Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Silent Room

   I remember exactly where I was September 11, 2001. I remember the shock at hearing the man on patrol squelch over the loudspeaker to turn to the news. I remember my brain slowly processing what I was watching...a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center North Tower, and as the reporters began to speculate about the possibility of it being deliberate, another plane hit the South Tower. I watched I remember being in a room full of the bravest men I that are always willing to give all they have to help another, knowing they can be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice...being hushed and humbled by the realization of 9/11.

   The kitchen table at a firehouse has almost every profession present. There are “firehouse” lawyers, doctors, coaches, accountants, mechanics...and politicians. Like all of America, the political views at the firehouse table are as varied as snowflakes from the sky...and not one of them came up on 9/11. When the South Tower fell, the silence that ripped through the room didn’t spark a single debate. At that time, we weren’t Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, or anything else but a room full of shock.

   We quickly, however, became men that wanted to do something...that wanted to help because we knew well that there were thousands in need of it. I remember the feeling that the same could happen here in Boston and the sinking feeling that crept through me when we found out that both planes had come from Boston. The fall of the North Tower, the attack on the Pentagon, and the crash in Pennsylvania only cemented the fact that everything had permanently changed and the world my children are growing up in would never mirror the world I did.

   Thousands of good people died that day. People who are innocent within the complexities of whatever events led to those horrible incidents. Of all the many arguments and polarizing positions that are taken when discussing 9/11...that is an indisputable and tragic fact. I remember many things from that day ten years ago, and every year I remember this fact most, for the memory of those people and their families. The victims of 9/11 should be honored and their families consoled. Losing a loved one is never easy and made all the more difficult when the circumstances of which is, arguably, the most defining moment in our nation’s history.

   Some would use this day as a soapbox for offering their particular beliefs about the how and why of ten years ago. I say it should have been offered yesterday...and can be offered tomorrow, but today, the only offering should be compassion for those fellow Americans personally touched by the spectre of grief and loss. 

   There are generally two types of people that take a position on this subject...those that believe and trust their government...and those that don't. Neither position eradicates anyone's love of their country and empathy for their fellow compatriots. Neither position matters on this day in particular, because it isn’t about theories, politics, or’s about remembering those we lost.

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