Saturday, September 11, 2010

From the Memory Bank

We have had the privilege of sailing in and out of New York City's harbor several times and it has always been an impressive experience. My first was when I was in the Air Force returning from a tour of duty in Europe. That particular time I was sailing First Class on the famed liner United States. In First Class I was like a fish out of water - I was not comfortable sailing with notables like movie star Robert Taylor and the Lord Mayor of London. But as we entered New York harbor, like so many GI's from the past, I got goose bumps when I saw the Statue of Liberty. I knew I was home and proud to be an American.

In the mid-nineties I sailed out of and back into New York harbor again, this time on a seven day cruise to Canada and back. I felt the same way about Lady Liberty, but I was also impressed with the New York Skyline near Battery Park. As we left the view was very similar to the picture with this blog with the sun setting in the west and the World Trade Center reflecting a rosy glow. A beautiful and impressive sight and, on our return a week later,had an equally beautiful view as morning dawned over the city that never sleeps.

In May of 2001 we sailed through lifting fog into New York Harbor, this time halfway through a cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida to Montreal, Canada. The Trade Center towers loomed high over the city, and again it was a sight to behold. This time we were in New York long enough to take a tour through the city and in the process we passed by the Woolworth Building where my father had worked at one time, and right under the soaring towers of the Trade Center. Later, well into the evening, we sailed back out of the harbor passing by the same towers lit brilliantly with lights on all floors. Who could have known - who would have imagined - that in just a few short months those towers would be gone, replaced by ugly clouds of smoke and piles of debris and the remains of thousands of people.

I hope the nation never forgets what happened September 11, 2001. In many ways we will never think or live quite the same as before that date. I know it is a very special memory for me and worthy of a lot of special prayers for lives lost and lives that have to go on with that loss. I pray we never forget what happened that morning nine years ago.

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