Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

There are so many things that I remember from 11 years ago.

I remember what I was wearing (hot pink roll neck top, black cargo skirt, black sandals).

I remember what a beautiful day it was. I remember walking to the subway and wishing I didn’t have to go to work that day.

I remember what I was doing at 8:46 AM.

I remember who told me what happened and where I was at that moment.

I remember yelling at my co-workers to turn on a radio in English (many of the people I worked with were immigrants and listed to the radio in Spanish or Chinese).

I remember not believing it.

I remember going to the roof of the building I worked in and being able to see the impact zones over 2 miles away.

I remember thinking “How are they going to fix those buildings?”

I remember where I was when the first tower collapsed.

I remember sitting down on the floor and crying at that point.

I remember going to my co-worker’s apartment, who lived on the Upper West Side, and seeing Black Hawks fly down the Hudson River with their massive guns drawn.

I remember calling my mom and asking over and over again “How could this happen?”

I remember taking the subway back to Astoria and getting off at Queens Boro Plaza and looking back at downtown Manhattan and seeing for the first time live and seeing what everyone else had been watching on TV.

I remember being amazed that there were people who were rushing into those buildings to help, when the natural instinct was to run away.

I remember thinking “How could someone, anyone, be so evil that they did this?”

I remember how scared we all were.

I remember. And I will never forget.

Shortly after Sept. 11 the letter below was sent around the office I was working at. I think it sums up much of what I was feeling in those dark times and still rings true today. We have come so far in 11 years, but if we forget why we just relive the same tragedies over and over. So please…don’t ever forget.

As I don't have Osama bin Laden's email address please forward this letter to as many as folks as possible so that he may receive my heartfelt thanks!

Dear Osama:

Allow me to thank you for your recent visits to our country! I am a 49 year old male, 4th generation, well educated, prosperous and yes, a spoiled American. I have never really understood our nation's history nor the actions of the past generations. You see I grew up in a time period when we had our unpopular war in Vietnam and it wasn't cool to be a patriotic. Went through the space generation, the love generation, the me generation and the x-generation without any real appreciation for what went on before my time. I couldn't understand why men would rush to sign-up to defend our country in the World Wars. Nor could I even really appreciate why we had Veteran's Day or for that matter the Fourth of July. For my generation, it was merely a holiday which was a day off from work.

My hero's weren't fireman, policemen, soldiers, or politicians. They were sports figures, business tycoons, movies stars and the like. Why would anyone take one of those low paying, dangerous positions when you could have more money, more respect, and have a whole lot more fun as one of these others?

My view of the world was; USA against the rest of the world because nobody appreciated what we did for them. I was never concerned about the rest of the world or really cared for their well being...except to dole out money for food and medicine thru one of our relief programs (like the $171,000,000 we gave your countrymen last year). All I ever thought about was maybe a vacation to their corner of the world to experience their culture.

Your visit here has changed all that! So I want to tell you "Thanks"! I sincerely mean it too. You have no idea how your visit has changed all that. You see I realize now what my forefathers fought for and why they risked their lives. I understand what Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are all about. Upon seeing our Flag, my chest expands, our national anthem brings tears to my eyes. My fellow Americans are truly my brothers and I will defend them with all my might.

As you watch CNN (from our satellite) broadcasting our American family portrait, I am sure you have noticed a different pose. We are all one now. Racial barriers have been broken, religious barriers are gone, as we believe and trust in any and all religions that support a just and merciful Supreme Being. My heroes now are firemen, policemen, soldiers and yes, even our politicians. The outside world as I have known it has now embraced us. Taking us in during our time of need and given us the support we so desperately required. Our enemies of the past are not. So, you see, Osama, we OWE you. Thank you for realigning our perspectives and values like no one has done before. Your actions have created more good will than any one single act I have known in my lifetime. I know you didn't think this would be the outcome, but rest assured this is what you have created!! You made us understand a lesson we hope to never forget or take for granted again.

In closing it is a custom in our country to express our gratitude. So we and a few of our friends (the rest of the world) are going to stop by and deliver a message to you and yours. I hope it comes soon and swift but don't worry if you don't see us right away we won't forget...not now, not ever.

In Appreciation,