#NeverForget September 11th (The Bench)

September 11, 2001 changed America.  Even after seventeen years, I can’t shake this dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Every time I hear a plane fly overhead.  Or, enter a high-rise building.  Or, see a fireman walking past me on the street.  Certain images and sounds would transport me back to that fateful day.

In fact, I went nearly seventeen years of not stepping foot on an airplane.  Until July of this year.

I was born in New York State, and spent the first 30 years of my life there just five hours north of where the World Trade Center once sat. I had just moved to Raleigh, NC (May 2001) when this horrific day took place.

As the events of 9/11 continued to haunt me, I decided to write a micro-story and then turn it into a microfilm, The Bench.   In a way, I did this to try and purge some of these feelings of intense sadness and of the anger over what we all had lost that day.  I wrote this from a fireman’s perspective drawing upon a specific story I saw on one of the many 9/11 documentaries.

 

I then realized I could not remember the name of this fireman.

For the next two days, I hunted online for his name as it’d been several years since I last saw his story.

Finally, I found it in this article:  Husband and Wife Survive World Trade Center On 9/11

Someone also took the iconic picture of him sitting on the bench when he couldn’t find his wife anywhere—

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although his story had a happier ending, I wrote my story with the thought of so many others who’d lost their loved ones.  And even worst, never to have their remains found.

So, let us never forget the sacrifices of all those who died on that day, and continue their legacies into our future generations.

 

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We Are All Cowards

In the end, there will be no heroes. Only cowards. It’s only human so the sooner we accept that the sooner we can get to dying.

Kind of crude? Perhaps but reality is nothing like the movies. Sure, we all like to think that we will miraculously rise to the occasion and be that hero we long to emulate from the silver screens; but, like many horror and drama flicks, even the heroes have to die.

Get a grip. You’ll never be that hero so stop thinking about it and face the reality that you’ll never be a hero, only a coward.

Always.

I wonders if writers-for both screen and paper-ever wrote themselves into their stories allowing themselves to either be the good guy or the bad guy; the hero or the villain. But I can’t think of any writer off the top of my head who would write themselves as cowards. That would be just too close to the truth, don’t you think?

I for one am a writer and many times I do write myself in stories mostly as the main protagonist who usually ends up becoming a heroine/hero of some sorts. You see I try to find something within the main character, myself, that could be of some value to others, and of course in the hope of being able to save those who I cared about.

C’mon, let’s get real. Could I really stand in the face of mortal danger and risk my life for others? Honestly, I’d probably would break out in sweat and soil myself, and then I’d run.

Unlike my characters, I am a coward through and through. There is no hope for me.

Yes, I’m belittling myself but it’s the honest truth!

I am not a soldier. I am not a police officer. I am not a doctor. I am not a firefighter. I don’t put my life on the line day in and day out for the betterment of society. It was my choice NOT to. Well, perhaps that’s not the whole truth.

I wanted to remained hidden but noticed at the same time. I want to add value to others rather than be a burden.

But…

I’m a person with not just one disability but two. For these reasons, I feel like I am less than a whole human being. Inferior to those who are able-bodied.

For these reasons, I feel like a coward and not a hero. I will always be that one to slow others down, or the first to be killed.

And that scares me beyond anything. No, not of death…but to be cause of death of countless of others who come in contact with me.

Instead of coming to people’s rescue, or helping the wounded or the afflicted, I choose to turn away and flee. Not for my benefit but for theirs.

I fear that my disabilities would hurt others more than it would help them. I much rather sacrifice myself so that they would have the time and opportunity to get to safety. To save themselves. To live.

Does that make me a coward?

So be it.