opportunities and participate in the 9/11 Day of Service.
Pittsburgh Islamic Center: For more information on helping students understand Islam, contact the Pittsburgh Islamic Center. Consider a tour of the Center, inviting an Imam to answer students questions and to talk about terrorism and Islam, or providing your students with an opportunity to try on traditional clothing from parts of the Arab world.
Too Soon? Humor, Art and Media in a Post-9/11 World: A panel discussion presented by Toonseum, the talk will look at the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks and the effect it had on humor, art, and the media.
World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh: Leading up to the 10th anniversary of September 11, the Council will feature several programs for the general public, as well as students and teachers.
A disclaimer (just in case): Any opinions expressed in the resources listed above are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. We suggest you review any resources for appropriateness and quality before utilizing them.
This Is How The World Is Remembering 9/11
S unday marks the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, and places in the United Sates and around the world are planning tributes to the victims of the terror attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives.
Here’s a sampling of some of the memorial events planned for the next week.
Joe Biden at an NFL game
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will participate in a first responders tribute before the Philadelphia Eagles game on opening weekend of the NFL season, the LA Times reports. Biden will participate in a ceremony before the game and stand with 120 police officers, firefighters and emergency responders during the national anthem. (The Baltimore Ravens are also planning a tribute before their game, which includes a live bald eagle landing on the field.)
Staten Island Twin Towers art piece
A Staten Island artist recreated the Twin Towers out of thousands of lights strung together. The installation, called ,000 raindrops” in reference to the lives lost in the attacks, debuted on Thursday and will be kept up until September 25, SILive.com reports.
UK firefighters moment of silence
Firefighters in the United Kingdom will observe a moment of silence at the time the first plane hit one of the Twin Towers, the Daily Mail reports. Other offices and some radio and television networks are also expected to fall silent.
British government leaders and about 2,000 people will also attend a memorial service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on Wednesday.
New York Stock Exchange moment of silence
The New York Stock exchange also held a moment of silence Friday morning to remember the victims of the attack.
Bagpipe memorial song
Bagpipers from the New York City fire department and The Red Hot Chili Pipers, a Scottish bagpipe band, have come together to record a 9/11 tribute song called “The Fallen,” the New York Daily News reports. All proceeds from the song will go to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Family Support Trust and The FDNY Pipes and Drums.
9/11 Memorial Museum ‘Tribute in Light’
The 9/11 memorial will once again run its “Tribute in Light,” 88 searchlights that shine as a representation of the Twin Towers, NY1 reports. The tribute has gone up every year since 2002.
Ground Zero memorial
Mourners gathered at Ground Zero for an annual ceremony remembering the victims from the attack. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were in attendance.
President Barack Obama joined Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford to commemorate the victims during a ceremony at the Pentagon on Sunday morning. Obama addressed the nation Saturday in a video released by the White House.
Flight 93 National Memorial ceremony
Mourners observed a moment of silence and then the ringing of the Bells of Remembrance at the in Pennsylvania, to remember the hijacked Flight 93 that crashed outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, away from its intended target after those aboard the plane diverted the plane.
Remembering 9/11 in a Woke Year
The 19th anniversary of 9/11 has been the nation’s darkest in this dreaded cycle.
The Black Lives Matter riots that attacked the statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, and Abraham Lincoln, did not spare 9/11 memorials.
The statue of a police officer was beheaded and toppled in Plymouth, MA at a 9/11 memorial honoring those who had died in the attacks. But the 2,000 pound steel beam from the World Trade Center proved beyond the ability of the vandals to topple.
When Black Lives Matter racists defaced statues and memorials in the Boston Common, including the ‘Glory’ regiment, they didn’t spare the 9/11 memorial in the Public Garden.
A 9/11 memorial honoring five fallen firefighters was defaced and the American flagpole was cut down in Washingtonville, NY,.There was also vandalism at the Decatur, IL memorial site, and a red, white and blue rearing horse 9/11 memorial in Rochester, NY was smeared with red paint.
Beyond the radical attacks on the monuments of September 11 were the attacks on its heroes.
The NYPD has suffered its worst days since 9/11 with over 400 officers injured in the BLM riots. Police and firefighters went from the heroes of a nation to being smeared as soulless monsters.
“I could see no difference between the officer who killed and the police who died, or the firefighters who died,” Ta-Nehisi Coates, an intellectual godfather of Black Lives Matter, wrote, “They were not human to me. Black, white, or whatever, they were the menaces of nature they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could — with no justification — shatter my body.”
“Between the World and Me”, the hateful tract in which Coates dehumanized the police officers and firefighters who had died trying to save people of all races and creeds, became a bestseller, was a Pulitzer finalist, and has repeatedly shown up on corporate anti-racism reading lists.
All of this makes commemorating September 11 into an awkward task that Democrats avoid.
The 9/11 Memorial & Museum tried to cancel the Tribute in Light, whose beams that fill the night sky are used to light the space of the fallen towers of the World Trade Center, and the reading of the names of the fallen dead by 9/11 family members. It took an outpouring of anger from family members and alternative events by Tunnel2Towers to get the museum to reverse course.
While the leadership of the mismanaged museum blamed the pandemic for their decision, local Democrats had long viewed the ceremonies as intolerant and out of touch with their agenda.
Last year, Nicholas Haros Jr., the son of a 9/11 victim, had blasted Rep. Ilhan Omar’s minimization of the attack on America at the reading of the names, while wearing a t-shirt decorated with her comments minimizing the Islamic atrocity, “I was attacked, your relatives and friends were attacked, our constitutional freedoms were attacked and our nation’s founding on Judeo-Christian principles were attacked. That’s what some people did.”
Meanwhile, the Tribute in Light had been decried as a symbol of “extreme nationalism”.
