The Lady of Liberty Wept

Where were you 17 years ago today? Most people can remember that day, a day compared to the attack on Pearl Harbor. I was in my work van when the boss called and told me to go home and turn on the TV.
Terrorists had flown a hijacked passenger plane into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York, and as the world watched in unbelief a second plane flew into the south tower.
Clearly, America was under attack.
Then word came of the plane flown into the Pentagon, a strike at the center of our military.
And then came word of United Flight 93, which had crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Later we learned of the heroism that prevented that plane from reaching it’s target, believed to be the White House.
That Lady of Liberty, standing in New York Harbor, wept that day. She wept for the nearly 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center. She wept for the passengers on 4 planes who had no idea they were destined to die on hijacked planes.
She wept for the heroes, like the “man in the red bandana”, 24-year-old Welles Crowther, who saved more than a dozen people, carrying one injured woman on his back down 15 floors, while directing others to safety. Then he turned and went back upstairs with the firemen. His body was found in a stairwell with firemen who were going up with ‘jaws of life’ to cut others free.
Officer Moira Smith, 13-year veteran of NYPD, who first reported the first plane crash into the Trade Center, then ran into the building to help with the evacuation. People remembered her calm demeanor and the assurance they felt from her. She is credited with saving hundreds of people, but she did not survive.
Rick Rescola, head of corporate security for Morgan Stanley in the South Tower. When the first plane hit the North Tower, the Port Authority told Rescola to keep his people at their desks. Rescola told the caller “Piss off…” and had already ordered an evacuation. 16 minutes later more than 2,700 employees were safely out of the tower when the second plane hit it.
During the evacuation Rescorla called his wife, according to The New Yorker: “Stop crying,” he told her. “I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been happier. You made my life.”
Rescorla was last seen on the 10th floor of the South Tower, heading upward to look for any stragglers. His body was never found.
Tom Burnett, Mark Bingham, Jeremy Glick, and Todd Beamer, passengers on United Flight 93, all received phone calls from friends and family telling them of the situation. The passengers voted to fight back against the hijackers, led by this four-man group, and with the rallying cry of Todd Beamer “You ready? Okay! Let’s roll!” they did exactly that. During the fight, the plane crashed; all 44 passengers died. Lisa Beamer, Todd’s wife, wrote the book “Let’s Roll: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage.”
The Lady of Liberty still stands in New York Harbor with her torch of freedom held high for the world to see. Even though there are those who would destroy it, the Spirit of Freedom still lives; it is what makes us Americans. And though she still weeps for those who give their all to sustain that Freedom, she is proud of who we are–a shining beacon of Freedom, under-girded by faith in a Divine Power and faith in ourselves to keep and protect that Freedom.
Never forget.

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