Tomorrow, we commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The Blogland will profile two of those who were lost on that day.
Going on television shortly after the completion of the aireal bombing raids, President Ronald Reagan discussed the strikes and why they had been carried out. He closed his brief speech with a short warning for our nation's enemies:
True to their fire station's slogan "The Pride of Manhattan - Never Missed a Performance", the fifteen firefighters of Ladder Unit 4, led by O'Callaghan, which normally answered calls in a service area that included much of Broadway, rushed to take part in what would become the greatest performance of their lives.
None of them would return alive.
When other firefighters arrived at the station, they found cups of coffee still warm, and O'Callghan's shaving cream and clothes still in the bathroom from where he was changing and rushed out to respond to the call.
His committment to his faith was as certain to his committment to his duty on that day. When his body was recovered, he was found to be still holding his Rosary, presumably in prayer for protection and courage in doing his duty on that terrible day.
True to their station's motto, O'Callaghan and his men never missed a performance. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Captain Daniel O'Callaghan and the men of Ladder Four became more than just the Pride of Manhattan - they became the pride of us all.
Please also remember his wife Rhonda, and his two children, Rhiannon and Connor, who were among many who lost a friend and loved one that day.
May the memories of O'Callaghan and the firefighers of Ladder Four be eternal.
"That government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth"
Lincoln's challenge to his time reflects the greatest challenge we face today: Ensuring this nation and the freedom it represents shall long endure. For the sake of all humanity, let us hope and pray that it will.
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war ... testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated ... can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate ... we cannot consecrate ... we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us ... that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ... that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain ... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people ... by the people ... for the people ... shall not perish from the earth.
For more information about the Pentagon Memorial, please visit these websites:
THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!
(... and may Jane Fonda and Cindy Sheehan both rot in hell)
A short recap on some of how yesterday was remembered in the SC blogosphere ...
- Lowcountry Blogs did their own recap of 9/11 memorials,
- Sic Willie quoted a Martin Luther hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is our God",
- Josh Gross celebrated the life of Johnny Heff, an NYC firefighter and punk rock singer lost in the line of duty at the World Trade Center,
- Old Controller remembers NYPD officer Brian McDonnell, also lost in the line of duty at the World Trade Center
- Shadow of Diogenes keeps it short and simple
- Brian McCarty remembers the firefighters and paramedics of New York
- Brian McCarty remembers the firefighters and paramedics of New York
- President Ronald Reagan, Address to the Nation on the
United States Air Strike Against Libya , April 14, 1986
Throughout our nation's history, there have been those places where our nation's enemies faced our nation's private citizens, who, armed with great courage and a determination to confront evil, courageously answered the call to duty. In places like the Alamo, Kings Mountain, and Wake Island, private citizens, forced into action by the agression of America's enemies, made courageous stands.
On September 10, 2001, little did we know that a similar stand would soon take place in the skies over Pennsylvania, by a small group of airline passengers, including one Mr. Thomas Burnett. While much remains unknown about what happened on that plane, what is certain is that determined and fanatical terrorists with years of training met the courage of free Americans.
Thomas Burnett was husband and father of three daughters (Madison, Halley, and Anna Clare), and the senior Vice-President for a medical R&D company. A high school quarterback who led his team to state championships, he graduated from the University of Minnesota. So concerned about looking out for his family, he gave up parachuting and insisted that his wife should always fly on a separate flight, so a crash would not leave their children without both parents.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, he boarded a plane designated Flight 93 to return home from a business trip to New Jersey. For this, he was marked for death by America's enemies. But little did they know that Burnett and others would turn the tables on them.
When visitors travel to visit his company's headquarters, they will find it on Tom Burnett Lane.
President Ronald Reagan once warned "that there should be no place on Earth where terrorists can rest and train and practice their deadly skills." Thanks to Burnett and others, those terrorists found that their well-planned plot had become a trap from which they could not escape. Reagan's warning to terrorists became reality, thanks to those unprepared and untrained Americans, who armed with little more than courage and determination, fought back and prevailed.
No doubt there are hundreds, if not thousands, who were marked for death at Flight 93's ultimate destination. Thanks to Burnett and others, that murderous mission was a failure. On this day, and many others, we should remember and honor the courageous of Mr. Thomas Burnett, along with those many others we've lost on that day, and those we've lost since.
To learn more about Mr. Burnett, please visit these websites:
It's a date we won't forget, and we hope you won't either.
