I was only four years old when the terrible attacks on this country occurred. It's a distant, foggy memory, but I remember small bits and pieces. I remember seeing the smoke outside my childhood home in Queens. My Nana used to work at Windows of the World, and I remember asking if Nana still worked there (fortunately she did not). But other than that, it was all second-hand stories, reflections, videos, and photographs.
I do remember my parents sharing stories of attempting to call friends and loved ones, but the phone signal that day was terrible. My Dad and fellow members of the CPYC, along with hundreds of other boats and vessels converged onto lower Manhattan to help evacuate people, many of who were running straight into the water, covered in ash or sustaining injuries.
I have always resonated with sports. While growing up and learning more about 9/11, the sports tributes and moments that always replayed on the television seem to have hit me. They provided Americans a sense of unity, a sense of "we're in this together", a sense of hope.
Sammy Sosa running with an American flag, the NY Rangers dawning NYPD and NYFD gear, and the one that gets me every time, President Bush throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium and following it up with a "we will get through this" thumbs up. Chilling.
This day will be hard for many. I will forever pray for the families that have been impacted and lost their loved ones that day. I pray for the first responders who subsequentially perished because of their actions saving lives. I pray for the soldiers that enlisted in our armed forces because of these attacks and thank them for making the ultimate sacrifice.
The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead, the country emerged stronger and more unified. Now in 2021, the unity and "proud to be an American" has diminished. Everyone is pointing fingers, and hurting each other, and hating each other. I bet you even today, some awful remarks will be made. I pray we never forget this day and never turn it into a "day-off holiday". And to close, I pray we never have another 9/11 again, but may we have the unity and patriotism of a 9/12 once more...