There had always been a deep discomfort with the patriotism of September 11 and with its heroes and victims, the former were mostly working class white men from the bridge and tunnel crowd, and the latter were mostly white middle class men and women, many from outside the city and state, who were also insufficiently diverse and representative of the “New America”.
Even early on there had been efforts to replace the firefighters raising the flag at Ground Zero with a more diverse group in an official memorial. In the long years after the men of the NYPD and the FDNY had raised up the courage of a nation, both organizations, like the military, have been gutted by political correctness, and have turned into shadows of their former selves.
The FDNY has a diversity monitor who has cost the organization $23 million, and a top diversity official who was sued for excluding one of the firefighters who raised the flag at Ground Zero from a color guard ceremony.
Nicholas Garaufis, a Clinton judge, and Mayor Bill de Blasio imposed their vision of diversity on the FDNY to ensure that “the racial, ethnic and gender demographics of the department’s firefighters reflect that of the city’s population as a whole” along with the “full integration of a mixed-gender workforce.”
But the heroism of the FDNY and NYPD on September 11 came from the fact that its men did not reflect a random sampling of the city’s population. They were extraordinary men, heroes who went where no one else would dare, climbing 100 stories in the hope of saving someone.
If Islamic terrorists were to fly planes into the Freedom Tower today, there would be fewer members of the FDNY’s mixed-gender and fully diverse workforce who would climb 100 stories with 60 pounds of gear on their backs while a skyscraper was tottering and burning on all sides.
On 9/11, firefighters around the country will commemorate their heroism by climbing 110 stories.
That’s the traditional kind of heroism. It’s out of step with the millennial ethos of performative hysteria spread virally across social media which turns victimhood into celebrity. The men who lived and died on that day were not victims and they were not trying to get famous. They did their duty. But to many the concept of duty has become as alien as frock coats and top hats.
19 years after 9/11, men and women born after the attack will be able to vote.
The politics of the present are being formed by radicals who, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 11 years old at the time, were children on September 11. The meaning of the day is as incomprehensible to them and as distant as Pearl Harbor.
The Obama administration had tried to shift the meaning of September 11 away from heroism to volunteerism. Its idea of commemorating the attack on America was cleaning up parks. As time goes by, there will be no need to actively suppress the commemorations, they’ll be irrelevant.
History is made up not only of dry facts, but emotional connections. The stories that define us are the ones that matter because they endow life with meaning. For millions of Americans, the death of an ex-con who had robbed a pregnant woman at gunpoint gave their lives meaning. That’s why so much of the country is burning and so many of its memorials have fallen.
The Islamic terrorists who attacked us on September 11 had beliefs that gave their lives meaning. So did the SS soldiers who marched through Poland or their NKVD counterparts.
It is not the mere presence of evil that creates a crisis, but the absence of meaningful opposition to it. And meaningful opposition comes from a deep moral passion without which life is empty.
The 19 hijackers lied to the passengers that if they didn’t resist, they would be allowed to live.
Mohammed Atta told Flight 11 passengers, “Nobody move. Everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves, you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.”
It worked three times. And then when Americans realized what was at stake, it stopped working.
Atta and his band of Jihadist butchers understood that what normal Americans wanted was to be comfortable and safe. They wanted to recline back in their seats, plug in their headphones, and wait out the interminable passage of time they would spend flying in a tin can in the sky.
“Take prisoners and kill them. As Allah said: ‘No prophet should have prisoners until he has soaked the land with blood,’” Atta told his men.
“Just stay quiet, and you’ll be okay,” he lied to the infidel hostages.
The leftist radicals, who have been in league with Islamic terrorists, defending them in court, propagandizing for their “civil rights” in the press, and funding their networks, now call themselves, “woke”. Another September 11 anniversary reminds us that we need to wake up.
In our streets, the radicals chant, “Death to America”, they burn flags, desecrate churches and synagogues, and topple the statues of the nation’s founders. And their media allies and Democrat apparatchiks tell us to go along with it and we’ll be okay. The rioters and stabbers just want to issue their demands and make their point. If we stay quiet, they’ll leave us alone.
The 19th anniversary is another warning from the bloody echoes of history that they won’t.
When the Jihadis and BLMers chant, “Death to America”, believe that they mean it!
The enemies of our nation are also the foes of our history. They don’t just want to topple Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and every historical figure who wasn’t up to date with contemporary woke views on, in the words of a D.C. commission calling for the removal of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial, “age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity”. No, they want to be rid of the courage and heroism of our entire history because they know that the power of Americans to resist their brutality and hate comes from our history.
That includes September 11.
On a cool fall day, millions of Americans woke out of a hazy dream of the end of history and remembered that we were a nation, not a borderless global order, that we needed heroes, not diversity, that history wasn’t over, that we still had enemies, and that what mattered was not the color of your skin or your politically correct virtue signaling, but whether you would rush the cockpit or sit in your seat hoping that despite everything you knew, they wouldn’t kill you.
On the 19th anniversary of that cool fall day, we are passing through fire and havoc, flying over ruined cities and fallen rubble because too many of us had fallen asleep until the guttural voice came on again reading its hateful demands. And many of our fellow passengers kneeled while the anthem played, they disgraced their country, and the memory of our fallen dead.
Many others woke up. We know where the plane headed toward the right side of history flies. And we don’t intend to let it follow that familiar arc toward social justice and mass murder.
An anniversary only matters as much as it brings meaning and purpose into our lives.
No amount of wishing or willing can raise the dead of September 11 out of their ashen graves. All we can do this anniversary, and every one before it and since, is to keep resisting the terrorists, domestic and international, to stay awake and ready in the long flight of history.
We must remember our heroes and honor their valor because we may need to imitate it.