Tomorrow, we ask you to join us in remembering and honoring those lost and those they left behind, as well as those who answered the call of duty on that day.
Whether it's a few moments of silent prayer, a memorial on your own blog, or whatever works for you, please do your part to make sure they will be remembered, and that the painful lessons of that day are not forgotten.
Despite geographical distance, a strong link connects the destroyed World Trade Center in New York City and the Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (NGSS) shipyard in Avondale, La., which, like nearby New Orleans, was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The bond between them is the U.S. Navy ship currently under construction in Avondale, for the vessel’s bow stem was cast from steel salvaged from the ruins of the World Trade Center.
Cleanup efforts after 9/11 included removal of approximately 200,000 tons (181,437 t) of steel, much of which was sold worldwide to be reused for various purposes. However, an I-beam was retained to be recast for the Navy vessel’s bow stem, the most forward part of a ship. The role of the bow stem is to forge a path through the water, leading the ship to its mission.
I want to share some of the perspectives of those who've had the guts to call a spade a spade. Today, it's Blackie Lawless and WASP, whose "Dying for the World" album was their first post 9/11 release:
Its been said that New York is the Capitol of the World, but growing up there, for me, it was just home. I could look out of my bedroom window and see the Statue of Liberty and beyond that were the World Trade Centers. My family was in construction and we had friends and family who helped build those great structures.
W.A.S.P. were on tour in America in August and September . I was in Manhattan August 31st to do a day of press interviews prior to a show in New Jersey later that evening. As I was leaving Manhattan (New York City) route to the show I looked over to the skyline of the city. Leaving that place always made me sad. The further away you get from the city, the only thing you could see were the World Trade Centers (as they were the tallest buildings there) and I said to myself "Take a good look, its gonna be a while before you see them again". Little did I know.
September 11th changed all that.
Even as I write this, the hurt is still overwhelming. I feel like crying but I'm numb at the same time. I guess the numbness is a self-defense mechanism.
I did a lot of thinking about what happened on that day (as we all have I'm sure) and tried to figure out not so much why this happened (I know why!) but what does it indicate. Specifically where is all this leading us, and when I say "us" it's not just an abbreviation for the United States, I mean the whole "World". I'll come back to this thought later.
In the Gulf war in the early 90's W.A.S.P. got a lot of mail from the United Nations Forces (American, British, European and others) telling us that they would blast metal music from the loud speakers of the armored tanks when they would go into battle. The sound could project two miles away and when the Iraq troops would hear the music they knew "death" was on its way and they would run like the cowardly mother fuckers they really are. What a vision!
So thinking about that takes me back to what I was saying before about where is this leading all of us. Sooner or later this problem in the middle east is going to have to be dealt with. It's not "if" it's "when". It's not just about America and Israel, it's equally about Europe and the rest of the civilized world. "They" are coming after us and will not stop. You ask who is "they?" (See Bible - "seed of Cain"). The names don't matter, whether it's Bin Laden, Hussein or whoever it's all the same. They are all "Antichrist wannabes" and we're going to deal with them either now or later. So based on the idea of the letters we got from the soldiers in the 90's I thought: ok, why not give our guys (United Nations Forces), a fresh batch of new songs to go onto battle with.. Something that will inspire us and scare the fuck out of them. Think of this album largely as a collection of songs to "go kill people with".
Fuck political correctness:
That went down with the Trade Centers.
As the line says in the song "Stone Cold Killers": "my God will kill your god".
This album hits you with all the power of a WASP album, and with lyrics that are often deeper than the uninformed music listener will notice. Blackie's rage and anger can be felt on the songs about 9/11, felt deep to the bone, with no doubt that he wants to lead the tank charge, all guns blazing, with the blood and bones of the murderers splattered across the front of the tank. His anger, his rage, and his hurt ... it is real, both for him and many others out there.
It is all too clear that this band wants revenge, but then go beyond revenge, to take the evil and the fear they sought to put on us, and shove it deep inside of them and watch them feel the deepest terror a man can feel - hell on earth.
These songs speak for what many of us felt that day, and in those that followed, and what we still feel. But enough talk - let's look at some of these song lyrics ...
