May we never forget this day of sadness

By Joan Hadac

Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge

(708) 496-0265 • [email protected]

This Saturday is a day to bow our heads in sadness and remembrance.

Even though the events of September 11 occurred 20 years ago, those of us who lived through it must remember it—in part because we could not forget it if we tried.

As time marches on, though, and an increasingly larger share of Americans has no firsthand recollection of 9/11 because they were too young or not yet born, the task of remembrance falls to those of us who recall.

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Joan Hadac

I think of how I might one day explain September 11 to my grandsons (the oldest is not yet age 7 at this point), should they ask for a class project or just out of curiosity—just as my generation might have asked our parents and grandparents what it was like to live through Pearl Harbor and all that followed.

The facts are easy enough to recount: the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and an unknown destination thwarted by the courageous passengers on United Flight 93.

But it may bit a bit more difficult to describe the feelings I had that day and in the days that followed: rage, helplessness, fear and finally, pride.

Pride doesn’t seem to fit in with the other feelings, but I was proud of all the men and women who rushed to help, despite not knowing what was going to happen. Pride in those who came from cities and towns across America to help in anyway they could. I have to give a special nod to those firefighters, police officers and EMTs who rushed toward danger as others rushed away from it.

We lost 343 New York City firefighters, 23 New York City police officers and 37 New York City Port Authority police officers that day, men and women who were “just doing their jobs.”

The victim count from that day was 2,983. Innocent people (men, women and yes, children) whose names are now inscribed on bronze panels at the 9/11 Memorial where the Twin Towers used to stand. All I keep thinking is, you cannot hug a bronze panel.

There are so many more victims, including the 10,000 plus people who have been diagnosed with 9/11-related cancer and those who have died from the disease. The families who never had a chance to say goodbye still grieve, 20 years later. The first responders have to live with the fact that so many of their comrades died.

In addition to the cost of lives lost, there was a monetary cost future generations will be paying for until at least 2092. That’s when the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund ends, according to the law signed by then-President Donald Trump. The cost is in the billions and will keep rising.

The U.S. has tightened security since then 9/11, of course. Twenty years later, we come to airports hours ahead of our flights, walk through security machines that check to make sure we’re not carrying weapons.

Homeland Security keeps a close eye on those who might threaten us.

If and when, years from now, I describe 9/11 to my grandsons, I think I’ll talk about the loss of innocence, as well as the lessons learned: that freedom is never free, even when we think it is. It’s something we must never take for granted.

Never forget.

Back to the neighborhood

This Sunday, Sept. 12 is the day for the VFW Rhine Post 2729 Auxiliary’s Penny Social. Doors open at 11 a.m. at the post, 5858 S. Archer. Admission is $2. It’s an inexpensive and enjoyable way to get together with friends. Those who enjoy shopping will be able to scout out some fun items and support the auxiliary’s many programs. Refreshments will be available.

Speaking of the Rhine Post Auxiliary, they will be meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13 at the post. All members are urged to attend. Those who would like to attend the meeting via Zoom, should contact President Laura Hogan at [email protected] and she’ll give you the information you need to connect to the meeting.

The St. Jane Ladies Guild of St. Faustina Parish will kick off its bunco season at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14 in the school building, 5201 S. McVicker. Masks are required, regardless of your vaccination status. The cost to play is only $10 per person. Soft drinks, water and coffee, along with pre-packaged snacks will be available. For more information, call Andi Pocica at (773) 610-5686.

The Clearing Civic League will hold their next meeting on at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14 at Hale Park, 62nd and Merrimac, in the preschool room, The guest will be the 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn, who will update members on the new construction going up and answer questions you might have on other subjects. Bring and wear your masks.

You can sit back, relax and be entertained by the Hale Theater Company during two weekends in September. The group presents Give My Regrets to Broadway at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 16 and 17 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19. The stage will light up again at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 23, Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 with Always a Bridesmaid. Both shows will be presented at Hale Park. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Due to pandemic regulations, masks and reservations are required. For more information and reservations, call (773) 229-1032.