Tuesday, September 11, 2001. My beloved cousin, Rich Nielsen, died. Not in New
York. Not in Washington, D.C. And not in Pennsylvania. Cancer cells had been
attacking his brain for some time. He knew death was imminent.
The same day, thousands of others died in a number of terrorist attacks. One
moment they embraced the promise of a clean, fresh day; the next, they were
either dead or dying.
Within moments, people raced toward the disasters, committed to helping in any
way possible. In New York, Police, firefighters, the military, and other entities
and individuals rushed to help. Many of these people died, as well. Those who did
not continued putting their lives at risk, desperately seeking any sign of life
in the gray, sooty rubble.
Onlookers helped rescuers with no thought of return. Hospital and emergency
personnel began caring for the wounded and dying. Nearby restaurants began giving
food to the rescue crews. People nationwide began donating blood, money, even
These murdered people were--in the broadest sense--my brothers and sisters. The
rescue teams, anonymous people on the street, restaurant owners, police,
firefighters, doctors, nurses, EMTs, and many others are also my brothers and
Those involved in the three rescue activities will live the rest of their lives
with memories too horrible to bear. We must honor these people who put the needs
of others ahead of their own, and in so doing paid a great price.
On September 11, many people died believing in freedom as a way of life. How can
we not, then, as a country, fight for everyone's right to live in a country where
freedom is essential?
Rich Nielsen's long, hard battle ended on September 11. His obituary will
probably be lost in light of other events. The others who died that day in
terrorist attacks didn't have a choice. The most significant obituaries the
United States can write for these people will be reflected in its actions and
resolve as a nation and as the leader of the free world.
Terrorists' evil acts can never destroy the resilience and courage of America's
people, where we are all brothers and sisters. And the star-spangled banner
forever shall wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
TOP OF PAGE
Polite Present: Manual of Good Manners, 1831
Excerpts from a charming, serious 2 1/2" x 4" book published in 1831 by Munroe & Francis.
Enter not into company without a bow.
Put not your hand, in the presence of others, to any part of your body not ordinarily discovered.
Sing not, nor hum in your mouth, while you are in company. Stand not wriggling with your body hither and thither, but steady and upright. Play not wantonly like a mimic, with your fingers or feet.