Friday, September 11, 2009

Bravery



Before 2001, the date 9/11 may have held the greatest value for the fact is was for some an anniversary, the start of a new job, the day of a wedding, a big rival football game, or perhaps the day someone's first child was born.

Now, and possibly forever, this date is scratched into the minds of so many people, not just here in the US, but far and wide abroad, as a day smothered by a blanket manufactured from raw emotion, travesty and heartbreak.

A close friend of mine in Atlanta went to school at NYU. He shared a letter from one of his classmates, written after that classmate escaped and survived the implosion of Tower II at the World Trade Center. In my entire life, I have read very few things that made me gasp, and weep, and ache the way this particular letter did. Even reading his words on paper, about climbing down a pitch black staircase surrounded by screaming and crying, I could not fathom the panic he must have felt both internally and externally during this jarring day, or for the many jarring days ahead.

One portion of his letter stood out to me as extremely telling, and it was the portion in which he wrote about seeing the long line of fire fighters and police officers going up that same staircase he was so desperate to descend. Those fire fighters and police officers were climbing up that staircase to lend a hand, save lives, perhaps instill a sense of peace.

A staircase that served as a vessel of freedom for some. And an introduction to death for others.

I don't know if I possess the volume of bravery needed to do what hundreds of people did that day. The bravery needed to go in those burning buildings and climb those staircases. The bravery that leads you to save someone's life at the cost of your own.

I hope I do.

And I also hope I never have to find out just how brave I can be. Bravery is easy to ponder when you have the luxury to think about it before it is actually needed.

And bravery wasn't limited to only the fire fighters and police officers, but also the thousands of others who came to the aid of all of those people broken by the events that took place on this particular September 11. This sorrowful event was shared around the world.
The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.
To everyone who held a hand, held their breath, held a candle, or held a heart on this day and the resonating days to come because of it, I give my respect to you for your bravery.

God Bless America.





73 comments:

Laoch of Chicago said...

Well said.

Matthew said...

9/11 and Hiroshima. Both changed the world, it seems.

Sensitively and touchingly addressed - nice work, JennyMac.

the walking man said...

The business is not finished yet. God bless them who are off trying to finish it.

Jules said...

Very well written! It's always a day to remember so many things. I have a hard time putting it into words and you did it so eloquently.

My name is PJ. said...

Very well written, JM. I would've benefitted from reading the NYU student's letter. Is there somewhere we can go and do that?

9/11...9-1-1...a defining moment in the lives of people world-wide. No one is safe any longer and no one shall remain untouched.

It's pouring rain in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states today and that perfectly befits this anniversary.

mbkatc230 said...

Beautiful, heartfelt post. The picture that remains in my mind most clearly from that day is the stream of people leaving NYC, and the stream of firefighters and police officers running into the carnage. Thank you for this. Kathy

Vodka Logic said...

Great post JennyMac. A day that changed history and thoughts forever.

xx

Simone said...

Beautifully written Jenny.

It is impossible to forget the events on that horrendous day....many British people also died that day and I know we stand absolutely united with America in our grief and horror that such a thing could ever have happened.

God Bless America indeed.

Christina Lee said...

great post- can you believe it's been 8 years?

LifestyleBohemia said...

As we go into work today, let's remember those that did the same 8 years ago but did not return home.

otherworldlyone said...

Remember.

Good post.

Shorty said...

You've said it all so eloquently. Thank you. I hope you don't mind that I link to your post today.

Laura Trevey said...

Well said.... what a day to remember

AmyK said...

Well done Jenny. Anytime of any day, you never know. God Bless them.

Badass Geek said...

Very, very well said.

darsden said...

Amen God Bless America!! Beautifully said tribute!

Queenie Jeannie said...

Thank you for this beautiful tribute!! I lost a friend from High School in Tower 1.

And nearly three years with my husband because of deployments.

KLaw said...

Well said, thank you for posting this.

Dustjacket Attic said...

Hear hear, well said JM!

xxx

Jen said...

