Karen Fassuliotis: 18 Years Later

Submitted by Karen Fassuliotis

Every September 11th I have watched the reading of the names of those that perished that day in 2001. I have not had the courage to attend a September 11th memorial service, nor have I been to New York City to view the September 11th Memorial or go through the museum. Some 18 years later I am still dealing with my emotions and what I witnessed that day in downtown Manhattan.

I can say that it has gotten a little easier, but not by that much. As I sit here writing this the tears are streaming down my face. I was there. I saw firsthand what transpired that day. I was not in the two towers but I was a block away and an eyewitness to what happened. It was real, not a dream. It still is vivid in my mind. I close my eyes, as I do every September 11th , and I am transported back in time. For those who were not there and have never been to war you cannot imagine that day. I hope that you will never have to.

But this is not about me. This is about the memory of those who gave their lives that day. The ordinary workers, who made it to their offices, never to return home. It is about the first responders, who I will never forget, as they rushed to the carnage, while others fled, including me. They are the people we should honor. Their images forever frozen in time – young and old – many of whom never got to hug their spouse, daughter, son or loved one, never got to see their children grow up or see their grandchildren born. And today, in my own way and without fanfare, I honor all of those that worked the pile afterward and are now suffering the after effects of their valiant efforts. I have not met any of them but they are always in my thoughts and prayers. I honor their sacrifice and their heroism. Without them our lives would have been very different.

There are many times that I wish I had not witnessed what occurred on a beautiful September day in 2001. I know my life would have been very different had I not. I would not have opened up my own law firm two years later or have been able to volunteer to give back to a town I love.

But the reality is that September 11th did occur, thousands of innocent lives were lost, thousands of other lives were changed forever, and it is up to me and others to make sure that the world remembers that day so that no other person will witness what I did some 18 years ago. We must always remember. We must never forget.