It's mourning in America. At least it is in my heart and home and I'm sure for many others on this September 11th anniversary. Although sadly, it's a virtual certainty that the media will be talking much more today about January 6th than September 11th.
Who can forget where they were when they heard the news that terrorists in Washington had broken several windows, rattled some fences, waved American flags, and strolled through government buildings taking selfies before walking away peacefully hoping to arrive in time for Early Bird dinner specials in nearby restaurants.
It is an obscenity for anyone to compare the two events, let alone to have media outlets reporting stories suggesting "9/11 Was Nothing Compared To January 6th."
There is no one here on this site who believes that statement to be true. Which is why, on this always-hard day of remembrance, I'm grateful to be in the company of patriots.
FROM THE VAULT: SEPT 11, 2016
I can't believe the events of 9/11 happened 15 years ago. It feels no longer than a heartbeat. And despite the admonition to "never forget," too many have. They've forgotten the spirit of unity that Americans shared for a brief time. A spirit that transcended race, class, or political parties.
I apologize for even briefly mentioning politics today, but I believe that the beginning of the end of that unity occurred when newly-elected Senator Hillary Clinton took to the floor of the Senate, held up a tabloid newspaper headline, and declared "BUSH KNEW" an attack was likely and didn't stop it.
Years later, as Secretary of State, for purely political reasons Hillary Clinton claimed not to know that September 11th was a day of special meaning to terrorists and a day when security should be at its very highest level. And four Americans serving in Benghazi paid the ultimate price for her recklessness and folly. This detestable woman must not become our next president.
But enough about that. This should be a day of reflection and contemplation. And to that end, I want to remind readers of heroic firefighter David M. Weiss, the brother-in-law of Jim Hlavac, a frequent commenter here on Hope n' Change. (2023 Note: sadly, Jim Hlavac died a few years ago.)
Here's how the New York Times described him:
David Martin Weiss, a New York City firefighter, was built like a fireplug. He stood 5-foot-9 and weighed 225 pounds. He was all muscle, with biceps as big as the thigh of a medium-build woman.
He was bulldozer-strong. He looked as tough as he sounded. His head was shaved and his body was covered in tattoos. He drove Harleys.
He was an ironworker before he became a firefighter 13 years ago. He blended both experiences to become a member of the Fire Department's elite force. He joined Rescue Company 1 in Times Square about six years ago after receiving a medal for a rescue attempt: a man's car careened off Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and plunged into the East River. Mr. Weiss, off duty, stopped his car, climbed down the iron trestles of the elevated highway and jumped into the river to rescue the driver, whose heart had given out.
"He just jumped, knowing that he was the person's only hope," said Thor Johannessen, a firefighter.
Mr. Weiss, 41, of Maybrook, N.Y., had a mean sense of humor. "If he saw a thread, he knew how to pull it to unravel the whole shirt," said Joel Kanasky, another firefighter. "He was the king of that."
On 9/11, along with other members of the elite "Rescue 1" group, David raced into a burning tower of the World Trade Center to help as many people as possible. He was last seen on the 31st floor of Tower Two, climbing stairs and rushing towards the danger, when the building fell.
The image below is from a commemorative t-shirt which is a prized possession of mine. A remembrance of both the tragedy and remarkable heroism seen on that day.
Let today be a day when we step back from the petty distractions and noise of the media, and think about more important things. About what this country is. About who we are. About what we've lost, and what we each need to do every day to live up to a legacy forged by our best and bravest.
Above all, let's remember the many heroes - living and dead - who have made this a country worth celebrating and defending.