Common Sense: September 11, 2001

Few need to be reminded that this is the 14th anniversary of 9/11. It certainly is one of those days of which you will always recall where you were as you heard or saw the first plane hit the tower. And for us New Yorkers, in all too many cases, we remember where we were and who we were with when we first heard that a friend, family member, acquaintance or someone we knew had been lost.

For me, in a day of many incredibly shocking moments, I remember being in a car with then-City Councilmember Marty Golden heading to Lutheran Medical Center which was going to be a major treatment site for casualties (few arrived) and having him get off the phone with a city official, turn to me and say in a low, pensive voice that almost the entire senior command of the Fire Department had been killed. Just typing this today sends shivers up my spine.

Senator Golden will once again be holding two remembrance events on 9/11. At 6 p.m. at the flagpole at Marine Park and a 7:30 p.m. candlelight vigil at Veteran’s Memorial Pier (69th Street Pier). The solemn events have music, prayers and a few speeches.

The events have become an important part of our desire to honor those who perished by showing that we never forget. It also is a time for us to be among the families of those who died in a supportive manner. For them, 9/11 is a terrible day of pain.

The Veterans Memorial Pier looks out upon the World Trade Center site and was a location that hundreds flocked to on 9/11 to witness the unfolding devastation. It has a clear view of the towers of light that grace us at this time of year and is also the home of Brooklyn’s 9/11 Memorial.

There are many moving memorials to 9/11 throughout our community. One of the finest can be found at St. Ephrem’s (which lost a number of parishioners) along its 75th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway property line. The central piece of this memorial is a large metal sculpture of Christ holding the Twin Towers in his arms. Pictures of it can be seen in many retrospectives of how we remember. As wonderful as they are, they do not do it justice. One should see it in person. It is worth a visit and a moment of prayer.

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As I have in the past, I wish to republish a few words that appeared on a prayer type card that was widely distributed in our community in the two months following 9/11. It kind of summarizes the feelings at the time and brings you back.

“Our hearts are heavy with sorrow for the loss of so many lives due to the tragic events of 9/11, 2001.

“We will never forget the supreme dedication of our Fire, Police and Emergency Services professionals. Their courageous efforts saved countless lives. Heroes all, many made the ultimate sacrifice.

“We salute the efforts of our volunteers who selflessly gave their time and energy during the most harrowing hours our City has ever faced.

“Our spirits remains unbroken. Our strength renewed. United we will rebuild and move forward.”

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