On this 8th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, I’d like to devote a little space in this Weblog to remembering the heroes of that day. For me, the essence of heroism is choosing to take a personal risk, especially, but not necessarily, a physical one. A hero is someone who chooses to help others despite the risk of a terrible negative consequence for himself. Anyone who walked into the World Trade Center after the first airplane hit, in order to help those who were originally inside, meets my definition of hero. A good example of a civilian who did this is Rick Rescorla, profiled in “The Real Heroes are Dead”, a February 11, 2002 New Yorker story that I recommend highly. Any of the firefighters and police who went in could have called in sick or otherwise found an excuse to run in the opposite direction.
So I’m giving thanks today that I live in a society in which there are so many who step up to the hero level when the situation requires it.
[My personal 9/11 story is not inspiring. I was on a camping trip in Nova Scotia for most of September 2001 and missed almost everything.]