Lizs Book Snuggery

Be a Helper!

Today is the anniversary of the unimaginable events of September 11, 2001 that forever changed the innocence of our children for a generation or more. But how will it be commemorated years from now  as memories continue to fade and people that were present at that moment etched in America’s memory, pass away.

Some of today’s children were not even born yet.

Just as the men and women that served in WWII are passing away at the rate of about 1,000 per day, the Greatest Generation that saved a world from tyranny, will pass from view and with them their singular memories.

We mark the anniversaries of important events such as births, weddings, birthdays and the like with remembrances of those times with the people we love.We say their names and recall how much they continue to mean to us, despite the passage of time. So long as a name is spoken, it remains alive in memory.

Just as pure evil was much in evidence that day, there was also, in abundance, on the other side of the ledger, the pureness of the self-sacrifice of many that stood in full view of this catastrophic event and leaned into it without regard to personal safety. Police, firefighters, EMT personnel, not to mention the average citizens in the World Trade Center buildings, supported, aided and comforted one another during the tumult.

An example of this can be read in Maira Kalman’s book, “The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey” which narrates the story of a refurbished fireboat, docked at the Hudson River that day. As news spread of the calamity, the owners proceeded to the boat. And as water lines were compromised at the site of the event, the “John J. Harvey” had the ability to pump tons of continuous water on the burning site.

It is perhaps a very normal reaction for some to be numbed by the sheer breadth of the event and its ripple effect down the decades for families affected and a nation shocked at our shocking vulnerability as a nation.

But, there is reason to put positivity at the forefront of this dark anniversary.

Perhaps, a new tradition can be started to mark the anniversary of 9/11 with your child.

Fred Rogers, Peabody Award winner for his much heralded “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” on PBS, said that his mother always reminded him as a child that in times of crisis, there will ALWAYS be helpers. “Look for the helpers,” she said to her son.

Let us say to our children, “Model IN the world what you want to SEE in the world!” BE a helper!

May that anniversary each year remind all of us and our children how much we are bound together, not just in times of terrible sorrow, but in small everyday acts of kindness and service TO and FOR one another.

Let 9/11 become a national day of service that reminds our children of the ripple effect of a simple act of kindness – and that IT TOO can change the world one person at a time.


If you ARE looking for a book to relate the events of 9/11 with the notion of HELPERS, I refer you to a book by Maira Kalman called “Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey.” It is an inspiring tale simply told of a decommissioned fireboat and the role the refurbished boat and its new owners played on 9/11. It provides a wonderful historical context to the start of the boat’s journey in the 1930’s and how the John J. Harvey ultimately finds itself in a VERY special position as HELPER on 9/11.

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