I was living in Los Angeles on September 11, 2001. I remember my first visit back home to New York for Thanksgiving that year. My wife and I made the pilgrimage to pay our respects at Ground Zero -- at that point still very much the pile of rubble with the iconic twisted facade still jutting out.
Posters of the missing were still all around -- the collages of faces of the dead. Even this seemed to be like something out of a movie, much like the falling towers and dust clouds which engulfed lower Manhattan looked like so many special effects.
I remember not wanting to look at any of it. Not wanting to see the faces on the poster board, or look at the dust knowing that indeed there was a certain variety of ash in that dirt on the shoe or store window.
But I did look at all of it.
I looked closely.
I took it all in, and I was hurting.
I was crying. Whimpering right there on Wall Street.
I was nauseous.
I felt it was the very least I could do, for while I personally knew one person who died that day, and grew up with the widow of a fallen FDNY hero, I lost no relatives. No loved ones.
Still, I felt it incumbent upon me, as an American, as a New Yorker, as a fellow child of God to feel some pain, to be at least somewhat uncomfortable. Again, the very least I could do.
Nowadays around the 11th of September you hear a growing chorus of "I can't watch that anymore" or "They're showing the buildings again? Do they have to?"
There are people who want to forget it and move on. I'd like to say I respect that, but I don't. Not one bit.
We're not allowed to move on. With the exception of the families of the victims -- I shall NEVER sit in judgement of them -- we are not allowed to get past 9-11-01.
Every network should follow the lead of Fox News Channel and replay footage of that day. School children from the sixth grade on should see appropriate video of 9/11 with high schoolers seeing everything including The Jumpers. Especially, The Jumpers. For many, the most jarring of the images that day.
Students must learn about, and we must all remember and meditate upon the evil, the pain, the loss.
We must honor the bravery, the selflessness and the calm.
We must watch the video, we must listen to the 9/11 calls.
We must remember the attack was carried out by evil Islamic extremist terrorists. Sorry, but that's a fact.
We must look at the faces and read the names of the dead.
We must hear "let's roll" and get goosebumps, we must think of the parentless children and ache.
We must watch The Jumpers and try in vain to imagine that final decision.
Think about The Jumpers.
It is the very least we can do.
RIP Joe Riverso #70. RIP Joe Spor FDNY Rescue 3.