Category: Archive

Echo Editorial: Just like yesterday

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

There are yet intimate reminders of the immediacy of a day that is carved forever in the annals of infamy.
Most obviously there is still the great void that was once dominated by the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Yes, rebuilding has begun but even when construction in Lower Manhattan is complete we will be reminded of what once so violently occurred by the soaring presence of the new, and the heartrending absence of the old.
For the families of the almost 3,000 people who died, the fifth anniversary of 9/11 will bring back a torrent of emotion and memory. Time might heal, but anniversaries are emotional jolts along its passage.
A further reminder that we have not yet moved fully from under one of history’s darkest clouds is the fact that only now are government agencies beginning to fully recognize the health toll on responders and rescuers who clawed desperately at the ruins of the towers in the hours and days after planes full of innocent people were crashed into them by cold-blooded fanatics.
We can never bring back the dead. But we can comfort the bereaved and we can, and must, help those who risked their own lives in what was, quite simply, a war zone.
The fifth anniversary, which falls this year on a Monday, will be marked by solemn memorial events, not just in New York City, at the Pentagon or in Shanksville, Pa., where United Flight 93 crashed into a field, but in all corners of the nation and around the world.
One of the commemorative events will be the unveiling this Sunday of “The Rising,” a memorial in Westchester County, just north of New York City, to the 109 county residents who perished on 9/11.
The memorial will include 83 inscriptions and dedications from families who lost loved ones in the attack. The words of tribute were painstakingly gathered by county employee Adele Dowling.
The raising of “The Rising” also benefited from the experience and fundraising skill of Jim Houlihan, a pivotal figure behind Westchester’s memorial to the victims of Ireland’s Great Hunger.
Dowling and Houlihan are but two of many who have given of their time to the fifth anniversary effort. If 9/11 gave birth to any good, it was the sense of how we all need to stand and work together to make the world a better place.
There will be reminders of this in the coming days as people join in common cause to say homage to the dead, the injured, those who still grieve and those who now suffer health problems because of their bravery and devotion on a day that changed our world.
From a purely Irish perspective we take this opportunity to remember those Irish-born and Irish-American victims of the attack on America.
But not for a moment will we forget that people from dozens of countries, people of every race, creed and color, were struck down by evil men on a day when the sky was impossibly blue, the air warm with the memory of a summer just fading.
Sept. 11, 2001 seems just like yesterday. It will just so for many, many days yet to be.

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