As it's the 9th Anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, I've been thinking about the effect it has had on our world.
There are no words to describe what kind of event that was. "Tragedy" "Horror" "Terrible" None of these words are able to convey the enormity of the event. And, that's a good thing. If we had the words to talk about it, we'd be living in a world where it was commonplace. For anyone who's interested in the academics of how we discuss extraordinary events, Gail Jefferson's article, At First I Thought: A Normalising Device for Extraordinary Events, is a fascinating read. And, even though it's an academic article, it's not an esoteric read. The language is very down to earth and readable.
Tragic as that day was, there was some good that came out of it. The individual stories of heroism, strength and fortitude. The stories of those who sacrificed themselves on the 4th plane, refusing to be the tool of those who would do evil. The stories of those who risked everything to help as many people escape the towers, many of whom did not make it themselves. And, of course, the marvelous miracles of those who helped and did escape. To you, whether you've dedicated your lives to helping others as emergency response personnel, or whether you're the average joe who stepped up on that anything-but-average day, I thank you. I thank you for not being human - for being super-human and doing what needed to be done. Some of those acts were extraordinarily dangerous. Others were quiet. All were heroic.