9/11 – A Personal Tribute
September 11, 2011 by Marty Rouse, National Field Director
When I was in High School on Long Island, NY, a friend’s younger brother told me and everyone he knew that he wanted to grow up and be a pilot. He was around 12 years old then and I remember him being, smart, polite and full of energy and excitement about life.
A few weeks after 9/11, I learned that he was the First Officer on United Airlines Flight #93 that was hijacked on 9/11 and crashed in Pennsylvania.
This past July, I was back in New York to help celebrate the first day of marriage equality. In downtown Manhattan, I was standing outside with hundreds of others to cheer as the first gay and lesbian couples legally married in New York exited the City Clerk’s office smiling broadly and holding up the their marriage certificates. At one point I looked back over my left shoulder and saw the bright blue sky, and for a moment I shuddered remembering that the twin towers used to be standing there in that background.
As New Yorkers, as Americans, and people around the world remember the events of a decade ago, I know that I have grown to have a greater appreciation for every breath I take and cherish the time I have with my family and try to connect with the world in a more meaningful way.
Today I think of Leroy and am so proud of him for having fulfilled his dream. My thoughts of him inspire me to make a difference every day.
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