Over the years as library director I have been invited to speak at a number of public occasions. One of the most profound occurred in 2011 on the 10th anniversary marking September 11. My remarks proceeded a baseball game at Soldiers and Sailors Park. My dad always said that as a nation one of the worst things we could do would be to forget the great sacrifices made in the name of freedom. As you go about the business of living tomorrow remember those people who gave so much on that September day. Whatever your belief system, there but for the grace of God, goes anyone of us.
************************Soldiers and Sailors Park
St. Johnsville, NY
September 11, 2011
As you look out under the canopy of this glorious September day, a day much like ten years ago, you see our future as a nation resting squarely on the slim shoulders of these young boys; some of whom are far too young to have felt the impact of that particular fall day.
It is these boys, as well as all the children across this great nation, with their enthusiasm and excitement that have given us reason, even during the darkest of days, to keep pressing forward.
Whenever we are faced with cataclysmic events that define and shape us as individuals and collectively as a society we have no trouble at all recalling where we were and what we were doing when those events unfolded.
On this grim day a decade ago we see in our minds eyes, through the haze of an entire nation’s mourning, the images which have forever become engraved in our hearts. We often wonder how much we can possibly bear, how great a burden can we carry? The sacrifice and suffering of September 11th demonstrated to us that while we as a nation may bend, we remain unbroken.
As clear as if it were yesterday we recall the determined faces of emergency personnel and first responders and the haunted look of broken families and a devastated citizenry. Within the stillness of our minds and hearts we hear the focused words of our leaders and the comforting prayers of our pastors.
We need to remember, never forgetting that day, and all that has occurred at home and abroad because of September 11. The twin flames of hope and remembrance light our path towards the future as we continue to struggle to find a new kind of normal.
On what is probably one of the saddest anniversaries our country marks we need to keep hope alive because it is when our despair extinguishes that flame of hope our enemies claim victory.
On this day remember and pledge yourselves to never forgetting. On this same day play ball and laugh and hold your loved ones close because if there is one thing September 11, 2001 taught us it is this; how quickly things can change, almost in the twinkling of an eye.