I see all of these posts of 9-11, "Never Forget" & "Always Remember", JPGs etc… I normally don't get into my personal thoughts bout certain things but as I sit on this flight from Las Vegas back home to Philly, I can't help but feel terribly sad. I remember 9-11 with great detail. I am from New York and I was living in New Jersey and I was working at Weisleder Lincoln Mercury Mazda. I remember listening to the radio on the way to work and hearing the news and not really comprehending it at first. I remember really being freaked out when I heard there were multiple attacks in New York and in Washington. It was just so surreal… When I got to work, everyone was gathered around the TV in disbelief. I remember watching in silence as the world changed forever. I remember, my wife (ex wife now) calling me hysterical, she was home with our infant daughter and didn't know what to do. So, she met me at the dealership. We were call glued to the TV, we just could not believe what was happening. I can not explain it. We were about 1 hour away from New York City and didn't know what to think. I had a lot of family still in New York at the time, friends, partners etc… It was just a horrible day.
I remember through the darkness that there was so much love and so much kindness. I remember the FDNY and NYPD first responders were getting so much love and support from everyone. There was none of this #BlackLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter on 9-11 #AllLivesMattered!
Approximately 3,000 people lost their lives that day… For What?
… I still don't know?
I remember 6 days later I flew from JFK Airport in New York to Moscow, Russia. That was CRAZY and scary! There were soldiers in the airports with Machine Guns. That was NOT a normal site back then at all.
I will NEVER forget for the rest of my life the magnitude of love and respect I saw in Russia for New York, for America… for me. First experience I had in Moscow was at the American Embassy. There were ROWS and ROWS of flowers from Russians in support for America. It was so incredibly beautiful.
But one of the most incredibly kind things that has ever happened to me was in Moscow in a place called the "Arbat". It is kind of like the "Village" in NYC or "South Street" in Philly. I was with my Russian Family and there was this painter selling paintings but this man was only half a man. Literally, he was missing an arm and a leg from his left side. This man made his living by painting scenery of Moscow and such. He asks me in Russian were I was from and I told him "New York". This man looked at me in my eyes with such sadness and says "I am sorry for you" (I am tearing up just remembering this story). I looked at him shocked. This man has half a body and sells paintings on the street just so he can eat is sorry for ME? Then he hands me one of his paintings and says "For You"! I can not even explain how I felt… 14 years later, I still am blown away by his altruistic gesture and kindness. I tried to pay for the painting but he would not allow me to. I still have that painting and it hangs in my home as one of my most prized possessions.
My love for Russia and the Russian people was forever solidified from that trip. I wound up taking 5 additional trips to Russia from 2001- 2006 (I am happy to say that Karen Uriarte-Bradley and I are planning a trip back in 2016).
But like anything else time tends to fade memories… How soon the world forgets. Today they say "Remember 9-11"… "Never Forget"???
I do NOT understand how 14 years later things are a HORRIBLE MESS!
So, Bin Laden was killed. And what? Iraq, Syria, Libya, Palestine… AKA TERRORISTS are causing havoc! ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah etc…
And Iran??? What are we doing with this Nuclear Deal with Iran? these people say "Death to America"… "Death to Israel". These people are not pretending. They are PLAYING FOR KEEPS.
Most people are NOT paying attention to what is going on. Just like the day before 9-11-01. Most people were oblivious to the reality of how serious things were. Well, folks they have NOT gotten better. They have gotten worse.
I pray for all of the Victims of 9-11. I pray for their family and friends and everyone effected from that horrific day. I pray for all of the First Responders, the FDNY, the NYPD.
I pray for all of the Soldiers that went to War in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and everywhere else in this word to fight terrorism.
I pray for all of the Federal Agencies that have done all they have done to fight terrorism.
I pray for us all, that one day we can live together in peace. As a parent of 4 children, I pray for their future.
God Help us all-