Nicely written. I don't think anyone knows what they would do until put in that situation. We all hope we can be brave when called upon.

ellen abbott said...

Yes, very tragic. You know what else is tragic? the thousands of people who die in this country every day from curable illnesses because they don't have, can't afford, health insurance. Our home grown terrorism.

Yankee Girl said...

This day is so heartbreaking. I have no words to convey the onslaught of emotions that this day brings.

What a beautifully written post.

Katiesperk said...

Cheers to that! All of it.

sas said...

I remember watching it happen from new zealand, just months before i moved to London. it was awful, terrifying.
A girl I have since becoem friends with lost her fiance in the bali bombings.
I went to ground zero a few years ago and paid my respects.
I stood on picadilly after 7/7 in defiance of the tube and bus bombs in my adopted home.
I have read widely: persoanl accounts and political tombs but I still don't understand terrorism.

The bravery of those men to try and save those who would mostly have been strangers, seems a pretty apt antidote.

Tam said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I wanted to thank you for this post. My husband is a Fire Chief, and this morning I watched him dress in his Class A uniform, preparing to attend a number of memorial events being held in our area today. The pride and sadness I felt this morning, as I do every year, was so eloquently reflected in your post. Thanks again...and I will definitely be back to read more!

HalfAsstic.com said...

Well said, Jennymac! Also, I just came from a blog, (Hiding from the Kids), in which the author was celebrating her 16th wedding anniversary. In spite of the date she has to be able to rejoice in her marriage! And she does.

Chief said...

Amen.

Mel said...

Very wise words!
-M

Gauche said...

thank you for the touching and truly wonderful post. Bravery is often times a thing we find when we put into a situation we'd rather not be in. For those heroic souls who perished that day, I can only stand in awe of.

They were in fact human beings, like you and I but who looked past their own mortality to do what they could to save the lives of those who were helpless and afraid. If there is a special place in Heaven for Heros, you can bet they are sitting there now.

God Bless America.

Heather said...

Very nice, and very true. God Bless.

foxy said...

Well said, JennyMac. And thank you for this.

I will never forget.

Jamie said...

Amen.

Intense Guy said...

The sad thing is - it WILL be forgotten... just as Pearl Harbor was - and we WILL become complacent and let our guard drop again (and again).

The root of the problem isn't "taking out Bin Laden" - its finding an answer to the age old HUMAN problems of greed versus hunger.

That said, the bravery and nobility of mankind shone as brightly as its cruelty and savageness that day, 9/11/2001.

confused homemaker said...

Excellent post.

I will not forget. I do not forget. I cannot forget.

Kristina P. said...

This was a lovely tribute, Jenny.

sheila said...

Very nice tribute! Still sad 8 years later. :(

So many senseless deaths that day. So many.

Life, Love And Lola said...

Excellent post!!!!

Pricilla said...

My husband is fire chief in our town. Scares the heck out me every time there is a fire. Especially during fire season out here. I don't get it either but it is just in his blood.

I think you find your bravery when you need it the most.

New England Girl said...

So well written. My heart still aches for that day and all of those who were torn apart by the events. My father is a retired fireman here in MA and I remember him and some of the other men heading down in a team the day after to help with recovery efforts. His profession always scared me. I remember very clearly having a conversation with a friend of mine, a friend who's father is a high profiled businessman who makes millions. Jokingly, I said it must be nice to have a millionaire as a father. And he, in the most serious of tones, replied, "it must be nice to have a hero as a father." That has stuck with me to this day. Bravery is a beautiful, selfless thing and I am always in awe of those who display it so frequently and without any thought to it.

Lisa and Laura said...

It's amazing that we live and work amongst heroes like this. I have no idea if I have it in me or not, but I hope I never have to find out.

Thinking of all the men and women and their friends and family who were part of this tragedy.

B.o.B. said...

Great post. I hope we never forget.

Transparent Mama said...

As always, beautifully written. So true that pondering bravery is so very different from acting on it. Thanks Jenny!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I will never wake up on this day without thinking about what happened.

The emotions are still so real and so raw.

Too Many Hats said...

