I'm sort of in the process of just working on what is speaking to me at a particular moment. That's very common for me right now. --Bruce Springsteen, January 9th, 2014

Saturday, September 12, 2015

"Honor's Ultimate Sacrifice"

Blogging Friends.... Question. What event in history has undoubtedly had an impact on your entire Life and therefore effected the person that you are today? For me? It was Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. No, I did not lose anybody who I knew personally in that horrific tragedy. I don't have any familiar names, pictures or faces that I remember every year like many do. I actually reside thousands of miles away from where the World Trade Center was located!! However. I was seventeen years old--young, clueless, naive and living in "La-la Land"--I'd never paid any attention to a breaking news story none whatsoever. My little world felt safe. Secure. Sheltered. But Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 changed all of that. Oh, those terrorist attacks did shake me, wake me.... And break me emotionally. I was much too young for such a cruel Reality check. As resulted? Let's just say that I greatly mishandled this tragedy emotionally. However. That is why I'm so resilient and move on as fast as I do!! I have since read about 9-11 victims' loved ones' real, still raw, vulnerable losses. Which--I believe--explains my odd interest, understanding, and compassion toward grief!! So.... I guess I can safely say that not only has Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 had an impact on me. But it's changed my Life!! I would then spend the following year afterward dealing with complex thoughts, feelings and emotions in the only way that I know how. Writing!! I composed several poems--Little Miss Perfectionist says that they all suck--but each and every one were very therapeutic!! This.... Is a 9-11-themed story. It's loosely based on my poem--entitled "America's Heroes"--that I composed approximately three days after turning eighteen. This story is entirely fictional. Love you later.

I had a plan. And it was a good one!! I planned to post this fictional story yesterday. However. In between editingediting, and editing this story, plus dancing to Bruce Springsteen's 9-11-inspired album, "The Rising" I ran out of time!! Ah well. My plans always change, anyway!! Bruce's album, "The Rising". It is--in my opinion--very, very, very good!! I highly recommend that any fellow Bruce lovers--er, fanatics!!--who read/follow my Blog listen to it!! Bring your tissues. Feel everything. Oh, and smile!! Because, yes, Bruce even makes an emotional 9-11-inspired album fun!!

Confession. I danced to "The Rising", like, three times while creating this fictional story!! Hey, an artist must find her inspiration somewhere!! Right?! That being mentioned? Bruce's song, "Into The Fire" from "The Rising" definitely inspired this fictional story!! Aw.... Thanks, Bruce!!

"Honor's Ultimate Sacrifice"

Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. It began just like any other pre-Autumn morning in Manhattan, New York. The leaves on trees were turning brilliant hues of yellow, orange and red. Parents drove their children to various different schools. Dog owners took multiple canines on walks. Men and women drove to work in the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Beautiful blue skies hovered over that borough. New York City firefighters dutifully awaited for their alarm to sound, urgently calling them toward dangerous situations. Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. It began just like any other pre-Autumn day all around the world and America. Pilots prepared their flight destinations. And passengers boarded airplanes. Just as they always do, flight attendants prepared themselves for their jobs.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. No parent, no dog owner, no office worker, no pilot, no flight attendant, no passenger, no firefighter, no cop, no American, no citizen of New York City--not anybody--could have ever predicted the tragedy which would unfold that pre-Autumn morning. For on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, terrorists boarded twain airplanes, hijacked those doomed jetliners, crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and--as resulted--they murdered over 2,000 innocent people. It was simply an unthinkable attack against America. For no parent, no dog owner, no office worker, no pilot, no flight attendant, no passenger, no firefighter, no cop, no citizen of New York City--not anybody--could have ever predicted that--as resulted--the twain 110-story tall twin towers would collapse to dusty, blood-stained, rubble.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. Viviana began that unforgettable, historical morning just like any other weekday. She awoke early at the annoying sound of her clock's alarm as it blared nonstop. As usual, Viviana's husband, Robert, had already left hours ago for his job. She read in bed before reluctantly working out on an exercise bike. Viviana then took a relaxing shower and got dressed. Glancing at her watch, she wolfed down an incredibly quick breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios before driving to work at the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. New York City fireman, Honor, began that unforgettable, historical morning just like any other weekday. He read the newspaper to keep himself informed with yesterday's events. Surrounded by his fellow firemen--named Triumph, Patriot, Noble, Justice and Courage--Honor ate homemade, cheesy, sausage omelets for breakfast.

