As I sit to contemplate a topic of discussion today , the date of September 11th, 2001 rolls through my mind. Fourteen years ago today America was attacked in brutal cruelty with a devastatingly horrific outcome. Almost 3000 innocent lives were lost ranging in age from two through eighty-five. What a terrible tragedy.
However, rather focus on the negative emotions which boil up inside whenever I watch the footage or see the pictures, I want to talk about how our nation banded together in love.
Over 400 volunteers immediately rushed to the scene after the planes crashed into the twin towers. Instead of keeping their distance in fear of their own safety, they went into the buildings in hopes of helping someone escape. They could have stood by and watched, but they didn’t.
When the towers fell, 1,500 additional firemen, search and rescue teams, iron workers, engineers, heavy equipment operators and other workers made an appearance to help search for survivors, steady the piles of debris and begin cleanup. They used bucket brigades to carefully remove rubble a little at a time to avoid additional shifting and collapse and many of them wrote their names and phone numbers on their forearms in case they fell into the hole or were crushed – it was extremely dangerous work.
While the work continued at ground zero, roughly 36,000 units of blood were donated to the New York Blood Center, about 1.4 billion dollars were collected by 9/11 charities, American flags were raised in support, songs were written as tributes and all across the world people showed a bit more kindness to their neighbors.
As of May 2002, 1.8 million tons of debris had been removed in 108,000 truck loads over 3.1 million hours – hours those workers could have spent doing something more enjoyable. Many of them developed health related issues as a result of the chemicals they inhaled during the cleanup – some died due to those health issues.
The Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York is still working to positively identify remains, March 19th, 2015 being the most recent.
Why do I talk about all of this?
First, to remember those who lost their lives, showed compassion, donated their time or resources and gave up their health to aid their fellow man. Second, to illustrate that even a terrible tragedy can bring out the best in people.
Remember to love one another, use kind words, look for the best in others, appreciate every moment you have and everyone in it, and don’t take anything for granted. Be grateful for this life you’ve been given and share your talents, abilities and resources with those in need. Lend a hand whenever you can. The world needs you.