Saturday, August 23, 2014

Footsteps and Basepaths

On Sunday, September 28, 2014, Margaret and I - along with Gidg and Jeff and thousands of others - shall participate in the Annual Tunnel To Towers Run, which begins on the Brooklyn side of the Battery Tunnel and finishes in Lower Manhattan in the shadow of the new World Trade Center.   The Tunnel to Towers Run is a labor of love for the family of Stephen Siller, one of the 343 members of the FDNY who was killed on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 while saving as many people as possible in the Twin Towers of the original World Trade Center.

Today, we shall spend a significant portion of our afternoon at Yankee Stadium.  This year, when we signed up for the T2T Run we each received, as part of our entry fee, a ticket to today's Yankees game.  As luck would have it, months after we registered for the T2T Run, the Yankees declared today to be "Joe Torre Day".  Mr. Torre's #6 shall be retired and both he and his number shall be enshrined in Monument Park.

The fall of 2001 was an extraordinary time in the history of this country.  In signficant part, no doubt, due to the murderous actions of cowards.  But in greater part due to the heroic actions of countless others.  The first responders who died that day, disregarding the obvious danger to run towards harm in the hope of extricating others - to whom they were strangers - from its clutches, set the tone.  And in the days and weeks that followed thereafter, countless others followed suit.  Not on a grand scale to be sure but in any number of small, subtle ways.  Too many in fact to ever properly calculate.  

In a very real sense, America was never better and never stronger than it was in the fall of 2001.  Far too many of us were forced to grieve for real, tangible loss whether a parent, a child, a sibling, a spouse or a partner.  And a great many of us - spared from that unfathomable pain - stepped into the breach to do all we could do to offer assistance or even simply comfort to those whose life had been fractured.  For a little while - and for far too goddamn short a while as it turned out - it was as if all of us resumed paddling the canoe in the same direction.  We renewed the promise we make to one another - the one we make without ever having to say it aloud - to do all that each of us is capable of doing in our never-ending effort to form that "more perfect Union" envisioned way back when in the summer heat of Philadelphia.  

The 2001 baseball season ended in a decidedly imperfect fashion for those of us who root for the Bronx's best apostles.  The Yankees lost Game Seven in Arizona in the bottom of the 9th inning.  Yet, while the result was not what had been hoped for, the journey that October - and early November - was one that shall remain embedded in my mind's eye for the remainder of my days.  And it shall remain so as much for all that transpired off of the field as for what took place between the white lines.  For just a little while today, watching Joe Torre accept his tribute and listening to him speak, I shall be transported back to that place and time. 

A journey that I look forward to taking.  Footsteps in which I am humbled to follow. 



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