"Mmmm!!" said Triumph, "This is one tasty sausage omelet!!"

"I agree!!" said Noble, "It is spicy.... Just loaded with sausage!!"

"And it is very cheesy!!" said Justice, "Well done, Patriot!!"

"Wait a minute," said Courage, "You mean that Patriot--the practical jokester and prank-playing one among us--didn't throw in some additional spices this time around just to burn all of our taste buds?!"

Courage would not even take one bite.

"Nope!!" said Honor, "He did not. This sausage omelet is really delicious!! It's maybe even one of Patriot's best so far!! Trust us!! It is good!!"

Courage timidly took a bite of the cheesy, sausage omelet.

"Wow!!" he exclaimed with his mouth still full, "I stand corrected. This is one tasty sausage omelet!!"

"Thank-you!!" said Patriot in a cocky, I-know-it-is manner, "Now pass me some orange juice!!"

However. After just one sip of his orange juice, Patriot's face turned sour and he did a spit take!!

"Whoa!!" protested Patriot, "This is not orange juice!! There's a lemon taste to it!! Who did this?!"

And then Honor unintentionally gave himself away!! By smirking!! For he never did have a very good poker face!!

After breakfast, Honor ran treadmills and lifted weights alongside his fellow firefighters. Then he took a relaxing shower before awaiting the alarm to sound, urgently calling them toward dangerous situations.

And on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001--tragically--it did.

"There has been an American Airlines jet that's just crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center...." their radio dispatcher, Liberty, announced at 8:46 AM.

She mentioned its address, but neither Honor, Triumph, Patriot, Noble, Justice or Courage listened. For they very well already knew where the North Tower of the World Trade Center was located!!

"Wait. What?!" exclaimed Honor, with shock in his voice, "An airplane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center?! A jetliner?!"

"Yes," Liberty urgently said, "You boys had better hurry!!"

But Honor, Triumph, Patriot, Noble, Justice and Courage were already in their bright red fire engines driving, its sirens wailing!! Within a nanosecond, they arrived at the scene!! Honor could literally feel his heart stop beating at what he was witnessing. Black smoke billowed out of the North tower and freely rose against Manhattan, New York's flawless, beautiful, clear, blue skies. Honor swallowed hard. Complex thoughts, feelings and emotions immediately overwhelmed him.

"Oh.... My...." said Honor.

"This is bad," said Courage with panic in his voice, "I mean. This is really, really, really bad!! A jetliner crash. An incredibly tall tower. Heaven only knows how many people we will need to rescue!! Oh, this is so bad!! How on Earth will we even rescue all of these poor people?!"

"By putting our training to the ultimate test," said Honor, "Your name is 'Courage'. Now live up to it!! Let's go, let's go, let's go!! We do not have any time to lose!!"

Honor, Triumph, Patriot, Noble, Justice and Courage hurriedly exited their fire engine. They bravely ran toward the North Tower of the World Trade Center. However. Before either of them even arrived, at 9:03 AM, they witnessed yet another jetliner as it crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

"Oh my gosh!!" shouted Patriot.

"There has been a United Airlines jet that's just crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center," said their radio dispatcher, Liberty, "Which you very well already know. I am sorry for stating the obvious. I'm just doing my job."

"Thank-you, Liberty!!" said Honor.

Soon, several other fire engines, ambulances and paramedics arrived at the scene. For they had been urgently called toward this dangerous circumstance as well. And neither Honor, Triumph, Patriot, Noble, Justice--not even Courage--thought twice about what to do!! Perhaps it was an instinct. Or years of continual training. Perhaps it was a selfless desire to help everyone who had found themselves trapped in the 110-story tall towers. Either way? Honor, Triumph, Patriot, Noble, Justice and Courage heroically stepped foot into the burning towers!!

