Thursday, September 11, 2014

Patriot Day: September 11, 2014; Reflections by Robert Wong From eBay; American Flags on Overpasses Rt 78; The World Today




Patriot Day: September 11, 2014

In 2012, President Barack Obama made a proclamation declaring September 11 Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.

In part, it reads:

On September 11, 2001, a bright autumn day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. Thousands of innocent men, women, and children perished when mighty towers collapsed in the heart of New York City and wreckage burned in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. They were family and friends, service members and first responders -- and the tragedy of their loss left pain that will never fade and scars our country will never forget.

More than a decade later, the world we live in is forever changed. But as we mark the anniversary of September 11, we remember what remains the same: our character as a Nation, our faith in one another, and our legacy as a country strengthened by service and selflessness. In the spirit that moved rescue workers and firefighters to charge into darkness and danger that September morning, we see the same sense of moral responsibility that drove countless Americans to give of themselves in the months that followed. We offered our neighbors a hand and lined up to give blood. Many helped our Nation rebuild and recover long after the dust had settled, donating and volunteering and helping survivors who had borne so much. We were united, and the outpouring of generosity reminded us that, through challenges that have spanned from acts of terrorism to natural disasters, we go forward together as one people.

The rest is here. It's not that long and since we now have access to information like this I think it's worth reading at least once.

I've written about the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001 multiple times here. I've also written the attacks into storylines in a couple of books. In this one particular post, I showed a photo of mail that had been held back from me for months...and from other people where I live...because of the anthrax scares that threatened the post office in Princeton, NJ. I kept that mail, unopened, in a sealed plastic bag because I thought it would always be a reminder of how much our lives changed after that awful day. At the time, I was in New Jersey and lost all communication to New York City and couldn't contact family or friends to see where they were. It's a feeling I hope I never have to experience again. Oddly enough, I finally did get through with my cell phone that same afternoon and cell phones weren't even that great back then.

It's been said that after the sinking of the Titanic the world changed, too. Many consider that the end of the Edwardian Era. There's debate over that and I'm not weighing in on it here. But I do think the attacks on September 11, 2001 took us from a more innocent time and brought us all into a new era of caution that hasn't yet been named. It will be interesting to see how these attacks are handled in future years as people reflect on that day in 2001. I have nieces and nephews who weren't even alive yet and I'm not sure they'll ever understand the impact it had on those of us who lived through it all that day, and all the days that followed.

I noticed something interesting this summer because we were driving back and forth to New York a lot for medical reasons. After the attacks in 2001, American Flags went up on interstates all over the East Coast. They were hung on fences on almost every single overpass in a show of respect and strength. I hadn't even noticed they've disappeared in many spots. But they're still up on Interstate 78 that leads people from NJ into Manhattan thirteen years later. I just hope everyone realizes why they're there.

Reflections by Robert Wong From eBay

Many people where I live experienced the attacks in New York first hand. Some lives were altered more than others that day. Some people will never be the same again. And some people took that experience and changed their lives for the better. This inspiring post talks about a young man who changed his focus, and in return helped change the world a little, too. It's a post by Robert Wong, Global philanthropy Manager at eBay...

It's impossible to forget the moment when I realized finding myself was less about finding a career, and actually about discovering my purpose. For me, that moment was on Sept. 11, 2001 when I saw my friend brutally murdered as her plane slammed into the World Trade Center.

I was angry, confused, and sad. I had questions. How was this possible? What could I do? I was looking for a way to respond to this tragedy that rattled our nation and our world. So, faced with apathy, I took action.

You can read the rest here.

The photo above is from my own collection. I took it in August.

American Flags on Overpasses Rt 78

Here's an article explaining why there are American flags on overpasses on Rt 78 in New Jersey.

As far as we could discover, individuals, or small groups of people working together, have been displaying the flags in a show of patriotism and solidarity. Some of the flags began appearing after Sept. 11, 2001.

One person leading the charge is Marine Corps Reserve veteran Nick Sant Foster of Basking Ridge, N.J. According to his Web site (americanflagman.com), Sant Foster doesn't know who originally attached flags to highway overpasses in New Jersey after 9/11, but he liked the idea, and took it upon himself to join the fray.

"The flag has been my response to 9/11," Sant Foster says in a video on his site. "Terrorism is the belief in fear" as radicals hope to get what they want by intimidating others, he says. The American flag, in general, and the highway flags, in particular, serve as a beacon of courage against this maniacal philosophy.


The World Today

And, here's a link to a blog post by Barry Eisler. It's off topic slightly, with respect to the focus of my post, however, it does show how the world has changed since 911. Whether you agree with Eisler or not isn't the point this time. The topic of the post and the discussion in general is what I'm talking about.

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