Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11

The 9/11 Memorial opens today to families and friends of those lost on 9/11, 2001:

Prominent in many pictures in the aftermath and cleanup after World Trade towers fell, was this Globe of the world (pictured above), damaged, yet in tact... It now sits in Battery Park as a memorial of 9/11. The Globe was left, as it survived, a symbol of the will of the American Spirit... I'm watching 9/11 10 year Anniversary and opening of the memorial in NYC... Memories of that somber morning flooding back as I pay tribute to our beloved Americans whose lives were severed with no warning or choice... Your memories continue to burn bright in loved one's hearts.

I personally did not lose a family member or friend. I am, as well as three-hundred-plus million Americans mourn the loss of or fellow brethren. The world as we knew it, changed. The one person I did worry about was my brother. In 2001, he was recently hired by United Airlines. He recently finished his training on the 777.  That was one of my first thoughts that raced through my mind, as I was standing in pajamas in front of the TV at 6:15 am “Oh my gosh… my brother  flies trans-continental… is he flying right now?”.  Irony upon ironies, shortly after 9/11, he was furloughed by United Airlines and now flies for Etihad (meaning, “united” in Arabic), an airline of the United Arab Emirates, and lives in Dhubai.

Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, my alarm goes off at 6am… The Sacramento sports radio station blares from the minute muffled speakers of my clock radio the news at the top of the morning; I faintly hear as I reach for the snooze bar that there were reports that a plane has hit one of the world trade center towers… I thought some beginner pilot in a Cessna got lost over the Hudson and ran in to the behemoth skyscraper. 10 minutes later, the alarm goes off again, and the next statement that came out of the radio was not muffled and jolted me from the comfy covers of my bed to run to the living room and turn the TV on. The words were, “ I think we need to find a TV, a second plane has hit the second tower in New York… there is no word if this is an attack or tragic accident, but ladies and gentlemen, in the last 15 minutes, two planes have crashed in to the World Trade Center buildings”. As the television picture appeared of the billowing black smoke from two of the most famous buildings in the Word, I was stunned… shocked… I felt so helpless and asked internally, “Oh my God… Oh my God… What is happening? We are being attacked!”. I went over to my roommate’s door and knocked loudly.  She was in school full time as well as working at the same place as I after school. I told her through the door, “Momo… I don’t think you’re going to have school today. I think we are being attacked”… A usual quiet and peaceful person who enjoys her beauty sleep was quickly up standing beside me in our Lodi apartment living room staring as well in disbelief of what she was witnessing.  That was the longest day… quietest day I’d experienced in my life. I was a person 3000 miles away in the Central Valley of California overwhelmed with sadness and grief. Imagine… I was one person, an American, walking around shocked, no way directly linked to any of the victims in NYC, Washington DC, or on Flight 93, I can’t come close to grasping or ever truly relate to the shock and despair being experienced by those living and surviving surrounding the sites of destruction.

Yet… In essence, I too mourn the loss of my fellow Americans. We all carry an unwavering outlook and perseverance.  We became US citizens because our ancestors immigrated to the land of opportunity, a country built upon the principles of building upon a legacy of giving the future a better life.  Even with our flaws, our growing pains (we aren’t even 300 years old, as a country), there is no place on earth like United States of America.  Not to be cliché, it’s just a matter of fact, no act or person will snuff our human spirit, or destroy our democracy.  You can destroy our buidings, you can burn our symbols of freedom, you can try and sabotage us with suicide and cowardly roadside bombs. We will get up; we will dust the debris off, clean up the mess, and go forward.  Although we debate or may have different avenues of reaching the same result, our core remains in tact and we share the same pursuits- protect and provide for our loved ones… help those less fortunate… strive for happiness… live in peace…

As our nation mourned in the days ensuing September 11, there was a question raised amongst the rescue workers, the NYPD and the FDNY among others on what would make them feel better, and the one reply echoed thousands of times over, “I can’t wait for Sunday, so I can just watch a football game”, “I look forward to watching some baseball, to help get my mind off the grief I see everyday”… Sports. Seeing athletes perform feats and play a game we all dreamed about playing ourselves was an escape and visual treat lifting our spirits when needed most.  It was truly fitting that New York Yankees made it to the World Series. I’ve heard my share about the frivolity of sports; with that, like our American spirit, I smile, shrug off the crass comments, and reply, “Well, if you understood what it means to be a professional athlete, you too would marvel”…

With that said, I bring a few of the touching stories of those lost on 9/11… many of them, were athletes or linked to sports in some way (You may want to grab some kleenex):

MLB’s tribute:

Len Berman “Mr. New York” on Sports- His memory:

Rick Reilly and tribute remembering Flight 93:

A young avid cyclist honoring her dad whom died on 9/11:

The man with the Red Bandana:

Finally, a Christina Taylor Green, born on 9/11/2001 who died last year during an attack of her Congresswoman, whom she went to meet and speak with in Arizona:

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful sentiment, so true about the important role of sports as a feel good pass time.