I knew a guy in college whose birthday was September 11th. When I first learned of this I thought, wow, that will be easy to remember because he used to be an EMT. (Get it? 9-1-1 !) I thought of all the birthdays, 9/11 was probably in the top ten coolest to have. Among other things, it's not so close to a major holiday that you get hosed on birthday wishes.
I can't remember his name for the life of me, but I remember that his birthday was 9/11.
After the initial week of shock after the towers fell and we were all glued to the news broadcasts (looking away only when they would repeatedly show the scenes of people jumping), I realized that all the 9/11 tragedy made me forget my friend's birthday. We weren't close, but the 9-1-1 memory aid really made an impression on me.
I called him up with belated birthday wishes. I wasn't really sure what to say. I asked how his day was, but he said it was a real bummer that everything happened on his birthday. He said that he had made plans, but they stayed home to watch the news instead. I told him the story about why I will always remember his birthday - now more than ever, but I would remember it first as being 9-1-1, not 9/11. He said he doubted that he would ever be able to enjoy his birthday again - and he said it in a way that people say things in the movies, lacking only a cue of background forshadowing music.
Today is another anniversary for the survivors of those who lost friends and family in the terrorist attacks. This day deserves to be remembered and honored for their needless deaths. The rescue workers need to be honored (and given the best of medical care for their health problems they have acquired because of working at Ground Zero). This country needs to be honored for pulling up their boot straps and working together, for donating money, blood, prayers and their time during a dark hour of need.
These things are important to remember and protect, but the show must go on. Those of us who remember need to tell all of the stories. We need to take the batton and run with it.
I'm making a conscious effort today to send birthday vibes to my friend, Mike. I hope you're having a fantatic day and that you are able to celebrate with those you love with a blind abandon. I hope you're doing well and seizing every moment for it's full potential. I hope you have lots of cake and ice cream or beer and pizza, that you get your fill of whatever gluttonous celebration you choose tonight.
And, honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I hope you're making progress putting the 9-1-1 back into 9/11. Today my heart goes out to you and everyone else celebrating a special anniversary.
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