How true your words are. This is something that will forever be in my memory and that is tied into so much emotion it seems like yesterday.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Thank you for expressing this. It's not that I had forgotten, it's just difficult to revisit over in my mind. But, you expressed it very well.

controlled chaos said...

That was a great post. It really was.
Thank you.

Mommy Mac said...

I like the part about that you said about the anticipation of your bravery and the perks that one gets having the time to think about how brave would take shape in their life.

I think bravery is confidence and chaos all wrapped in one.

It is clarity and confusion.

Bravery is where your heart takes over your head and your hope steps overbounds into action.

Humbled and heartbroken I am for this day 8 years ago.

God bless.

.mac :)

Eric said...

Nice post.

yorksnbeans said...

beautifully said!

Grand Pooba said...

Wow, very powerful Jenny Mac. It's true what you say about bravery. I liked to think I would have bravery in such a situation but I do not ever want to have to find out.

Mira is triplet crown said...

You're a mom, you're brave every day. YOu will find bravery in yourself in times of crisis that would amaze you today. Thanks for sharing.

Eve said...

Made my throat clench a bit there JennyMac. Beautifully said and now you've made me homesick!

I've always been proud to be from the United States of America, and I always will be.

Cocaine Princess said...

Well written.

Pollyanna said...

Well put.

One Sassy Girl said...

Wonderful post, JM. Can you believe I read a post by some idiot who made fun of 9/11? Instantly deleted from my reader. I can't imagine any amount of time can pass that would make a tragedy be acceptable fodder for humor. Luckily, we have classy bloggers like you to pay a proper tribute and maintain decorum. Well done.

(p.s. tried to post this twice so feel free to delete one if multiples come thru)

Ali said...

Amen.

Luna said...

great post. well said and well written.

Constructive Attitude said...

Great post. It gave me shivers.

And you're right about the bravery aspect:Bravery is easy to ponder when you have the luxury to think about it before it is actually needed.

Thank you for posting this

Leah Rubin said...

You are so right about the bravery and courage shown on that day. I posted about one of the victims of Tower II, as part of the Project 2,996 Initiative. It assigned me the name of Lisa B. Cannava to memorialize on this day. I was honored to do it...

I wish I had thought to run a photo of a flag with it... Good job, as always.

Slamdunk said...

Well said--it is important that we do not forget the past as well as using it to challenge us now.

Orange Juice said...

You are such an amazing writer.
I know I say this almost every time but seriously I think it EVERY TIME I read your blog (as in every post).

I hope I never have to find out how brave I can be either.

blueviolet said...

What a beautiful way of looking back at and looking forward from that unbelievable day in our history.

Shop Girl* said...

Amen.

I'd give anything to read that paper!

Karyn Bernard (French Charming) said...

Thank you for sharing this, it is the bravery from many that stands out in my mind as well.

It's been eight years now and still it seems so unreal to me. Last night I watched 102 minutes that changed he world. It complies a series of video tapes of the events of that day.

One of the videos was from a couple that lived near the Trade Center and they were taping the first tower when the second was hit. The horror that was captured my their screams of disbelief and confusion of what was happening shook me to my core, it is exactly what I felt and know so many others were feeling.

God Bless those who lost their lives that day and their family and loved ones that were left behind.

M-Cat said...

Fantastic post. Love your line about bravery is easy to ponder while you have the luxury to think about it before you actually have to use it. Well said, gal!

tammy said...

Great post.

PinkBow said...

it's so good how the memory of this is being kept alive all over the world.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Beautiful post.

Hyphen Mama said...

God Bless America.

This was a beautiful post.

Creepy said...

nicely put.

i had no words yesterday.

annechovie said...

Great post, Jenny. Very thoughtfully composed. Thank you and have a great weekend!

Busy Bee Suz said...

gosh, this is downright sad and beautiful at the same time.
thank you for sharing.
suz

Amanda said...

Beautifully written Jenny Mac. As someone wise said about all the firemen & police, God was coming up the stairwell that day.
Thanks for putting things so eloquently once again.