With such a daunting task ahead, they split up. Triumph, Noble, Justice and Patriot were assigned the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Which was an order that they obediently heeded!! Into the flaming, smoky, unstable tower, Triumph, Noble, Justice and Patriot entered!! Up its stairs--floor, after floor, after floor--they marched, searching for survivors!! Because on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, this was their calling!! Honor and Courage were assigned the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Which was an order that they obediently heeded!! Into the flaming, smoky, unstable tower, Honor and Courage entered!! Up its stairs--floor, after floor, after floor--they marched, searching for survivors!! Because on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, this was their calling!!

Honor found a terrified Viviana trapped inside her office cubicle beneath scorching, hot, fallen rubble. She was badly injured. There were third degree burns on her arms, legs and face. As resulted, Viviana's skin was peeling off. Her arms, legs and face were bleeding. Bruises had quickly began to cover those specific bodily areas. She repeatedly gasped for breath, as the air around her was unbearable. And yet? Viviana had used up what little physical energy that she had left to weep.

Will I live through this....? she thought, Things are not looking very positive for me....!! Even if I do live through this, my burns will eventually heal up and serve as ugly, unwanted, permanent scars.... Reminders that I did survive this.... Oh.... Reminders that I have literally lived up to the meaning of my name being 'alive'.... I know this Reality all too well, because Robby works at a burn unit.... Oh my.... Robby!! I have to survive this hell so that I can be back in my husband's loving arms!! I just have to!! We never even said goodbye....

Then Viviana saw Honor!!
  
"Help...." she somehow managed to say, "Mister Fireman.... Help me.... Please...."

And help Viviana, Honor did!!

"Relax," he calmly said, "I am going to get you out of here!! I promise!!"

Honor strapped an oxygen mask onto Viviana's face. With twain strong, muscular arms, he lifted rubble off of her body. To their terror, the tower then shifted a little. Viviana screamed through her oxygen mask. Honor gasped. Instinctively, he lifted Viviana up out of her office cubicle and slowly--yet quickly--carried her toward safety. But this proved to be a harrowing, daunting task. Because with nearly every single unsteady step, the tower shifted some more. Viviana clung tight to Honor's body.

"Hang on!!" he said, "I am going to get you out of here, honey!! Alright? I promise!!"

Taking an elevator down is definitely not a possibility considering this situation, thought Honor, I will have to use the stairs.

And step, by step, by unstable step--while still carrying Viviana--Honor did just that. Although there were countless challenges along the way. Scorching, hot debris repeatedly flew in Honor's and Viviana's direction. The tower shifted some more several times. Its stairs were extremely unsteady. But step, by step, by step--as Courage followed closely behind--Honor miraculously fulfilled his promise to Viviana and carried her out of the tower!! She was safe!! Honor gently lay Viviana's body onto a stretcher and the paramedics wheeled her away. No words were spoken between them. Viviana's ambulance was headed toward a local burn unit.

Meanwhile, Robert had frantically and helplessly left work immediately after hearing on a television news station that jetliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Meanwhile, he was waiting impatiently outside with authorities, hoping beyond hope that his lover would be alright.

"Viv!!" said a relieved Robert, "Thank God!! You are alive!! Oh, I am so glad!!"

If Robert noticed Viviana's third degree burns? He never let it show emotionally!!

"Robby...." Viviana somehow managed to say beneath her oxygen mask.

Naturally, Robert attempted to run toward his lover, but he was stopped by an authority.

"Do not go to her!!" ordered Paul, "Stay here!! It is far too dangerous!! Do you personally know of any other friend or loved one who were in the towers?"

"No sir," said Robert, "Just my wife!!"

"Then, for your own safety, vacate these premises," ordered Paul, "Go home!!"

