Twenty years on and the horror is still fresh. The confusion, the shock and the disbelief. The numb days, the solemn weeks, then endless months of pain after soot and ash rained down from breathtaking blue skies.
Twenty years on and we will never forget the true NYC heroes of the FDNY, NYPD, the Port Authority and ordinary, everyday people who came to work as they always did, and realized in seconds life was ending. We remember those who refused to leave fallen comrades and civilians behind, co-workers who stayed with handicapped friends and strangers and a band of random passengers on a jet who figured out their unimaginable destiny and fought back. We remember the workers who breathed toxic fumes trying to rescue, then recover, then rebuild only to fall victim to the horror of a 911 cancer five, ten, or twenty years later.
Twenty years on and there is no end to the sadness wrought by these cowardly acts of violence. New Yorkers still mourn but we endure. We reimagined and reinvented then rebuilt downtown Manhattan.
When the analysis runs dry and reason argues fruitlessly with fury and revenge, I remember the words of Brian Sweeney spoken to his wife from the doomed United Flight 175 and I resolve every day to live up to those perfect words.
“I want you to know I absolutely love you. I want you to do good and have good times. I want you to know I totally love you.”
In the end what’s left is love.
Do good and have good times.