As hard as it was to believe. The day after, the sun came up, the earth kept spinning.
Shock had turned to new depths of sorrow. The unbelievable, the unthinkable, the unimaginable had happened. Yet the world was moving forward. Time did not stop. It was doing what time does, despite all the years, all the moments, horrifying and gratifying, where we as humans have attempted to make time stand still, because we either can’t move, or never want it to end. In this case, it was the former. In this most devastating of human experiences, we barely knew what to do. An entire nation, a country, literally brought to its knees by evil like nothing we had ever witnessed before, yet a new day was upon us.
Rising from the ashes, in every sense of the word. The day after 9/11, was the day our country, our world, our American spirit, slowly uncovered our tear-ravaged eyes and started the journey back to life, or at least life as we always hope it can be. Redemption, renewal, rebirth. The same hope we bring to every new day of our lives.
On 9/11 hope was nearly lost, piled under layers and layers of rubble in two of our greatest cities and on a grassy field in Pennsylvania. Hope had been replaced by fear, bewilderment, helplessness, horror, sadness and near insanity, as our eyes tried to make sense of the pictures unfolding before them, our minds tried to process the details and our hearts tried to simply keep beating.
Heart, courage, compassion… the greatest of human attributes took hold, and together our collective hearts created a powerful force of love and of unity across this great country. You didn’t need to know your neighbor to know they were feeling what you were feeling, except now you wanted to know him, because we were all in this together. You wanted to share the experience, because you needed to know you were not alone. We had been beaten down, but we would be resilient. One nation, under G-d, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
We would rise again.
The dramatic search for survivors began at first light, donations started pouring in, help was coming from all over the world. Nearly 3,000 souls had been lost, but in its aftermath, millions more had been reborn. With determination and dedication we began more than a dozen years of rebuilding. Those efforts continue today.
The photo which graces this blog, appeared on the front page of The Record, September 12, 2001. That same picture, adorned now by a beautiful frame, hangs in my home office. It is the only picture, besides those of my family, I keep there. It faces my desk, close to where I can see it, and keep it close to my heart.
It reminds me to never forget. But starting on 9/12 it reminded me to never, ever give up.
G-d Bless America.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.