Words can not truly describe the emotions that I experienced this past weekend. September 11th is such a solemn day in history. It is almost impossible, especially if you live in the NYC area, to wake up on September 11th and not immediately be brought back to that day in 2001.
So many of us were affected that day. Some more than others, but around the NYC area, we were all touched somehow. Knowing that I was being honored at Yankee Stadium made the day exciting, but yet it was clouded by the events that occurred 15 years ago. On top of that, to be presented with the Heroes for Tolerance award made it just that much more emotional. There was almost a guilt that I woke up with for being excited for the day.
First, in the "private suite" amongst our "closest 80 friends" I was honored to stand next to Ira Goldstein and Lisa Wisotsky and accept our awards. After the ceremony and brief words from dignitaries and leadership from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, we were escorted down to the field to be announced in front of the entire stadium.
Wow, is all I can say.
Forget the fact that we were standing on the field at Yankee Stadium, forget about the fact that we were projected on the jumbo screen and forget about the fact that it was televised live on the YES network, the most amazing part of the whole experience was the fact that I was even there. It was beyond humbling to be included amongst the real heroes of 9/11. A group of people in the military were on the field with us. We had the extreme honor of meeting them and even taking some pictures. When they asked us what we were representing, I have to admit I got a little embarrassed. I told them that we had been given the Heroes of Tolerance award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, but then I quickly added that the true heroes of the day were them. Without them and without their selfless act of serving our country none of us would be able to be here. I then got to see NYC finest walk on the field, police officers that risk their lives everyday to protect each and every one of us. These are my heroes.
After the day, on my way home, I got a text from one of my closest friends that attended the ceremony. 9/11 has always been a hard day for her to get through. I will share one small part of the text that moved me to tears:
"I will always remember 9/11 for what happened in 2001, but now it will mark the day that my friend was able to inspire the world."
People experience tragedy everyday. People experience hatred every day. My only hope out of all of this is that the message of tolerance will slowly begin to heal the wounds that have been cast, and that, hopefully, we can start to affect change, one person at a time.
#Together we will #NeverForget!!