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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

9/11: Making it Personal*

Firefighters carry Father Michael Judge from the rubble.
Photo credit: Reuters.
*September 11, 2007 Johnstown Tribune-Democrat
as "On this day, remember life's fragility"

Copyright © 2007 by Ralph Couey

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. “

“Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It’s a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. It’s also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend–even a friend whose name it never knew. “
- President George W. Bush, December 11, 2001

These words spoken by President Bush will be echoed by many on this day. Six years ago, in the space of 2 hours, the world was changed; our nation was changed; we were changed. 9/11 has become a watershed event in history, defining two separate worlds – the one before, and the one after.

For the world, the memory of that day is a shocking visage of death and destruction unparalleled in modern human history. For Americans, the attacks were more than the sum total of damage and loss of life. Collectively, our myth of invincibility, our illusion of invulnerability, our delusion of safety was shattered.

But in the midst of the death and destruction of that day, a great light broke through. The darkness was dispelled, illuminating this nation from border to border and sea to sea. We, the people of the United States found our unity. For a few brief, precious moments in time, we stood shoulder to shoulder; arm in arm. We spoke with one voice. We felt with one heart. We proved to the rest of humanity, and to ourselves, that the phrase "United We Stand" is not mere words, but the singular defining element of what it truly means when we say "We Are Americans." And the world stood back in awe.

“Wisdom enters through the wound,” and in examining the harsh lessons learned, changes since have been made, and our ability to respond has improved. It is perhaps important to note that since September 11th, 2001, over 9,000 terror attacks have occurred worldwide.

But not one on American soil.