Why we all need to be reminded of 9/11

9/11: Firemen were heroes
9/11: Firemen were heroes
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In nine days’ time, it will be the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack that shook the world.

Though anniversary doesn’t seem the right word, does it? Not for 9/11.

To mark the date of Bin Laden’s attack on the World Trade Centre’s twin towers and the murder of 2,753 people, a museum in Washington D.C. will add to its displays yet more of the poignant everyday objects found in the rubble of the towers by rescue workers.

The mobile phones that rang and rang. A wallet. Lots of little, ordinary things people put in their pockets that morning, not knowing that a few hours later, that would be all that was left of them.

And already the TV documentaries are in full-swing; showing, yet again, the images we’ve seen so many times, but are compelled to watch again. The planes hitting, smoke billowing; desperate jumpers flailing and falling through air, those mighty skyscrapers evaporating before our eyes.

Some say it’s too voyeuristic. I say it is so important. Because it stops the horror from dimming – and it reminds us not only of the power of evil, but the power of good. Take Channel 4’s The Firemen’s Story.

Those men who raced in when everyone else was rushing out were intent on saving the lives of others with no thought for their own.

One survivor, lost in the smoke just four floors from the exit, described seeing the outline of a firefighter appear like an angel through the gloom.

The firefighter shone a torch in the direction he should go in – and remained in the path of certain death.

In all, 343 firemen died – one in eight of all the victims. But they saved countless lives. Such devotion to duty is humbling and should never be forgotten.