Friday, September 11, 2009

“You have to know the past to understand the present.” Dr. Carl Sagan quotes (American Astronomer, Writer and Scientist, 1934-1996)

As the end of summer approaches, cooler mornings, warm, sunny afternoons, chilly evenings fill the air here in Western New York. First hints of autumn leaves, new beginnings, nervous children start back to school, Labor Day Weekend and a full Harvest Moon creates feelings of nostalgia filling my head with memories of a wonderful summer as I make plans for the quickly arriving autumn season.

It had been our tradition to attend the Labor Day Fair in Clarence Center since we moved here. This year the parade was an hour longer than usual. Many more community fire departments were represented in this annual parade. In addition to honoring the American Workers, Firefighters and Emergency Medical Personnel this year the fair was overshadowed by the sadness the 50 people killed in flight crash February 12, 2009.

After the parade I stepped away from the crowds, walking just a few yards down Long Street. I wanted a moment of silence in front of the the crash site within a few yards of the Clarence Center Fire station.
I will never forget the evening of the plane crash. Jim was on a delayed flight leaving Buffalo Airport on route to Savannah to spend Valentines Weekend with me. Kara said it was a particularly heavy snow when she took Jim to the airport in Buffalo. After a long delay for deicing the plane Jim's US Air flight left Buffalo barely in time to catch his connection in Charlotte. Waiting outside at Savannah Hilton Head Airport for Jim's safe arrival my thoughts turned to the people who had survived the plane crash " Miracle on the Hudson" just one the month earlier. His plane arrived around 11:00 pm, while driving back to my apartment Kara called to tell us a plane crashed in Clarence Center.

Eventually, as more information became available, I learned that my next door neighbor's daughter-in- law died in that plane crash. A fellow parishioner from, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was killed in his home along with all 49 passengers and crew on board. A student from Clarence High School was on her way home from Florida to be a Valentine date for her nephew in kindergarten. Also killed in this crash was the pregnant daughter of another friend from Nativity parish. My friend lost both his only daughter and his future grandchild in that crash. Beverley Eckert, one of the passengers killed on flight 3407, was flying to Buffalo to mark her late husband's birthday. She was a 9/11 widow.
The space is now clear, no home, no trees. All signs of the wreckage have been cleared to a vacant space. Tears flowed freely from my eyes as I felt the powerful energy radiate from the site where 50 people lost there lives. These people are dead yet not forgotten.
Today it is eight years since the tragic deaths of September 11, 2001 attack on America. Maybe you know someone who died as a result of that fateful day. In total, 2,993 people, including the hijackers, died in the attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers, Pentagon, and flight crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The death count continues to add up as emergency response workers, volunteer helpers, service men and women who are still at war in the fight to protect our country and even new reporters lives are affected by this exponentially compounding American tragedy.

Remembering the past helps me to understand how we arrived at the present while also guiding my planning the future. The lessons we learn from death it that life is too short to hate. Take a moment to remember the dead, say thank you to those who bring good into your life and look for ways to make life better for those in need of a helping hand.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails