There is much going through my mind as we approach this weekend. Whether it is still the challenges of facing life or remaining steadfast I have to look at those whose lives were changed over 10 years ago. I am sure the healing continues, the hope needed must be renewed, and life goes on.
On that fateful day I was getting ready for my statistics test, and in Silicon Valley, CA, USA the world was just waking up to the knowledge that something was wrong on the east coast. Watching the news, I heard about the 1st plane, and bleary eyed wondered if what I had heard on the radio was a dream. It was no dream, but a nightmare tragedy.
I turned on the news just in time to see the 2nd plane hit the World Trade Center. In a moment it was clear as CA became frighteningly aware that our nation was under attack along with the rest of the nation.
That morning on my way to school the Pentagon was also hit, and I proceeded into class not really wanting to take the test, our teacher made us take it anyways. We finished it, I got a C, but it didn't matter, around us chaos had taken us, and it was later announced over West Valley College's intercom in the days following that Nicole Miller, & Mark Bingham both alumni of our school had been killed in Shanksville, PA, on Flight 93. It was aboard that flight, as passengers learned of the devastation that they came up with a plan to storm the cockpit to try to win the flight back. A heroic call to action as Todd Beamer exclaimed - "Are you guys ready, Let's Roll!" It can be surmised that these folks went into their final moments of life with full resolve, they knew they might not come out alive, but they were not going down without a fight.
As the days wore on, and as we learned the buildings collapsed and sorrow and flame marred lives forever, there was in the midst of these challenges a spirit of hope that emerged in the wake of sadness. We may look at tragedy with a great deal of sadness, but yet sometimes it brings out the best in individuals and humanity rises to the occassion. It was on 9/12 - the world laid wreathes, flowers, and other signals of hope on American Embassies, spoken treatise of good will from Muslim countries and other nations came forward, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Christian, men, women, of all races joined together to give blood. In a 9/12 world we learned that the world could unite to look at common hope, build humanitarian brotherhood, and look past borders, creeds, race, whatever, to find common purpose.
The hope of Flight 93, was echoed in the coming weeks, they may have very well saved the Capitol Building, or the White House, can you imagine if that had occurred? The aftermatch could have been more devastating. We witnessed in the carnage Fire Fighters and Policemen rushing into burning buildings, with the first thought to save whom they could. And through their efforts and sacrifice countless lives were saved. We witnessed heroes on the ground in the Pentagon help others out of ash and ruin. There is the story of a young 24 year old rushing to save co-workers in the twin towers only to lose his life, or the policeman who survived after being under rubble for a month. There have been some great historical documentaries produced by both the history channel and National Geographic. In watching them I learned of others who survived, the blind man led by his dog outside after being near the top of the 1st World Trade Center, or the individuals who after witnessing the 2nd plane hit them, and then seeing a wing 20 feet away from his desk, as another man came to his aid and both walked away together. One can also remember scores of New Yorkers bonding together in the days and weeks afterwards as they did what they could to build each other's hopes.
I look at 10 years later and though the world is still full of chaos, human spirit and hope still beckon to us to overcome economic days of challenge. The lesson is clear from those who have gone before us, we must make life count, if you could look at your life and you knew you had 90 minutes to live, how would you approach those 90 minutes. In so many words we must live as they lived. We must find hope out of tragedy and do what we can to ensure peace is fostered in communities. The greatest lesson is mankind must serve one another, in the staffing community this is a call for action, a call to help the under-employed and the un-employed. Stand firm in conviction in any undertaking, let not challenge or the cares of our modern day world keep you from goals, or living a life full of purpose.
Today, more than ever as I return to a place where a memorial now stands on West Valley College's campus for Nicole Miller, and Mark Bingham, every year I go and pay my respects with a prayer and a rose, or a flag where I place on that memorial in a flower garden. 10 years ago the flowers were barely planted, the memorial was built 11 days after their passing, and we still remember those of us who are also alumni what occured on that day. I will return again and pay my respects. I know that life goes on, but yet heroism, can always be a rallying cry. If we can live as Todd Beamer's words declare - "Let's Roll" can be a life long mantra that will continue to inspire for years to come. I am confident that history will recall heroism crying above and beyond the tragedy. Terrorists may have struck us in tragic fashion yet the hope rising from the ashes and echoing to us all to live life a little better - "Let's Roll" took on new meaning for all of us on September 12, 2001. 10 years later it's a time for reflection and peace, but also a time to recall countless acts of heroism and thoughtfulness for fellow countrymen - indeed for a brief time our world seemed without borders, and individuals rose to the challenges. We can still do so today. That is my hope.