Remembering the heroism at 9/11 on the tragedy’s 13th anniversary

Children's drawings of 9/11;

Children’s drawings of 9/11;

By Ludy Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph.D.

When the ninth month of each year makes its appearance, it is incredulous to numbers who live on these shores that those terrorist attacks, tragedies of indescribable enormity, happened a decade and three years ago: September 11, 2001.

Yet, memories linger.

Indeed, it is inevitable to absorb what did happen since that fateful date.

Recollections and reflections continue to surface via remembrances: how heroism took place on that date that might belong to the past, but will never be forgotten, is one such reminder.

New Yorkers and those who will view a special memorial on September 11, this year, will have the first opportunity to see the everlasting remembrance set by the SAFER Fire Station.

They will see a Twin Towers replica set by the SAFER Fire Station that hosted the event earlier, Sunday, September 7th, one ‘especially for the fire department heroes by Green Bay Packaging.’

Reportedly, the replica lists the names of all their co-responders who gave up their lives as they scampered fearlessly to carry out their functions and responsibilities. They held close to the awareness of their mission: to save those in the throes of disaster energized via the instantaneous response they could muster, as they paid no mind to their lives.

An invitation has been extended to the public to pay their respects at the memorial all this week. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A Salvation Army staff member, Diana Nowak in Wausau, was heard on one of the recent news channels how she “helped serve recovery workers at Ground Zero after the attacks.”

“We don’t ever want to forget these folks, all those names; those folks are no longer here. It was a building, but people were in the building, people (were) around the building. The firefighters that lost their lives; you really can’t put that into words.”

The crucial role of Tom Burnettt, one passenger on Flight 93, who called all his able-bodied co-passengers to stop the terrorists who were at the flight controls, remains ‘the hero’ who took over, hailed as one of the first citizen-soldiers. Burnett, a young father, called on his fellow passengers to carry on their moment-inspired spontaneity to stop the plane from destroying the Department of National Defense. They did succeed.

As a result of their success in taking the terrorists out of the cockpit, the plane crashed and spared more government offices from turning into objects of unparalleled disastrous consequences and the tremendous loss of lives as well.

The list of 9/11 heroes is lengthy. But the list will not be forgotten.

One firefighter, Kenneth Zaveckas of New York City, was heard to say, “I still try to figure out what God was thinking and why I deserved to be spared twice that day.”

Father James Martin, S.J., culture editor of America magazine, shared his reflections on Ground Zero.

“I thought ‘what’s God like? God is like the firefighter who rushes into a burning building to save someone. That’s how much God loves us.”

The rest of the populace on these shores and afar, experienced 9/11’s horrendous disaster in various manners. But the common denominator remains: to be together for universal peace; to wipe out terrorism that has morphed into unspeakable loss of lives and still counting.

Numerous people sat the entire day in front of the broadcasts that zeroed in on the terror of terrors unheard of the way it arrived on the global scene. They joined in prayer for the repose of the ones whose lives were not spared.

Likewise, there were prayers via broadcast stations that asked all listeners to pray for peace for a long, long time even after the 9/11 debacle.

A New Yorker who saw Ground Zero unfold was heard to declare: “How in awe I was seeing the crowds along the New York streets, praying and saluting, as all did what they could to wheel the American flag-draped bodies to the makeshift shelters.”

Every man, woman and child who did see and read what had taken place on September 11, 2001, continue to say in unanimity: Let’s keep the faith that such a disaster that has shaken mankind will never go through an encore.

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