The featured website this month is not an Alberta based website as is typical. It is the website of Huffington Post – Canada. Like many people around the world who are still trying to make sense of what happened on September 11, I was riveted with watching the September 11, 2011 memorial on CNN with a lot of sadness in my heart. I listened to Joe Biden make a speech that made me cry and the tears began to flow. They were not tears of sadness but tears of gratitude for the many heroes called upon and created that day. While the programming ran with the backdrop of the horror of the planes hitting the towers filled with innocent people, thankfully, the focus of the programming on CNN today was on the heroes. Many of the heroes died that day and many more were born.
One of the heroes that didn’t survive or even know his daughter considered him a hero was the father of a 14 year old girl. When she was interviewed as one of many people interviewed for the show she said, with tears in her eyes that she’ll likely have whenever she thinks about her father, she said “When my friends complain about something their dad did or didn’t do, I think about how much wished I still had one. I don’t think they appreciate what they have.”
I will take two things away with me from my memories of September 11 both the bad ones and the good ones. Joe Biden’s speech in which he spoke to the survivors in the audience who had lost a son, daughter, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, cousin, colleague or friend that day. Struggling to keep his emotions in check he said, there is no amount of speeches or ceremonies or words that will ever replace your loved one. All I can say is that I hope that when you think about them, “you’ll have a smile on your lips before the tears come to your eyes.” He said a lot more things like that that my lifted my sad heart for the many people impacted by the death of someone they loved that day and forever after.
The other thing I will take away with me today, is 12 minute piece CNN aired called “Boatlift: The Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilence.” Tom Hanks narrates the epic story of the 9/11 boatlift that evacuated half a million people from the stricken piers and seawalls of Lower Manhattan. It was the largest evacuation by water in history. Even more amazing is the fact it was orchestrated by ordinary people with the help of the Coast Guard. While it is distressing enough to think about the many police officers and fire fighters going in the direction of the danger with many losing their lives, while everyone else was running in the opposite direction to save themselves, Michael Ignatieff said it best in his article in the Globe and Mail today, “The men and women in uniform who climbed upward into the fire displayed virtue beyond measure or praise.” It’s something else altogether to see ordinary people going towards the danger in order to save people they have never met without any hope of reward but the life they still had. Many heroes died that day but many more heroes were born. Produced and directed by Eddie Rosensteins. Eyepop Productions, Inc.
Why do I and so many people find solace in this short film? Again Michael Ignatieff expressed it best,
We cannot live without faith in others, so we draw inspiration from the courage shown by rescuers and survivors.
BOATLIFT was executive produced by Stephen Flynn and Sean Burke and premiered on September 8th at the 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Summit: Remembrance/Renewal/Resilience in Washington. The Summit kicked off a national movement to foster community and national resilience in the face of future crises. See www.road2resilience.org to become a part of the campaign to build a more resilient world. The film was made with the generous support by philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, Chairman Emerita, TotalBank (www.arsht.com)
You might also want to check out the website that launched today to support the September 11, 2001 memorial built in the footprints of where once the two World Trade towers stood.
Why am I featuring Huffington Post Canada’s website in a blogTfocused on Alberta based media? Because had there been no Huffington Post, I would never have found this video to share it. After it aired on CNN, I tried to find a reference to it online and after fifteen minutes of trying to find the right key words that might bring it up on my screen, I found it on Huffington Post – Canada.