As we wake up for the 13th consecutive year on a hot and muggy September 11, our minds reflect in awe of that horrific morning where our world was changed forever. As we pray for the surviving families of the victims, we know we can never fully realize the magnitude of their loss.
On each anniversary, just outside the south entrance of the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, a brief but impressive ceremony is held in Memorial Park, as well as others ceremonies around the globe. You can read the hand-written messages on sheets of plywood by the families who lost souls. Our minds drift back as we recall some of the details that have been stored in our mind’s closet for all these years.
We were able to confirm identify of nearly 1,000 bodies out of a final toll of almost 3,000. 25,000 employees were reported to have worked in EACH tower, so the death toll could have been even more tragic. People from 83 countries perished on September 11, 2001, in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. We must never forget these people.
An estimated 100 victims made a quick decision to end their life early, by jumping to their death. Nearly 500 of the 3,000 deaths were labeled ‘MOS’, or men (women) of service. Those were public servants, members of the FDNY, NYPD, and the New York Port Authority. They lost their lives trying to save those trapped inside the burning towers. May we never forget these brave men and women.
As each ‘MOS’ body was brought to the morgue, the forensic ID team stopped their work, went outside and stood motionless for a brief but moving ceremony. Taps was played by a lone bugle.
The ceremony was as moving as a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. It brought goose bumps on our skin and tears to our eyes.
Patriotism exuded from our pores. “May God Bless America.” “USA Forever!”
Let us never forget.