But before Robert could leave--while Honor bravely marched toward the still-shifting South Tower of the World Trade Center--it suddenly collapsed to nothing but dust, rubble and human bloodshed. As resulted, everybody screamed. Then Viviana saw with her own two eyes the tower fall and completely bury Honor.

"Mister.... Fireman!!" she somehow managed to say beneath her oxygen mask.

"Honor!!" yelled Courage, "Oh, no, no, no, no!! Honor!!"

Time seemingly stood still. Courage bravely ran toward the tower's wreckage. His twain strong hands quickly dug and dug and dug through scorching, hot rubble until at last he unburied Honor!! Still lying on the stretcher, Viviana watched everything unfold with her own two eyes. Honor just lie there in filthy, dusty, debris, completely motionless. His black-colored firefighter clothes were burned from the helmet down to both boots. Honor was barely alive and hardly breathing. Courage attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or C.P.R., on his fellow fireman. But, sadly, it was for naught. Courage strapped an oxygen mask onto Honor's face. But, sadly, it was for naught, as well. Wet, hot tears streamed down Courage's face. Viviana's heart skipped a beat. For they both knew that Honor was dying.

The paramedics gently lifted his body onto a stretcher and wheeled him away. Coincidentally? Honor's ambulance was the exact same vehicle as Viviana's. For beneath those protective firefighter clothes, his body had also sustained some minor burns. And dying or not, the paramedics were, of course, determined to save Honor's Life!! Their ambulance hurriedly sped away. But just as it did, the still-shifting North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed to nothing but dust, rubble and human bloodshed.

"Triumph!! Noble!! Justice!! Patriot!!" yelled Courage, as he was bravely digging deep through debris where the now-destructed South Tower once stood in an effort to find even more survivors. "Oh.... Please do not let me be the lone survivor in our fire department!! Triumph!! Noble!! Justice!! Patriot!! Oh no, no, no!!"

It took everything in Courage's willpower to not abandon his post at the South Tower's wreckage so that he could successfully save Triumph, Noble, Justice and Patriot!! However. He reluctantly remained at his post and kept digging. But then.... Triumph, Noble, Justice and Patriot miraculously emerged from the North Tower's wreckage--very much alive!!--each carrying a survivor!! Courage suddenly felt an incredible sense of relief wash over him!!

"Triumph!! Noble!! Justice!! Patriot!!" he said, "Thank God you are all alive!!"

Meanwhile.... Inside the ambulance, Viviana had a one-on-one opportunity to thank Honor for rescuing her.

"You...." she somehow managed to say, "Honor.... You.... Saved.... My Life!! And.... Now.... You.... Are dying....?! How.... Could.... You.... Risk everything.... For.... Me?!"

Wet, hot tears streamed down Viviana's cheeks.

"It...." Honor somehow managed to say, "Is.... What.... I do."

"Why...." Viviana somehow managed to say, "When.... You.... Were.... So brave.... Will.... Your heroism.... Lead.... You.... To.... Your grave?"

Honor did not have the physical or mental energy to answer Viviana's profound query. For his pulse was growing weaker and weaker. Honor's breathing became shallow. He was quickly slipping away right in front of Viviana's very eyes.

"Thank-you...." she somehow managed to say, "So.... Much.... You're.... My hero!!"

Then Honor inhaled his last breath. He was dead.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. It was a morning when the strong force of hatred commanded terrorists' minds and agendas. Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. It was a morning when terrorists attacked America. Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. It was a morning when terrorists hijacked jetliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. It was a morning when both World Trade Center towers collapsed to ground zero. Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. It was a morning when thousands of innocent people died.... Including 343 firefighters.

Although Viviana had a long, tedious journey ahead of her, she did survive Tuesday, September 11th, 2001!! Because with Robert's loving, patient, understanding encouragement and countless therapy sessions? Viviana was eventually able to view her burn scars as not ugly or unwanted reminders that she lived through such a horrific nightmare. But the absolute opposite. Viviana can now look at her permanent burn scars as beautiful!! Because she is alive {Just like the meaning of her name!!} and Viviana is eternally grateful for Honor's ultimate sacrifice!!         

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