Monday, May 9, 2011

Standing Tall In the Shadows Of A New York Tragedy That United The World: September 11, 2001 (1a)

By Miriam B. Medina

It has been almost a decade now and there's much to remember when it comes to the tragedy that befell New York, The United States and the world at the hands of Islamic terrorists on September 11th, 2001. The catastrophe itself was a real horror for those killed and injured as well as for the family of those attacked in New York City, in planes, in the air, and at the mighty Pentagon. Those people should not ever be forgotten. Pain fades but it creates scars and scars never disappear, but for those who survive, it takes plenty of help to move forward. In light of the apparent death of Osama Bin Laden, there is some closure in regards to the actual crime that was committed against humanity that day, but from every great tragedy, there comes stories of extraordinary heroism, bravery, hope and humanity. September 11th was no exception. A decade later I want to remember the good that came from the aftermath of this tragedy, the help, solidarity and compassion shared by New Yorkers and the rest of the United States in the face of such a tremendous man-made catastrophe.

Most people know the heart breaking details of what happened on 9/11. On a cool, crisp autumn morning, a handful of terrorists kidnapped several commercial jetliners. One crashed on its way to Washington D.C., killing all aboard, including a few brave passengers who tried to take the plane back from the terrorists. The plane plunged into the ground, thus saving hundreds or perhaps thousands more lives than if the aircraft had reached its destination. Two more planes flew into the World Trade Center, toppling and forever destroying the wondrous man-made towers. Many that were inside, simply going through a seemingly normal day at work, died in their attempt to escape the destruction or in their efforts to save people from the catastrophe. A third plane plunged into the Pentagon, killing many more people working to protect American lives and interests.

When all was said and done, 2819 people died in that tragedy. Over 400 firefighters, policemen, paramedics and civil servants died saving many people, and trying to save many more. We have been at war with terrorism ever since. This was an unabated attack on innocent civilian lives, affecting many more than those killed or wounded in the attack itself. It also affected many more than just New Yorkers. Over 100 different nationalities lost citizens in the attack. The Twin Towers were more than just a few extremely tall buildings. The World Trade Center complex was a beacon illuminating hope in the city from 1973 to that fateful day in 2001. The designs were finalized in 1964 for the 7 building project with the Twin Towers to be the heart of the finished complex. Construction began on August 5th of 1966. The completed towers were 1368 and 1362 feet tall respectively, 110 stories in height, once and the tallest buildings in existence. They housed approximately 50,000 employees and saw 20,000 visitors per day. People came to see the grandeur of New York. The towers were part of the financial hub of the country and the world. To many around the planet they were a symbol of freedom. Many people from many nations went there to build a better existence for themselves, as well as for their families and their communities.

That is America in a nutshell, opportunity and hope, where anyone can come and enjoy the freedom. We are a nation built of immigrants, and New York is the epicenter of the melting pot. This was no more evident than when such a large number of people from so many nations died along with thousands of New Yorkers in those buildings, and when the intrepid New York public workers, firefighters and policemen went into that building facing death or injury, they went to save anyone that they possibly could, not just New Yorkers. People from around the nation streamed to New York in the days that followed, making extensive attempts in whatever way possible to offer their help, as well as searching for survivors and victims. America always has unified in times of crisis, even if we squabble when there is no crisis. However, that's the beauty of America. We argue and fight to find the best way for all, so we can each enjoy our own freedoms without hurting others, and if need be when push comes to shove, we will even help each other out. America often gets a bum rap, as do New Yorkers. We are often labeled burly, loud, grumpy, and so forth, but September 11th perhaps more than any other tragedy exposed the true heart and character of Americans and New Yorkers. The love and sympathy and unity that grew from that tragedy showed who we are.

New Yorkers, in spite of their many differences, attitudes, and famous lack of patience, have always managed to come through for each other and the world. Believe it or not, New Yorkers are one giant family of dedicated citizens that help each other out in times of sorrow and need. We always have. Although New Yorkers are accustomed to social, political and economic upheavals, crime, overcrowding, deterioration of neighborhoods, intolerable housing, outrageous rents and high taxes, they accept the turbulence that is associated with daily life as a normal and inevitable way of life. However, it still doesn't stop them from being aggravated with these issues and complaining about them, as well. There are a few rotten apples in the Big Apple too, but then there are rotten apples and chronic complainers everywhere.

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