Today marks the 12the anniversary and it all feels so real and raw as if it happened yesterday.
3000 people lost their lives so innocently. Many died running into the building to save anybody and everybody while others died trying to run out.
Many images are forever ingrained into my mind, but the ones that stand out the most are the photos of the people of NYC covered in ash emerging from somewhere close to the chaos. There wasn't a look of panic on their faces or sadness or weariness, just a look of pure emptiness. A total state of shock. I wanted to wrap my arms around them and tell them that in a moment brought on by pure hatred, they were safe and loved. What broke my heart was I couldn't do that to the 3000 that lost their lives that day. I couldn't do that to the moms, dads, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, children, unborn children of those 3000 who perished.
In October of 2001, I had to fly East for work. I went as close as I could to Ground Zero. I walked along the perimeter of the chain link fence they had established around the site. I walked along the closed up shops and restaurants. Looking in the windows, the interiors were still covered in ash. Some windows displayed the piles of ash form that September day. I stood mesmerized by the wall of photos of loved ones lost that had been hung on a makeshift chain linked fence outside a Cathedral. People were still leaving messages and shoving them in the links. Others signed their names and words of comfort on posters of the flight crews. Flowers, American flags, teddy bears and candles were all on display. I had never been more proud to be an American standing among these strangers.
I am hoping no one will forget that awful day. I am hoping no one will ever want to forget the 3000 that died that day, the first responders who rushed inside to save lives, the flight crews on board all four flights, the passengers of those planes, "Let's Roll," the jumpers, Father Mychal Judge, the families of all 3000 victims, and that moment when you heard the news.
WE WILL NEVER FORGET