Sunday, September 11, 2011

Toledo Remembers 9/11

Photo: St. Patrick’s Church interiors with special Firefighters' memorial (upper left); Bagpipers, all firefighters, who played mournful tunes and taps; a Toledo Firefighters' Museum truck; full moon and sunset over Sylvania at the end of the day.

The 10th anniversary of the unthinkable, the unimaginable. The terrorist attacks in New York, at the Pentagon, on the fields of Pennsylvania, the heroics of Flight 93. I still find it surreal. I remember watching on TV, horrified, as those planes headed straight for the Twin Towers, in real time, not virtual, not reporting, in real time, and people flying out of windows, first responders going in and never coming out, the towers collapsing, people in shock covered in white ash like statues.

This 9/11 I went to The Historic Church of Saint Patrick with Elissa to attend a special Firefighters Mass. This is a church whose steeple was struck by lightening and destroyed in 1980. The Toledo firefighters saved the rest of the church, and the steeple was later rebuilt. A grateful St. Patrick’s built a beautiful firefighters’ memorial inside the cathedral, and continues to support the unique Firefighters Museum. A partnership made for 9/11 remembrances, the secular and the sacred.

Toledo firefighters and their families and friends filled the church and participated in the Mass. As part of the commemoration they rang a bell three times, a firefighters' tradition, to remember those who gave their lives. It made me think of Hemingway’s “Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for you.” It tolls for those who died and for those who remember. America will never forget.

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