Normally I blog about the world of romance novels. Many of those blogs talk about the heroes I love to write.
Without fail, the heroes of my books are strong, determined and courageous men. By the end of my Forever Series all of the heroes must face and overcome their worst fear for love. I like to think that any of my heroes would've run into the Twin Towers to help save the innocent victims of hate. But it's easy to write pretend heroes.
It's far harder to comprehend the amazing strength, courage, determination and dedication of the men and women of New York City's Fire Department, Police Department, and Transit Police. They charged into what must have been a nightmare beyond their worst imaginings. All of them saved lives, but not all of the life-savers were able to preserve their own.
And the men and women who went to work that day at the Twin Towers and in the Pentagon - many of them didn't make it back home either. None of the victims on the four planes survived, but one group of the victims - on Flight 93 - transformed themselves into heroes who charged the cockpit. They thwarted the terrorists' intent to kill innocent men and women in the US Capitol and they saved the building. It stands today, still, as a monument to the greatest country on earth and it stands as an eternal tribute to those heroes of Flight 93.
Thousands of America's finest men and women died on 9/11/2001. They were all husbands, wives, lovers, children, parents, grandchildren, or grandparents. And they all died for no other reason than that they were Americans. Yes, some fine citizens of many countries died on 9/11. Their deaths were, however, collateral damage - which may, if anything, make their loss even harder for their loved ones. I don't mean to diminish their deaths, but the target of the terrorists' attack was the American victims.
Again, the Americans who died that day left us only because they were Americans. None of them was specifically targeted. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - except for the fire fighters, NYPD Police and Transit Police. All of the rescuers charged into harm's way. But what had America done to earn such hatred? Nothing. Nothing at all.
The evil terrorists are from a group of people who adhere to an ideology that holds nothing as sacred as the belief that their way is the only way. They hate the way Americans live and love and they resent the way Americans succeed and persevere. They hate most what Americans love most - freedom. They wanted to destroy us on 9/11 and they want to destroy us today. They haven't succeeded and they won't succeed.
But in the decade since 9/11 all of us have had to live with the memory of that day. And too many wives, husbands, lovers, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents and friends have had to do something that may have been even harder than charging into those buildings. They've had to survive and carry on when they really wanted to sit down, give up and stop. All of them are heroes and heroines.
Too many great Americans died that day. None of them died in vain. And I'm writing this blog to say that they may have died, but they are not gone. They will never be gone. As long as we carry all of those people in our hearts, they will all stay here with us. Those we love never leave us unless we let them go.
Ceremonies will be held to honor and mourn the loss of the victims, and to remember the day that America can never be allowed to forget. As those ceremonies are held, and later, as we visit the memorial sites, we should all look around and we'll see them there, standing proud and vibrant and alive. They will comfort those who mourn them and they will embrace those who love them. And as long as we teach our children about 9/11, the victims will continue to live as victors who have already outlasted one of those who hated America most. They will continue to live long after the last adherent of the philosophy of hate has died unmourned and soon forgotten.
As long as we love them and keep them with us, neither America nor their loved ones will ever lose the 9/11 victims. We can keep those lost on 9/11 with us as victors, kept with us forever by the greatest force in all of the universe -- love.
I hope that the families feel their loved ones' presence, their comfort and their strength as we reach the tenth anniversary of their deaths and that they continue to hold onto their loved ones as the families strive, survive, succeed and endure. Those who passed in the tragedies of 9/11/2001 will be with us on 9/11/2011. If we keep them in our hearts the victims of 9/11 will be with us still as the first decade becomes the second, the third, the tenth and the twentieth.
Love is the force that will always vanquish hate and that is why those we love never leave us, unless we let them go. So we will never really lose those 9/11 victims turned victors. As always, the real losers are those who choose hatred and terror rather than love and liberty.