Remembrances on Patriot Day

A flag flies at half-mastThe September 11 terrorist attack on the United States will always evoke a special emotion in me as an American, a New Yorker and a Social Security employee. On this day, we honor the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center, in Pennsylvania and in the Pentagon. We also salute the courageous men and women dedicated to the rescue efforts. This incomprehensible event changed us all.

Fourteen years have passed since we collectively experienced the turmoil and grief of September 11. That day was difficult and emotional and we each experienced it in a very personal way.  For those Social Security employees working in Manhattan at 26 Federal Plaza who heard the first jet, felt its shock wave, saw both towers ablaze and then evacuated under extreme conditions, the memory is indelible. So, too, for the New York Disability Determination Service (DDS) employees who worked in the shadow of the World Trade Center and escaped from the blaze and the rubble of collapsing buildings.

While we were all attempting to regain our equilibrium from that day, Social Security employees around the country made special efforts to help. We showed our strength and compassion and the value of both public service and Social Security. Through our efforts, over 5,000 individuals applied for survivors and disability benefits. The Agency’s response at such a critical moment in our nation’s history was truly uplifting. Many of the survivors of those who perished had their first Social Security payment on October 3, 2001. Our Social Security programs were essential to their well-being, reminding us that Social Security is more than a retirement program.

As I reflect on the events of September 11, I am justly proud of how Social Security employees responded to those events.  Regional office, field office, program service center and teleservice center staff all worked tirelessly to reach out to the families of the victims and overcome the challenges that this tragedy presented to the agency and to us individually. I’m sure that all of us — whether we worked in Lower Manhattan or at the centers on Pier 94, Liberty State Park and DC, whether we took claims from family members by telephone or in person, or worked to ensure that 15,000 individuals whose disability files remained at 22 Cortlandt Street (the location of the DDS) were not disadvantaged or whether we assisted law enforcement efforts — will  always remember those experiences. We persevered and showed our indomitable spirit, and experienced an amazing outpouring of hope and healing as we moved forward.

Looking back at my own experiences with the families of the victims of September 11, I realize that time will never diminish the force of the stories they told. The stories were in their eyes and faces and in the pictures of the victims all around us.  I will never forget these families: a young man in his mid-20s who lost his wife of two years, had a 6-month old child at home and could never stop crying; the father of a policeman and fireman who lost both sons in their efforts to rescue people at the World Trade Center; two little boys (aged 3 and 5) playing with their father’s identification card while their grandfather applied for Social Security benefits; the pregnant mother with three children and no idea of how the family would financially survive. I cannot forget them.

Despite the highly charged environment of the days that followed, all of us at Social Security pulled together to provide support to those who lost family members and loved ones. It will always remind me that we are one family with amazing resiliency and that we will always come together to help those in their time of need.

Today, New York City is a strong, dynamic city. It has lifted itself and is moving forward. We see this by visiting the September 11 Memorial Museum and Freedom Tower. The streets of downtown Manhattan are filled with people. There is a hum in the air and an incredible energy.

As we pause for a moment of silence to remember those we lost on September 11, fourteen years ago, we should not forget those families Social Security helped, nor all the children who are now teenagers and young adults.

 

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37 thoughts on “Remembrances on Patriot Day

    • Only through our faith in God can we overcome a trajedy such as this. When we lose a loved one – the hurt can be overwhelming and forgiveness of the evildoers is hard to give. Our healing and the mending of our hearts comes from our faith and hope that time will heal our wounds. I pray that those whose lost loved ones, friends, co-workers can be healed by their faith and trust that God is always and will forever be in control no matter what happens in our lives. God bless those who survived and those who aided in those times and can now look back and reflect that the greatest gift we all have is LOVE even for our enemies and LOVE for all those who helped in putting their lives back together and the rememberance of all those who lost their lives on that day 14 years ago.

      • We do not believe that any God had anything to do with Sept 11, 2001 because we can never accept, that the abject grief and suffering that happened that day could be caused by an “ALL GOOD” or “ALL MERCIFUL” supernatural thing, We can never accept that He either caused the horror, or allowed the horror to happen, during His watch. Either way, it does not take a genius to perceive that it is both, criminal to cause it, and very criminal and malicious, to allow it to happen. Think about it, but do not bother to reply to us. But rather, just keep it to yourself, or share it with your family and friends only.

