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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
HeroesPosted Friday, September 11, 2009, at 6:39 PM
I sat down Thursday evening with the intention of writing about Friday's Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and the enshrinement of the my all-time favorite player, David Robinson. I did this knowing full and well that tomorrow's date was September 11th 2009, and it would be the eight year anniversary of those brutal attacks that left thousands dead and forever scarred the notion of security we had always taken for granted.
It would also be the eight year anniversary of me sitting in a darkened classroom during sophomore American History with my eyes transfixed on the gruesome and terrifying events unfolding on live tv. The north WTC tower spewing smoke with no explanations as to why it was struck by a plane. The second plane crashing the south tower and the following explosion that looked like a CGI effect used in movies. The realization that this was no movie. Knowing these events were not accidents.
The eight year anniversary of me helplessly watching people jump from the upper floors of the World Trade Center towers because their only other option was being burned alive. Of being in a room with 17 people that I had known since elementary school and feeling as alone as I had ever felt in my life. Of feeling guilty that I wasn't able to stop what I was seeing. Of being glad that I wasn't there....and feeling guilty about that as well.
The eight year anniversary of my first dose of real fear. Real jaw-dropping, mouth-drying, body-numbing fear.
I've revisited that fear on each September 11th since 2001.
I should have known better than to think that I'd be able to make it through today without reliving that day through online articles and YouTube clips (lots and lots of YouTube clips). Each of the other seven anniversaries have involved tears and long talks with friends and family members about everything we remember about that day and the following months, and I'm sure that this year will be no different.
This year, however, I want it to be different. I don't want to spend the majority of my day remembering those who died, instead I'd like to recognize the heroes that kept us living. Not just living in the physical sense, but by instilling us with the courage to believe that everyone can achieve greatness. Heroes that showed us that integrity, honesty, and compassion are worthwhile traits, no matter what profession.
(I know I'm tip-toeing the line between cliche and Oprah-esque cheesy, and I'm nowhere near the world of sports. Please stick with me on this.)
On this day, the eighth anniversary of the attacks on September 11th 2001, many everyday heroes who have served as police officers and firefighters for their bravery and valor (and rightfully so). I also hope that everyone reading this takes the opportunity to think about the heroes in their life.
As for me, I've already listed that hero, David "The Admiral" Robinson.
To me, Robinson wasn't only a fantastic basketball player; he was a walking example of principle and character. Before ever winning any of his NBA titles, MVP, or Rookie of the Year awards, The Admiral had to finish his commitment with the Naval Academy (this after being the number one overall draft pick in the NBA). While he was being named to All-Star, All-NBA, All-Defensive teams, Robinson challenged local elementary students to attend college and an offered a $2000 scholarship to any student that did. Even during the twilight of his career, long after he posted a quadruple-double (the fourth player ever to do so) that included a staggering 71 points, Robinson helped establish the Carver Academy (a not for profit private school for underprivileged youth) to which he has donated more than $11 million.
It's clear that David Robinson is not only a hall of fame athlete, he's an individual who deserves to be recognized as an inspiration and positive example.
So on this day of remembrance for all those we lost on 9/11/2001, let us also remember those who do good in this world and push us to do good things.
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My name is Kevin Forch, a Stratton, Nebraska native who uses the McCook Gazette webpage to keep up on the hometown news. I am also a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who now lives in Kansas, where I work at a community college.