What a Week….

It was symbolic that the end of the Afghan War and the 20 year anniversary of 9/11 collided in midair over the last two weeks. Some idiot decided it would be great optics to celebrate both events under our new President. It readily demonstrates there are still no adults in the room at 1660 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is sad to see. 

I was inextricably drawn to the various documentaries surrounding 9/11. The psychologist will tell you we keep looking to see if it somehow turns out differently. I just kept looking for answers. 

 I watched because I had a lot of connection. I walked in and out of those towers for many years on the way to the office from the PATH station at the WTC.

I knew 19 human beings who went down in the holocaust. One of them was my cousin’s son. A great young man who was bigger than life. Several others I worked alongside from my Wall Street days. Two of them I helped bring into the business. All gone in an instant

There was a series done in concert with National Geographic and the 9/11 museum. It was no holds barred reenactment of the days leading up to and the actual denouement. There were scenes and pictures I had never seen. It was remarkable for its lack of editing. You got hit between the eyes. It really cut deep into me.

That day by some crazy stroke of fate there was a film team following a NYC Fire Department Battalion Chief. He was investigating a gas leak. You heard the second plane screaming overhead as it homed in on its target. You saw from ground level the fatal stab wound on a seemingly impenetrable fortress.The AVGAS exploded on impact. It was horrifying. I realized how naive and egotistical I was and probably still am. 

I am not talented enough to describe the outcome properly. Take some time out. Watch the segments. Feel the horror and the devastation. Then tell me you are having a shitty day. Let’s argue about Trump or Biden. How about elections or immigrants or China and Russia? Better yet let’s figure out how to give our kids in college safe spaces and nonviolence. Let’s spend out time wrenching out every last nickel of profit in our mega corporations. These are the important things in life. Look again, mes amis.

This last Sunday’s 60 Minutes, ripped every last vestige of indifference from me. You watched some of the most dedicated and heroic human beings alive, New York City firemen.

Cooly and calmly they assessed the impossible. They sent men to their certain death and both sides knew it. The chief passed his brother for the last time as they gave each other knowing looks. You heard thuds on the canopies of the buildings as the bodies of some who saw know no other way than to jump from 80 stories, hit with incredible force. I cannot even imagine the thought processes these poor devils went through. What would you or I do?

The last segment I watched was “Shine A Light” on CNN.

I didn’t know who HER was but her rendition of “Hallelujah” was beyond stirring. It was a lead in to a show that was all about the spouses and kids who were left alone to pick up the pieces. They spoke eloquently. 20 years was a blink of an eye as they fought to grieve and then find some sort of meaning to it all. 

Their message was simple but spell binding. The 9/11 Day organization wanted to shine a light by the simplest methods. They have formed groups all over the country to just perform a good deed on the anniversary. Now that sounds hokey, but please for a brief moment think about it. 

When 9/11 occurred we were together in every possible way. There weren’t blacks, whites, or hispanics. For a brief period we realized we all bled red. We weren’t ashamed to show our patriotism…and our love for each other. We flew flags proudly and differences seemed minor at best. Where did that go? Why is it so difficult now? 

It worked because maybe for once in our lives we did not think about ourselves. There was no one upping. We treasured the you. Me was irrelevant. We are the most charitable country in the world. But we are also the most wasteful and consumptive. How does that happen? We have disease and famine in our world but we spend $200 million on a 4 day joy ride in outer space. Bezos and Musk want to live on Mars. Is it just me or are we way off kilter?

In case you did not gather it I am upset at our world and pissed that we are so vapid. We are all spoiled brats. Rich, poor, white and black. We want what we are deserving of, in getting our fair shares. I found it interesting those firemen saved both millionaires and cleaning people  on 9/11. You can tell me you worked your ass off. I will tell you that you have no idea what is like to work two or three jobs. Nor do I and that is the point. I volunteer four hours a week at hospice. It should be four hours a day.  

Let’s knock off the snarky emails on both sides. Let’s be honest with one another. Let’s just say hello to someone. Call that grocery clerk by their name. Hold a door. Offer a hand and not look the other way when we see something terribly wrong. In our homes, on the street, in our capitols and churches. Board rooms and ward rooms. Country clubs and barrios. This has got to stop!

You may laugh at me and that is okay. You may think I have lost it. You would not be the first. I hope that one or two of you would think about what I have said and take action in whatever direction you think appropriate. We have to start somewhere. 

As always 

Ted The Great

Factoids:

Nineteen men hijacked four fuel-loaded US commercial airplanes bound for west coast destinations. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

It took 102 minutes from when the first jet hit the WTC until the final tower disintegrated. 

It took $500,000 to plan and accomplish the hijackings.The estimated economic loss during the first two to four weeks after the World Trade Center towers collapsed was $123 billion.

  • It took 3.1 million hours of labor to clean up 1.8 million tons of debris at Ground Zero. Cleanup officially ended May 30, 2002.

A total of 412 first responders died on 9/11, comprised of 340 firefighters and 72 police officers.

The total number of casualties of the aftermath of the attack will likely, tragically, rise: Over 1,100 9/11 first responders have been diagnosed with cancer directly linked to the dust and air quality after the terror attacks.

3 thoughts on “What a Week….

  1. Yes. A horrific episode in our lives. We should never forget the terrible memories. And we learned stuff and are better. Hope we’re good enough.

    Sent from my iPhone

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