Hell for Eternity:
Where ya gonna run
Ya never should have come
But welcome to the ball
My hands on the trigger
My guns getting bigger
I'll introduce you all
Won't you say
Hello to my little friend
Won't you pray
Get on your knees
And pray to die
Oh-you're gonna burn tonight
Nothing's gonna save ya
oh ya better pray - to
Whatever God you want
Revengeance (not just revenge or vengeance):
Oh your God's got you dying to be
Oh your martyr's in the sand
I'll hunt you down like the dogs that you be
Your Armageddon's in my hands
Come to me I'll set you free
Come to me will you die for me
I'm gonna murder supeman
Stone cold killer's what I am
Your widowmaking ones come
You can't hide
I'm gonna murder superman
I got a heart breaker in my hands
Yeah here I come
Oh - You're gonna die
Your lying messiah you know isn't real
How will you die fo the one that you kneel
Better get your guns
kill your god
My God will kill your god
Come and take me down
The dark beyond
And take me there
Where I come from
Take me down
To the place where I'll kneel
And let me lay
my shadow down
In though the eyes
Of a child's inner me
No pain to heal my bloodied brow
There is no rain
To save this silent town
There is no rain to save at all
There is no place
To save this silent ground
There is no place to save at all
Oh father take me
Unto where I'll lay me down
Oh Hallowed Ground
Oh the sky is falling
And I don't know where my home is now
My Hallowed Ground
Oh and can you take me
For I have tasted Hallowed Ground
Oh all around
Father - oh do you hear me
This pain I will not cry aloud
Father - I know you hear me
My head is bludgeoned but unbowed
I've mourned, told some stories, vented my rage, and shared some of my deep feelings about what happened. Thank those of you who read, listened, and shared. I'm ready to move forward again.
May peace be with those who lost loved ones that day, or since, and may the hand of American Justice land hard on the asses of the bad guys we have yet to catch.
"It took about 30 years for this terrorism to develop. It's going to take more than five years to deconstruct them."-Rudy Giuliani, World Trade CenterSeptember 10, 2006
As I did yesterday with my posting about Benito Valentin, I feel it more appropriate to share some thoughts about someone else whose role that day was far more important and whose sacrifice was far greater - the first official casualty of the World Trade Center attack, Father Mychal Judge.
In both Catholic and Orthodox traditions, there are many times one becomes a saint through a mass grass-roots movement.
It would surprise few that there is a large grassroots effort to canonize Mother Theresa. There is a popular movement to recognize Yevgeny Rodinov, a Russian solider martyred in Chechnaya, as a saint, and many Russian Orthodox faithful already consider him to be one.
Those who support Rodinov for sainthood do so not just because he was murdered because he refused to renounce his faith when captured by terrorists, but in part because he was a fallen hero in the nation's war against the Chechen terrorists.
Which brings us to the effort to seek sainthood for Roman Catholic priest Father Mychal Judge, the NYFD chaplain who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. His death certificate is listed as Number 0001, the first official casualty of the terrorist attacks upon the city.
I keep thinking about Father Mychal Judge who I passed quickly as I was going to the Police Department command center and he was going toward the Fire Department command center. And I shook his hand, and I asked him to pray for us. I said, "Father, pray for us," because I knew how terrible it was. And he looked at me, smiled and said, "I always do," and then moved on.
And he was the first person that we lost at the World Trade Center.
Controversial to some, but not me.
While I will not claim to know all the issues that should be considered for his canonization, nor can I say if he meets the criteria, I hope that his canonization receives the fairest and fullest consideration. His humble and selfless works, as well as his martyrdom on 9/11, are worthy of consideration, and certainly of rememberance.
Regardless of any "official" determiniation, like Rodinov, it should be considered that he has already become a de-facto saint through the adoration of many who remember him for his good works and tragic martyrdom, as depicted in the icon above. In such a situation, canonization may already be recognizing what is already commonly believed, and it would hopefully be difficult not to canonize him without good reason.
As we remember those we lost that day, and as we reflect upon how that terrible day has affected us as individuals and as a nation, let us consider the example of faith set by Father Mychal, whose prayer is carried on by those who remember and honor his life:
Lord, take me where you want me to go;
Let me meet who you want me to meet;
Tell me what you want me to say;
And keep me out of your way.
Today, let us remember those we lost that day, as well as those who have fallen since in our nation's continuing efforts against terror, both at home and abroad, and let us be thankful for their sacrifices.
Benito Valentin and Father Mychal Judge are just two of nearly three thousand people who were callously murdered by the terrorist atrocities committed in the United States on September 11, 2001. May their memories be eternal ...
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