Thursday, September 11, 2008

Have You Forgotten?



By Tony Vega



Seven years ago today, on September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists hijacked four passenger jetliners and murdered nearly three-thousand Americans, including visitors, on American soil.

The al-Qaeda terrorists illegally entered and remained in the United States after obtaining phony documents. These jihadists remained within American borders unchallenged and relatively undetected, until they accomplished their evil designs.

What they did not accomplish was destroying the American spirit.

In an act of war, terrorists in two separate jetliners intentionally slammed into the World Trade Center, another group of jihadists crashed a plane into the Pentagon. A fourth jetliner hijacked and on a deadly course to the White House or U.S. Capitol did not make the intended target. Heroic passengers began to seize control of that plane disallowing the terrorists of their evil desires. That flight ended in a field in Pennsylvania.

Prior to this act of war, America was slumbering and not paying attention to the grave criminality that was afoot. Well, the sleeping giant woke up and so did I. Millions of American’s became Patriots that day and rallied behind a sacred cause, the dogged pursuit of justice and the maintenance of Freedom.

As I responded to Ground Zero in my capacity as sergeant of police in the NYPD, I witnessed a side of humanity that makes my vow easy to keep, never to fall asleep again. It was a couple of days after the towers fell that I was on the rescue detail and bucket brigade. Shortly after that, the mission changed and we became the recovery detail. Today, twenty-four people remain missing.

We removed rubble and searched under precarious heaps of concrete and twisted steel, naturally formed by unnatural means. Conversation about the goal of our mission was limited, hope of recovery remained. I dare say even weeks into the mission hope of rescue remained. Hope, no matter how suppressed remained until the last responder ended his or her tour of duty.

From recovering bodies and undefined remains, from following swarms of flies to uncover their desired landing post before they did, to sipping from the bitter cloud that stained your throat and hurt your lungs, the reality of the task was banished to an after thought.

Reality exploded in snatches from otherwise innocuous discoveries. The tip of your boot bumping something soft in the rubble and a look down revealed a woman’s purse with the gloss of her families pictures glinting in the struggling sunlight, or spotting an officer sprinting to the make-shift morgue with hair from a recovered brush, in order to provide a DNA sample for closure.

I close my eyes and rewind those images with instant clarity and detect the acrid cloud that turned day into night. I open my eyes and still see those same images, for it is stenciled in the retina. The bone tainted soot will remain in my passages.

You see, my friends, I cannot forget nor do I want to. There are millions of Americans like me, regardless of where they were when those cowardly acts were perpetrated against our resolve. There are others however due to cynicism or blind ideology that will turn a blind eye to evil. Closing your eyes will not make the dark go away, trust me.

The casualty list created on 9/11/2001 did not end on 9/11. There are many of your neighbors still suffering and dying from that toxic cloud. Please, keep them in your prayers and memories.

Today is designated Patriot Day and Americans are implored to find those stored away flags and display them once again. Do you remember how proudly we hailed after that fateful day?

There are many holidays or days of recognition such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, just to name a few that inspires a common refrain; “we should give thanks everyday,” “we should honor and remember daily,” and more. Patriot Day should inspire the same cheer.

Patriotism is not a fleeting sentiment when the going is good or tough; it is a constant unwavering conviction. Patriotism and love of country will encourage and embolden the support and defense of our nation and way of life.

Honor our symbols of Freedom and Honor our Defenders of Freedom.

Never Forget.

2 comments:

DANNY P. said...

THANK U FOR REMINDING THE NATION OF THAT DAY. MOST OF THE NATION HAS ALREADY FORGOTTEN BUT NOT I. I ALSO WAS THERE TO EXPERIENCE THE HORROR. WE NEED TO CONTINUE OUR POLICIES ON FIGHTING TERRORISM.

AmericanAngle said...

Absolutely! And we must reject the rhetoric that discussing 9/11 is a "scare tactic."

Men like you Danny, know far to well the perils of falling asleep and turning a blind eye to our enemies.

Keep up the good fight, brother!

And remind those appeasers that life IS scary sometimes and you need courage and fortidude to face it.

If we close our eyes it doesn't make the dark go away.

Never Forget!