September 11, 2001… I know I will never forget. I could smell the fire from across the bridge, I could see the people running, hear the crying. It was in my backyard. I lost friends that day, so did JP. So did so very many of us. People we loved, people we saw every day. People who served and protected us. There one minute; smiling, laughing, lifting up a child, gazing lovingly at a spouse, hoisting a beer, gone in an instant. An instant that seemed an eternity.
The Manhattan skyline is different now. The goodwill that permeated the City for months following the tragedy is mostly gone. Families are still fighting to protect the memory of their loved ones, often in a misguided manner. The departed aren’t scattered about, under potential buildings, in a landfill in Staten Island. The departed are in the hearts of those they left behind. Those we love who leave are never really and fully gone. They reside in our minds, in our hearts, and in our souls. The body is just a vessel, one that holds our most precious possession: our soul. But when the body is gone, the soul soars to greater heights. Don’t let manufactured, erected, and created things (or the urge to prevent such) destroy your humanity. Don’t let the search for what’s left of a vessel destroy your own soul.
Our loved ones are with us always and we don’t need the vessel to know the beauty of their souls.
All the other Firefighters, Police Officers, and EMTs that lost their lives trying to save others.