        • jonas,and other misled folks==You need to read up on a book titled the holy bible,and find out for yourself what my Lord has done to His people,numerous times throughout history, to his chosen, that is his chosen people–You may change your mind.

          • Thank you for your terse, but very kind reply. I would oblige if you would watch my kind rebuttal; But please I kindly submit, that my reply, in the form of a YouTube presentation, is certainly not suitable for the intellectually challenged. In better words, your mind must be wide open to my humble enlightenment efforts. All the Best To You..!

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgFsPGoaqZA

  1. Thank you for sharing your memories of that fateful day. Thank you for your service to the families of the those who perished on September 11, 2001.

    • …And, also waiting for us, on the other side, will be the perpetrators of the horrible deed, along with their 72 virgins for each, that awaited them in heaven. Yes, would that day’s events be considered, an act of God..?

  2. May GOD forgive and bless all who died under this horrific day, because of their tribulation we as a free country rose up to overcome and honor those who gave all and suffered so, to overcome but never forget our great loss. In GOD we trust!

  3. Beautifully written. I can’t imagine what the families went through afterward but it’s good to know Social Security stepped up to help them so quickly. I’m sure it was a huge relief for many.

    Thank you for this post.

  4. Thank you for having this remembrance to honor those victims and their families. We lost a relative that day, a young man newly married. But what I am most thankful for is what we gained that day. Strength from God to overcome hatred and work for world peace wherever we are. God bless you for your continued work to help. My prayers are with you and all of us effected by this event.

  5. I remember exactly where I was standing and the numbness I felt as we listened to the news of what
    was happening. I pray for those who lost loved ones that tragic day as well as the families of all of those who worked to rescue the victims and the trauma they must still feel today. May GOD BLESS AMERICA and remind all of us of how blessed we are to live in the United States of
    America. IN GOD WE TRUST!

  6. My wife and I honor the victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, in Pennsylvania and Pentagon. We put today morning our American Flag in the porch’s house. We never forgot the more three thousand victims of the terrible terrorist attack against this American nation.
    God bless America!
    Pierre Millet
    Cuban lawyer &
    Proudly U.S. citizen

  7. I remember, I was in the US Army Reserves. I was called in to our Headquarters, slept on the floor waiting for reports during the night. We knew that eventually will be going to war.

  8. Jonas after reading your post I feel so sad for you..to have no hope…to have nothing to look forward too after death. You seem depressed due to your health. I too have health issues, however, I do believe in God and I do believe that God has allowed us free will. Just look at the beauty all around.. look into the eyes of a young child, the beautiful colors in a birds beck..my friend I will pray that somehow you will find the inner peace that you. I am not going to try and convenience you that there is a God that is the beauty of living in this country we all have choices. I wish to live my life believing that there is good in everyone and yes as difficult as it can be at times there are some people that we have to really look deep down in side to find the beauty. May you have peace in your life. GOD BLESS AMERICAN AND GOD BLESS ALL OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMAN WHO PAID WITH THEIR LIVES TO GIVE US THE FREEDOM TO WRITE WHATEVER WE WISH!

  9. Just as I knew would happen. “comments awaiting moderation” but I do not care. By now, enough folk have read it. And if they possess any grey matter at all, they will be thinking about what they read. And since I will not be around to watch you all suffer under Sharia doctrine, I cannot begin to tell you how much I don’t care. Have a nice weekend..!

  10. It was nice reading your honor and remembering
    9/11/2001as for some of the reply I read I just shake my head
    And say Amen, Sweet Jesus

  11. Civilians were victims in this 9/11/01 tragic event. God bless those who seek balance in future relationships with foreign powers and let the military protect our soil. What a comeback America made as it usually does.

  12. God’s greatest gift to mankind and the angels only was FREE WILL. God can not interfere and take it back as it was a gift. And where was God on 9/11 when innocent people died? He was in the same place as He was when His beloved Son, Jesus died a horrible, cruel, death on the cross. His blood paid for our sins, however, we still have free will to choose good or evil. Make good choices.

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