Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Tolling of the Bells

In the dozen years that have passed since the most terrible, horrific morning that I have lived through to date - a journey that has now spanned more than forty-six and one-half years - I have never once had to shoulder the burden that many had to that morning.  No member of my family was killed that day.  No one I knew personally or - more pointedly perhaps - who would have counted me among those that he or she knew was killed that day.  I have a tremendous amount of empathy for those among our number whose fortune paled in comparison to mine.  For those who had taken from them in a singular moment of almost incomprehensible violence a spouse, a child, a sibling, a parent, a friend, a neighbor or - even - the guy who occupied the cubicle across the office from your own, I know I have never walked a mile in your shoes.  I have done even less than that.  I have never laced them up and taken even one step in them.  And I know what you know, which is that I never shall. 

I have a sense of loss that may properly be the object of ridicule, derision or even anger for any of you who suffered real loss that day.  It may in fact be so viewed by all of you.  If it is, then know simply that your feelings towards me and perhaps to others like me - who were 'impacted' by what happened that day in a manner that must seem to you to be the most vanilla, most anonymous, most superficial sense of the word - does not affect the boundless reservoir of empathy I have for you.  It cannot.  You experienced true loss that morning.  Each and every day thereafter, you have endured it anew.  It is your burden to carry.  Your cross....  


    
....I wish you nothing more than continued strength - and continuing strength, which are in fact two qualities you possess in abundant supply.  It is your bottomless reservoir of them that has carried you this far - twelve years from the day on which an entire city - and by extension the nation of which it is an integral part- had its heart broken....


....and to a point where you have not just endured but have flourished.  Much like the mythical Phoenix, you have risen up out of the ashes.  Are you all the way back?  Perhaps not.  And perhaps what you shall be going forward shall not be a replica of what once was.  But it is most indeed something.  And not a "little" something either. 



Getting here has not been easy for you.  Yet here you are.  A constant source of strength for the rest of us.  Even those who you do not know.  Even those of us who wish with all of our might that we shall never be called upon to endure for a moment what you have endured for these past twelve years.  Every great structure requires a strong foundation.  You are ours.  Do not ever forget it.  Not on any day.  Most especially, not on this day....


-AK

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