Today is Tuesday.
11 years ago today…
…Do you remember? What do you remember?
I began poliblogging in June of 2005. That year, I wrote my first 9/11 remembrance post (linked by Hugh Hewitt, btw; the radio talkshow host who first turned me onto the idea of blogging):
4 years to the day. And here we are.
I realize that many on the planet have moved on. After all, other countries have suffered many such losses of their fellow citizens as we had, many times over, through constant warfare, instability, and genocide. But this is our tragedy. And those were our citizens.
None of us should ever forget; nor allow the memory of that day ever to fade into a faint scar. Should that happen, you should take a knife to it and make fresh the wound….the anger….the loss. I don’t ever want that pain to diminish so long as the task of defeating terrorism remains unfinished. Sounds like an impossibility, you say, defeating an ideal? A way of thinking? If you believe that, then you are already defeated.
In a mass email in 2003, I had sent out the following:
It’s 2:49am as I write. Can’t sleep.
Yesterday while driving from the gym, a person on the radio was describing how sifting through the rubble of the Twin Towers, he found an adult body; and in one hand, the adult was clutching the tiny hand of a child….there was no body of the child; just the child’s hand. That image shook me back to the reality and horror of that day. The tears blurred my vision as I drove home.
I knew Ron Gamboa. Ron was on a weekend vacation trip he didn’t even want to go on. He traveled with his male companion and their 3 year old adopted son. All three perished on the second plane to hit the Towers.
When I think of Ron and his 3 year old…the image of the tiny hand holding hands with the adult’s…and when I think of all those who are no longer with us, but should be with us…and those who have had to go on in their absence…it brings back a flood of tears.
The week after the tragedy, I picked up the TV guide and took pause. I looked down at the cover as I dropped it on the counter to pay for it. The cover was a photo of the exact moment the second plane hit the Tower. I was looking at the moment of death of someone I knew; a picture of him being murdered in grand fashion.
I hope this pain never diminishes in me. Not on this day. I want to remember vividly so that I can cherish the moments I have with everyone around me.
On this day, we have nothing to apologize to the rest of the world about.
God bless those who fell; those who have survived on in their absence; those who serve and defend; and those who proudly and unashamedly call themselves Americans. God bless us all.
There’s more in my 2005 post, detailing the last time I saw Ron Gamboa.
How many of you remember what it was like to be 3 years old? How many of you can remember what you did just 3 years ago? How many of you have projected 3 years into the future, thinking that 3 years was a long time away to be planning for, that far in advance? How many of you have ever imagined what it would be like if 3 years was the average life expectancy? How would you spend your time if 3 years was all that you had left to live? 4 years to graduate from high school…4 years is the norm to earn an undergraduate degree from college. What could 3 years give you? What could you give back to the world and to your country, in just 3 short years?
At 9:03 a.m. EST, Flight 175 slammed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
I cannot tell you how painful it is to see so many images over and over again of that second plane hitting the South Tower. That was the moment we all knew it was no accident, and that we Americans were under attack. And for me, any images of that 2nd plane is an image of the moment of murder of Ron, Daniel, and David. It never fails to water my eyes or choke up my voice when I see an image still. The videos can do it too, but there’s something about a picture, where it’s frozen in time exploding into the Tower that is difficult to stare at without my eyes welling up.
Still happens to this day. Happened just now as I read that, cut, pasted, and blockquoted.
Concluded that post with this:
There are flowers adorning the boulder by the playground in West Hollywood Park that serves as a monument to David Reed Gamboa Brandhorst and his parents, Ronald Gamboa and Daniel Brandhorst. For all its simplicity, the boulder with a brass plaque is possibly the most fitting and eloquent monument to 9/11 that I have yet to see. The last words at the bottom of the plaque are familiar ones of David’s at the playground, frequently pleading, “Just five more minutes, Daddy.”
Went down to West Hollywood Park, to the Children’s Garden, to pay my respects:
David Reed Gamboa Brandhorst
June 23, 1998 to September 11, 2001
This playground celebrates the life and joy of David Reed Gamboa Brandhorst who was lost with his parents, Daniel Brandhorst and Ronald Gamboa, on September 11, 2001.
David’s boundless energy and love were a gift to his Papa and Daddy and all those who knew him. David loved to play at this park- a little boy racing to climb and swing under the watchful eyes of his Papa and Daddy.
May David’s playground always be a place of joy, laughter, and safe haven for every little boy and girl who asks for just one more trip down the big slide- or as David would say, “Just five more minutes, Daddy.”
Simple tribute videos I had done in past years…
Be sure to read this FA reader’s account of that day:
It’s 11 years later.
Another Tuesday morning.
And I still remember…
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.