Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th.

21 years ago tonight, we went to bed thinking tomorrow was going to be just another day… The memories of that fateful day never seem to stop.

In fact, I believe they’re becoming more and more vivid as we passed the ten and fifteen-year marks, and now, twenty-one, a milestone number that we’ve come to know as an entry to adulthood, a defining number between generations. Could 9/11 really be that long ago?

Certainly, the questions continue. Many say, never forget! I say, How could we possibly forget? 21 years and the tears still flow, hearts still ache and still, it’s hard to understand why and how this could have possibly occurred… and on our soil, in our backyards, to our friends, classmates and loved ones??

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” George W. Bush

I’m still mesmerized by the events of 9/11… It’s so hard not to get caught up in all the reminders on TV, replaying the events, new documentaries, review of thousand-page reports, theories of blame and on and on. And of course, social media.

That being said, I guess it’s good that it’s all front and center as we do need to remember as we must never forget, never surrender. More importantly, it brings to mind the unselfish acts of first-responders, whose acts of courage and heroism are beyond words, beyond even what many could ever possibly imagine.

Being from New York and knowing families of firemen and policemen I have seen some of what is referred to as a true brotherhood. But it’s more than that. Sure it’s definitely a close-knit group, often of generation after generation of friends and family working together, living together, laughing together, crying together…

But the thing they do more together than anything is to serve and protect others, together.

To all the brave, and to all the victims, and to all the families affected by 9/11, my prayers continue for you every day. To friends that perished, I’ll never forget you. It’s all still so hard to believe…

Of course, there are so many images that are posted to remember the tragic events of 9/11. Many have been developed very tastefully and respectfully to honor those that lost their lives that dreadful day.

Others have also been developed quite well to honor America and to exemplify our resolve as citizens to protect our great nation at all costs, and especially the freedoms many have sacrificed their lives protecting.

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However great those images of honoring and remembering, I respectfully choose to share the ones above that show the true human emotions of that day. It’s these images that have been etched in my mind that will never allow me to forget the human loss and the lasting effect this horrible event has had on so many individuals and families to this day.

I’ll never forget the images of the many policemen, firemen, emergency medical technicians and other first-responders that were there at Ground Zero… Yes, I will never forget! We must never forget!

It’s certainly going to be a tough few days as image after image similar to the ones above will appear on social media about 9/11. My mind will wander as so many questions remain unanswered, a tragedy of unthinkable magnitude, so many families affected and for years to come.

Tears will fill my eyes as I see graduation photos of of high school classmates, friends that perished. It feels as if time is slowing to a crawl as 9/11 approaches, and especially now with the backdrop of crime in our cities including NYC. Still, the memories vividly stand out like it were yesterday.

Could it really be 21 years since that fateful day? Could it be that most of our youngest generation was born after that day? I was born in 1957 with the end of WW II only twelve years prior and just sixteen years after the attack on Pearl Harbor! Yet, WWII seemed so distant when I was a kid.

Anyway, it’s still tough for me to believe as I try to set aside emotions and make tomorrow about those who deserve to be honored for their courage, selflessness and sacrifice. I wish the world could pause so we may shine the spotlight on the heroes of that day. They and their families deserve it.

I can’t help thinking about John Lennon’s song, Imagine. It just seems right for the moment.

”Imagine all the people. Living life in peace. You may say that I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will be as one”

With so much uncertainty and divisiveness in our great country, how the past two and a half years have affected all of us, and now with the anniversary of that fateful day, this morning finds me deep in thought about friends and family, and especially those I haven’t seen or spoken to in quite some time. I love you all!

Much has changed and continues to change. Certainly, that has been the case over the past 21 years. I hope and pray we can, and will come together again as we did after 9/11. The challenges we’re facing, at times seem insurmountable one person at a time but as families, friends and communities pull together, stay together, and be strong for each other, we can overcome current and future challenges.

So today, let’s reach out to friends and family and strengthen or even reestablish those relationships – the bonds of friendship, the bonds of family, the bonds of communities… all are bonds of Americans that benefit us all. Let us realize that, “United we stand, divided we fall” are words to live by

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I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!