9/11 Anniversary

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.]

3 thoughts on “9/11 Anniversary

  1. Add to your list of heroes John Patrick Hart, a high school classmate and friend, who died a hero on 9/11. Although John was living in California at the time, he traveled to NY to participate in a financial seminar at Fiduciary Trust that fateful day. Fiduciary Trust occupied floors 90 and 94-97 of Two World Trade Center (the South Tower).

    I can only imagine the sight John saw after AA Flight 11 impacted floors 93-99 of the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. John was too smart to heed any reassurances over the loudspeaker to the effect that they “were safe” and should “stay in their offices.” John made his way down the elevator and out of the building. He called his wife on his cell phone to reassure her that he was okay. Witnesses saw him outside of the building at street level. Once again, we are left to imagine what he saw. Did he see the dreadful result of people forced to choose to jump from the top floors of the North Tower rather than suffocate or burn to death inside?

    What we know is that John went back in the South Tower. He took the elevator back up to the Fiduciary Trust offices. He was there when UA Flight 175 impacted the South Tower some ten floors below at 9:02 a.m.

    John was like this. He was the type to buck up, go against the crowd, and do the right thing. I have no doubt that John went back in to warn others about the seriousness of the situation and to help them get out. He is a true hero. John made a second cell phone call to his wife after the second plane struck: “…I am in big trouble…” Indeed, he was. Today, I remember a friend who stepped up to the hero level when the situation required it.

  2. Phil,

    The History Channel had a riveting account of Mr. Rescorla’s actions this past Friday night as part of their 9-11 anniversary segments.
    The man is truly a hero and an inspiration to us all.
    The massive risks he took for the betterment of his comrades and the ultimate sacrifice he made is amazing.

  3. Philip, the tragedy of 9/11 can not be forgotten by any human being who still care about people in this world. Hats Off for every hero who’d participated in rescuing people in this bloody day!

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