9/11/2010 · 12 September 2010

As I was running this morning, I noticed a neighbor’s flag flying at half mast. I wondered for a moment why, and then I realized. It is 9/11. I noticed that there were not many flags flying and was glad that I disregard normal flag etiquette and fly ours continuously even though I do not have a dedicated light illuminating it at night. I wondered if everybody had forgotten what had happened or if they had perhaps just moved on from mourning to remember those who had fallen. I said a quick prayer for those who had lost their lives and those who had been left behind. Then I decided to write something about my own perspective on 9/11.

It was nine years ago that our country and the world witnessed a horrific display of hatred and disregard for human life. I remember listening and then watching in utter disbelief at what was happening on the east coast. But as the weeks, months, and even years have passed, we witnessed or heard stories of compassion, love, and sacrifice that far outweigh the hatred displayed. Mostly about firefighters and police officers, public servants who are dedicated to helping others.

I have many reminders of those dedicated men and women who daily put their lives on the line to ensure our peace of mind if not complete domestic peace and tranquility. I have friends who are firefighters and police officers. Like their brethren in New York, they jump into the fray knowing full well that they might leave friends and loved ones behind if things do not go well. I admire and applaud them for their selflessness.

One of our dearest friends is a firefighter who went to New York after 9/11 to help with search and rescue even though there was little hope of finding much. He came back with some respiratory problems that seem to be a permanent reminder of his time at ground zero. Recently, he was injured in a training accident. Despite these obstacles (he required surgery and many stitches for his injury), he was back at work and raring to go in what seemed like much too short a time. That is just the way he is and all his fellow public servants are – always willing to run into a fire or firefight to save somebody they do not know.

While I can really only see 9/11 being a day of celebration for somebody’s birthday, I cannot believe it will always be a day of mourning. In my mind it is a day of remembrance and prayer for those innocents who lost their lives just going about their daily lives. And it is a day of thanks and prayer for those who willingly sacrificed their lives for people they did not even know. Firefighters, police officers, and others ran into burning buildings to help others. To them we offer our thanks. And to their families and friends, we offer our prayers for comfort and peace.

I cannot imagine another display of such hatred and disregard for human life as the world witnessed on 9/11/2001. But if it comes, I am comforted knowing that there are men and women who disregard their own safety and well being and risk their own lives for others. I thank them and their families for what they do.

© 2010 Michael T. Miyoshi

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