One of my american cousins has changed his Facebook status to this today:
“Glory is not a conceit. It is not a decoration for valor. Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you in return.”…………Dedicated to the three hundred and forty three New York City Firemen who died on september 11,2001. Thankyou, I DO NOT FORGIVE AND WILL NEVER FORGET”
The last line I find kind of chilling, particularly the ‘I DO NOT FORGIVE’. He is a member of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) as is another cousin but although both joined after 9/11, the sense of community and togetherness and unity that the event itself instilled in the services means that they feel as much a part of it as those who experienced it directly. And how could they miss it really with memorials adorning the walls of the stations inside and out.
Hells Kitchen - Ladder 21 & Engine 34
The memorial between the two doors is a series of seven plaques, one for each firefighter from that station lost in 9/11, the cross is made from parts of things found at Ground Zero.
For the eagle-eyed ones among you, I posted the below as a comment on a 9/11 blog post elsewhere this time last year-before I had my own blog. I’ve edited it a little. I thought it might be of interest today to the few of you who frequent here 🙂
I seem to remember that news started to filter through to the office I worked in around 2pm after people went back to their desks and did their ritual post-lunch checking of SkyNews etc. before settling back down to work. Normal worked carried on but with a growing sense of unease in the office that something huge and terrible was happening outside in the ‘real world’.
I remember a panicked phonecall from my mother asking if I’d heard from two cousins I kept in touch with, her brother’s sons, American born and bred, who both worked in Manhattan at the time. Frantic emails were sent as all phone lines to New York, even up-state where their parents lived, seemed to be cut off. Eventually I got a quick email from one of them stating that all was ok, everyone safe as far as they knew, their family unit was still in one piece. His brother had the misfortune to watch out his office window as the second plane slammed into the second tower down the block from where he worked. I still have the emails from that day printed out somewhere, I must re-read them**.
Later though, more was to unfold. Another of my mother’s brothers, the eldest, made a plea bargain with God that day. If only his eldest son, who was to travel to Manhattan for work that day, hadn’t been hurt or worse, he would do anything. Anything for the peace of mind that one of those falling bodies wasn’t his. His wish was granted and he has kept his word, he has never touched alcohol since. This from a man who thoroughly enjoyed a few beers. The whole thing changed him a lot, I can see it even the few times a year that I see him.
Later still, a son of close friends of the family in New York became a victim of 9/11. He was a carpenter working for the state of New York and drafted into Ground Zero as were thousands of other workers in addition to the emergency services for the clean-up operation. As with many others, he was later diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. After a long, painful and brave battle including a period of remission, he succumbed to the illness and died two years ago leaving a devastated wife and three young children behind. The State of New York have yet to pay any of his medical bills or a pension to his widow. His sister is fighting the cause. Incidentally it has been in the paper recently (2008), both here & in the US, you can read a bit here.
**I’ve actually been to the attic and dug out those emails, here’s the most appropriate one I think, it really conveys the feelings of those there at the time, the panic, the rumours, the sense of fear.
Click on the image for a larger version.
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