I had intended to post my speech here today. But the editing is all messed up and I don’t have time to fix it. I will repost after I return home. It has been an incredible honor to be asked to speak today. Needless to say I am humbled and a little quiet today. My friend Bruce, as I write this is attending a 9/11 ceremony among the same FDNY members and families that he was with ten years ago and occassionaly he sends me a text telling me his thoughts as he retraces his steps. I am a witness to his memories. Brothers and Sisters, we are the generation that must continue to remember this day, for as long as we live. It changed everything.
I have to get my uniform on and prepare for the day, I leave you with the main point of the speech I will be giving:
On 9/11, we were witnesses to the greatest act of public service and self-sacrifice known to modern man. They made a difference, although it was hard to believe at the time. We know now, they saved thousands of people. They gave hope and renewed
strength to the panic stricken people in those burning buildings and provided strength through encouragement and calm presence to keep going to safety. They died trying to reach those who could not get out.
It was such a powerful thing to watch! It took your breath away. Time seemed to stand still. We were AWESTRUCK! It made you weak in the knees, it caused your heart to break like a shattered glass, it was glorious, it was horrifying, it was riveting, you could not take your eyes away even though it was so painful
to see it! It was so unbelievable that modern men would willingly commit themselves to such a death for people they did not know. They defined for us, the “Last Full Measure”, the “Ultimate Sacrifice”. They shattered the modern belief that laying your life down for another was an act from fiction novels. For who among us did not admire their bravery, their quiet, simple courage and their dedication to the job,…. laid out before all the world to witness. I have felt from the beginning that in their death they mocked the very evil and hate that had caused their sacrifice. For though there is much about the American culture to despise, there is also much to admire. And not least of which is that Ancient
Culture of Firemen that dwells amidst modern America, alive and well and which showed itself on September 11th. And through
its pain and suffering, it caused an awakening among the rest of us across the nation.
It charged us, as witnesses to the act, to be better firemen, better public servants, better mentors, better
officers, better fathers and mothers, better husbands and wives, better citizens! It inspired in us all the things that America used to believe about its firemen, its “Men of Iron”. And we can do no less in this generation than
to carry on with this honorable privilege, this ACT of service. We cannot let them down. They died believing in what they were doing. How ashamed I would be were I to not spend my LIFE, LIVING to the same ideals. Remembering Nine Eleven, Remembering All Fallen Brothers, helps us to feel these things anew, remember our duty to serve and recommit ourselves to our oath, “NEVER FORGET”.