David Rodeback's Blog

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Saturday, September 11, 2004
Looking Back: 9/11, Part Two

Here continue from yesterday some thoughts I wrote in the days after September 11, 2001:

I wonder if that awful day might teach us a much needed lesson in heroism. We, who have foolishly looked for our heroes on the athletic field or television screen or in the music store, finding heroism, as we supposed, in the athlete who makes a difficult pass reception or in the actor who eloquently parrots words written by another - we happened to be riveted to the television when it showed genuine heroism.
One of my first thoughts as I saw a quarter-mile high office tower collapse was for the fire fighters and other rescue workers who had already responded to the scene by the hundreds. They had to know that some of them, at least, were likely not survive this disaster, even if the buildings did not collapse. They had to know, even if the rest of us didn't, that these skyscrapers are designed to withstand ordinary fires for two to three hours. And they had to know that these fires, fueled by a hundred tons of jet fuel, were far beyond the sort of fire these buildings were supposed to be able to endure.
They did their duty. They saved many lives. Less than two hours later, about 300 of them had offered up the ultimate sacrifice. Long before the dust had settled, their comrades were on the scene, despite the continuing danger, proceeding with the rescue operations. "Greater love hath no man than this," said the Lord himself, "that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Well, these heroes laid down their lives for people they didn't even know. They don't seem to have done it for glory or fame; they simply were doing their duty. You can't tell me that's the same as throwing a touchdown pass or singing a popular song or figuring out how to wear your jeans even lower without actually having them fall off. We will likely never hear, and certainly never remember, all their names, but I, for one, will not soon forget their heroism.

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