Monday, January 28, 2002

best of humanity

The following is an excerpt from Rudolph W. Giuliani's words about the September 11, 2001 attack on the USA.

"We have met the worst of humanity with the best of humanity."

On the morning of September 11, 2001, the United States of America awoke to find itself under attack.
In the City of New York, hijacked commercial airliners were crashed into the World Trade Center. Less than two hours later, both 110-story Twin Towers collapsed, killing some 5,000 innocent men, women and children. It was the deadliest day in American history, costing more lives than the attack on Pearl Harbor or D-Day.In the aftermath of this unimaginable tragedy, New Yorkers, and all Americans, have united as never before. Inspired by countless examples of courage and generosity, we have met the worst of humanity with the best of humanity. The darkest day in our long history has led to our finest hour.

I was having breakfast in midtown when I received word that the first plane had hit the northern tower. It was a clear blue-sky day, but some New Yorkers still held on to the hope that the crash could have been a terrible accident. When the second plane began its deadly descent into the southern tower, we knew that we were under attack.

I arrived at the western base of the World Trade Center to witness the most horrific scene of my life—the buildings were burning, shooting flames and black smoke toward the sky, while debris and human beings fell to the ground. The firefighters and police were already there and the rescue effort was under way. New York's Bravest and New York's Finest were doing what they always do—running toward danger. Among these were the most decorated men in the Fire Department, living legends such as First Deputy Commissioner Bill Feehan, Chief of the Department Pete Ganci, the Department Chaplain Father Mychal Judge, and the rising star of Manhattan's Rescue 1 Squad, Captain Terry Hatton. The best of the Bravest put themselves in the gravest danger. Like many thousands, they would never be seen alive again.

The magnitude of the horror is still hard to comprehend. Those proud Twin Towers that crowned our skyline for a quarter century no longer stand. Even more devastating is the loss of thousands of individuals who were killed in the attack. All were innocent. All were heroes.

Those who went to work in the World Trade Center on September 11 were engaged in the quiet heroism of supporting their families, pursuing their dreams and playing their own meaningful part in a diverse, dynamic and free society. We will never know many of the selfless acts of courage that occurred among them that day, but they will occupy a sacred place in our hearts and in our history. They will never be forgotten.

The brave men and women who entered the Twin Towers to save those inside are already recognized as heroes for the ages. Survivors of the attack speak of stairwells crowded with people determined to get downstairs to safety, while firefighters, police officers, and other emergency workers were going in the opposite direction—running upstairs toward danger, toward the heart of the fire, determined to save lives. Three hundred forty-three members of the New York City Fire Department lost their lives on September 11—a devastating blow to a Department that had lost 778 men since it was founded in 1865. Members of the New York City Police Department, the Port Authority Police, EMS workers and court officers also made great sacrifices amid startling acts of bravery. Not a single one of those heroes died in vain. Their courage, selflessness and professionalism saved more than 25,000 lives that day—making it the most successful rescue operation in our nation's history. These were true American patriots. They gave their lives in defense of our liberty.

Extravagant Spirits

Extravagant Spirits
Without their fierce devotion
We are fragile and forlorn,
Stumbling briefly, among the stars.
We and our futures belong to them
Exquisitely, our beliefs and our
Breaths are made tangible in their love.
By their extravagant spirits, they draw us
From the safe borders
And into the center of the center ring
There they urge dance upon our
Leaden feet
And to our sullen hearts,
Bright laughter.

Not the crowd's roar nor the gasped
Breath of the timorous can stay their mission.

There is no moderation in their nature.
They spit upon their fingers
To test the wind of history,
They slip into our bonds and steal us
Away from the slavery of cowardice.

They skin back their thin lips over fanged teeth and
Rocks in hand, in our presence
Face down our Goliath.

These mothers, fathers, pastors and priests,
These Rabbis, Imams and gurus,
Teach us by their valor and mold us with their courage.

Without their fierce devotion
We are only forlorn and only fragile
Stumbling briefly, among the stars.

non-politically-correct words

So I have to admit that things in this household have gotten a bit crazy to say the least. I think that our household is not unlike many other Americans. I find it incredibly ironic that, as I sit here writing this, I am sprung from my computer. A noise, although I'm not quite sure what the noise is. It's really loud, almost like there is a lawnmower going around my house. I jump out of my chair and fling open the front door. I step out onto our front porch coming to the realization that the noise is a plane, flying very low, bringing me to a dead halt. I think that my reactions are completely "normal" considering what we, as a nation have gone through. I find it reassuring to know that there are other people, who, like me, are on a heightened sense of security...And I'm not just talking about the security that Donald Rumsfield is asking us to be at, I feel more alert than what my country is asking me to be. I used to let planes come and go over my house without a second thought. Now it seems that I'm double-checking to make sure what I hear is actually a plane, not just some figment of my imagination. I have never noticed so many planes flying over my house on a regular daily basis. Now it seems as if I notice them more and more. I have to say that I have been very lucky not to have had to experienced the type of horror that terrorist attacks brought into our every day lives. What our country has suffered is more pain than I could ever face. It's funny how we can sit and preach and tell people not to promote hate crimes and try to be so politically correct. It's funny how we, as Americans cant remember our lives on September 10. We have been forever changed, grown stronger, gained a sense of American pride that was lost just a few weeks ago. I can never forget what we have been through. I can never explain why I am so proud to be an American. But I can think of it the way my grandparents tried to explain patriotism to me years ago. I tried to listen, but all I heard was a bunch of non-politically-correct words. Now I understand them.