Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 11th 15 year later

So today is the 15th anniversary of that infamous day.  A day that many Americans remember living through.  For me I guess I now know what the generations before feel like with the end of the World Wars and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  I've watched the generations after me not understand why we are somber today.

If you have read this blog, you know that my brother, being the smart ass he is chose 9-1-1 as their wedding day because it was a Saturday and well everyone will remember the date.  Last night we were out to dinner and my 14 year old niece said, "why did you pick 9-11 for your wedding?" Both my brother and I responded with it was a joke 9-1-1 to which she said "you didn't think the terrorists would think the same thing."  In her innocence and being the first group of kids to have not been alive when 9-11-01 happened makes the statement funny, but it also says something about how her generation has grown up.  There has always been talk of terrorists, what they did and what they will do and when will they do it again.

I don't know if it's because I'm old or just emotional anyway, but today was the first time I nearly cried during my pastor's homily.  Maybe it was the fact that 15 years have past, that I had just watched the picture of Dennis McHugh scroll across my tv; maybe it was finally realizing that his parents are with him and his mom got her wish of having a body to bury.  I guess the focus has always been on the sacrifice of the FDNY that day, they did lose 343 souls from their ranks.  I guess because John Gallagher's Mass was a memorial Mass, that I don't think about him as much which is odd, because I actually knew John, well I was Peter's little sister so everyone knew me, but I do remember being in their apartment/house when I was little.  John's body was not and never will be recovered as he worked for Cantor-Fitzgerald and he was hopefully gone in a few seconds.

Tonight we watched the CNN special 9-11 Fifteen Years Later. The film maker spoke of seeing people on fire walking past him and I went immediately to the memories of the fire at Seton Hall.  I often wonder what in the world possessed me to go wash my car 15 years ago, but I really think it was the Holy Spirit saving me from having those images burned into my brain.  I have a very vivid memory and I rather tell the silly story of I was washing my car instead of saying I was watching TV like the rest of the world.

My family has happy memories of 9-11 as yes it's the day my brother got married, without that wedding I don't have a niece or nephew acting like goofballs making their family laugh.  So yes 9-11 holds many memories.

My cousin by marriage (she's still a cousin) shared a picture of her husband (then boyfriend) from ground zero on facebook and it made me think.  Maybe it's because they are both close to retirement that I look back and say, dear God, that could have been us.  I watched NYPD funerals and said, that family could have been us.  I forget that I know a good few first responders, many of whom were in NYC 15 years ago.  Maybe that's it. I lived through the day, saw the aftermath, watch the smoke billow from the towers stood.  Yes there is a giant building there now, but it's not the same and nor should it be.  I guess like the rest of NY that was here that day, we've moved on, still standing, still fighting, still knowing we are a target, but also giving a big ole classic F-U to the terrorists.

That fight isn't won, and it won't be while we still fight.  the irony of my f-u and moving into the idea of peace isn't lost on me.  My pastor spoke of how the stories in the Gospel today spoke to us about how peace is what is needed in the world and yes that is far easier said than done.  I did find his comment of once the US beats you in a war, we are the first to offer an hand to help you up.  He's right we'll kick your ass and then help you clean up the damage we did.  I remember a good few years ago a chaplain from West Point saying "you have no idea what Iraq is like, it is better off now."  From studying scripture and other religions it's clear that war is never the answer, but Jesus' idea of peace is.

I know 15 years ago we were all go get 'em, get the bastards. 15 years later we're still fighting terror and neither side is winning, but I'd like to think our side is on the winning side.

May those who died 15 years ago continue to rest in peace, and may God continue to bless our first responders, military, fire fighters, police and EMTs.