11 for 9/11. September 11, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: 9/11, honoring 9/11, September 11 2001
We here at Poor Richard’s Almanac—our friend Ben, Silence Dogood, and Richard Saunders—would like to pause for a moment to honor all the victims and heroes of 9/11 on its 11th anniversary. We all live in Pennsylvania, where the heroic passengers on Flight 93 chose to die rather than allow the hijacked plane to crash into the Capitol or the White House. OFB and Silence had colleagues with relatives working in or visiting the Twin Towers on the original 9/11. We also saw the second plane crash into the Towers on live TV at work, where we and our hushed colleagues had gathered in conference rooms throughout our building to see what was going on.
Our friend Ben has a more personal reason to commemorate 9/11: My beloved brother had been offered a hugely important position at the Pentagon that would have put him in one of the offices that was annihilated when the plane hit it. By God’s grace, he had declined the position because it required too much time away from his special-needs children, and was not in that office when the plane hit. (He later became Attorney General for the U.S. Army.) Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for sparing him.
Silence Dogood has another reason for remembering 9/11: Her best friend is Pakistani, and was teaching in Brooklyn, with two small children, when the terrorists struck. Suddenly, every Muslim was suspect and became a target for hate crimes, for payback, even though they were minding their own business and were as taken aback by the attacks as everyone else. Silence’s friend had the good sense to get an adorable cocker spaniel puppy, which diverted attention from her and her kids to the puppy and saved them from abuse. Others, many others, weren’t so lucky.
Today, let’s honor the 3,000-plus that were killed for no good reason. Let’s honor the heroes who died saving others. Let’s honor the rescue squads and their brave, heroic dogs who risked their lives to find survivors in the rubble. Let’s honor the families who are still trying to heal from their losses.
And let’s remember that generic stereotyping is beneath us: Because you’re a Muslim, it doesn’t make you a terrorist. This would be like claiming that all Japanese were murderous Ninjas, when the Ninjas were a specialized fanatic sect. Or that all Americans were bigoted Ku Klux Klan members. Please, people: Fanatics are always a tiny fringe. Get a grip, and recognize that the vast majority of every group is moderate and ruled by common sense.
This is the greatest respect we can pay to the fallen of 9/11: To reject extremism and embrace inclusion. America was founded on the principle of accepting immigrants from around the globe into our great melting pot, allowing each and every person a chance to become the best they could be once class restrictions were erased. And we have so many staggering success stories from those very immigrants. Please, everyone, let’s not get classist now.
God bless the fallen of 9/11. God bless the heroes of 9/11. God bless America.
—Our friend Ben, Silence Dogood, and Richard Saunders