Reflections on a 9/11 birthday
First, let me wish a very happy birthday to friends and colleagues who were born today, September 11. In particular, I extend best regards to the Hon. Frank Rynd, presiding judge of the 309th Judicial District Family Court, and Jeremy Gordon, Asst. District Attorney. May your birthdays be filled with special joy.
Having today as my birthday is truly bittersweet since the attacks on
We were stung that day, as a people, as a nation. The conceit of invincibility was shattered in a way not even domestic terrorism like
I believe it struck us even more so. This occurred here on the mainland, in a country that proudly proclaims its status as the greatest nation on the planet, by a foreign enemy we, in part, helped to create. We were attacked not on the field of battle, and not as part of an invasion. We were attacked for our prosperity and diversity. Many times people have claimed that it is their way of life under attack. This is the first instance I can recall where this was indeed the stated goal of our enemy.
Our government officials acted quickly, and decisively. We went to war in
We rediscovered our patriotism and a sense of national pride that had been waning in recent years. You will hear Lee Greenwood all day today. In many respects, we have renewed our belief in this way of life. Throughout the country, today we celebrate Patriot Day, a time to reflect on the people who serve on the front lines here at home.
For me, the pain of that day has not subsided. I lost friends, dear friends, that day. People I attended college with. People I love, respect, and admire. 341 firefighters died when the
For those who don't know, I am a volunteer fireman. Even more so than other first responders, firemen share a special bond that is thicker than blood. My brothers and sisters in FDNY seem almost forgotten. I will not engage in debate as to why conspiracy sycophant Oliver Stone chose to tell the stories of Port Authority cops and not firemen. For some reason, the firefighters have been an afterthought in this discussion, barely rating a passing mention today in the media. These brave souls have been cast aside.
Or so I thought. This morning, I was part of a group of firefighters who attended Patriot Day activities at
I have not been able to go to NYC since that day. I am angry with myself for having not gone and paid my respects. My lips quiver, eyes fill with tears and hands shake when I think of my own failings in this regard, and in the realization that my reaction will be the same if I ever do make it to Ground Zero. But today perhaps has affirmed my resolve to pay proper respects.
So, rather than focus on the wrongs and missteps we have committed or avoided in the wake of the attacks, I ask that you give me the birthday present of taking a moment and thinking of the folks on the end of that 911 call. Say a prayer for those lost and those still engaged. There will be time enough tomorrow to argue over the rest.
I leave you with this clip, David Letterman's monologue after the attacks. It is one of the few clips Worldwide Pants has not insisted being taken down, and he says better than I ever will: