by Richard Williams, CEO
There are virtually millions of 9/11 stories (it’s said that 97% of people then over 10 years of age remember where they were the morning of the attack). There is no doubt that on that infamous clear, crisp Tuesday morning, horror and fear were rampant. Yet trumping those horrible events was the innate and incredible courage of so many. On a dark, dark day, when evil was running wild in the skies, the light shining through it all was the unlimited acts of courage by so many in defenses of people they knew little if anything nothing about.
Courage and fearlessness and selflessness and camaraderie and defiance are the characteristics I recall on top of everything.
The 10th anniversary of 9/11 reminds me of the message delivered over and over to tourists visiting the city after that morning. At 300 meetings over the next few years, in front of 50-100 tourists each time, I would offer my reason why they should visit Ground Zero. In a nutshell this is what I said:
Go to Ground Zero and see a place where courage and faith overflowed. A place where women and men did the impossible. Go to ground Zero and honor those that have fallen and those that survived. It’s a place of pride. It a place as hallowed as Arlington Cemetery or Gettysburg or Iwo Jima or the beaches of Normandy. The same kind of spirit and courage existed at Ground Zero as existed at these battlefields. Go and applaud all that gave of themselves for others. And never forget. Because to forget is to dishonor.
Here is another way never to forget and to honor those that didn’t come home that day. There is a nonprofit organization called ‘Tuesdays Children”. It dedicated to helping the children who lost a mother, father or both that day. It helps them throughout the year with events and by having a volunteer mentor to the children at least once a month- to provide a male or female role model. To help them do the things that other kids get to do with their mother or father. Go to a game, learn to hit a baseball, buy their first dress, and so much more. The volunteers who serve as mentors to a Tuesday’s child never receive a penny for their time or expenditures …but what they get back is truly priceless. Our President and Founder is a Tuesday’s Children mentor – something that helps him honor the memory of a friend he lost – a St. Joseph’s University classmate – along with the thousands of others we lost that day. Visit their website to learn more and make sure that ‘Tuesdays Children’ are never forgotten.