A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.
In life's grand quiz show of understanding ourselves called "Who Am I" there will always be unanswered questions.
I moved into my apartment here on September 9, 2001, two days before the attack on the World Trade Center. If I had still been in New York I either would have seen it happen or I would have been stuck in a subway station underneath it.
It wasn't long before the films and video tapes were processed and we could see the results on the ground and how people reacted to it. I noticed that there were basically three types of people. There were those who stood in stunned, shocked silence. I knew one of them. There were those who ran away from it in panic. I don't refer to the inhabitants of the building. They had a perfect right to run away from it. I also knew one of them. I mean the ones in the vicinity who turned and fled the scene as fast as they could. And then there were those who ran towards it.
There were the first responders from the police and fire departments. But there were ordinary people who ran to see what they could do to help. A temporary clinic was set up in a local church. That church also housed a theatre where I had performed several times. I could have been very helpful directing people to that church and seeing that those who needed it were in and comfortable. I could have helped the medics who were caring for the injured. Who knows what I could have done?
Of those who did not run away there were a great many volunteers, ordinary people, who found some way of helping those who had barely survived the disaster and the police and fire fighters who had been overcome with smoke and exhaustion.
I have often wondered over the past 9 years what I would have done if i had been in proximity to that event. I was only a few blocks away from it waiting for my train. I had a clear view of the WTC from where I was standing. If I had already boarded the train I would have been underneath it when it happened. In either case I could have been very helpful to people who were suffering. What would I have done? Would I have stayed as far away from it as I could? Would I have stood post and pillar still in shock? Or would I have gone towards it and gotten involved?
The answer is: I don't know. It took a lot of courage to be in that neighborhood. Nobody really knew what was going to happen next. The building was on fire. People who could were jumping out of windows to their deaths to avoid being burned alive. I had worked off and on at a firm in the upper floors. People I knew and had worked with were dying, nice people, good people. The surrounding streets were strewn with body parts. Frantic evacuations were taking place in overcrowded elevators and stairways. The building was collapsing. How much of it would fall on the surrounding structures and the people below? It took heroic courage for anyone to go there and stay there. Would I have done it?.
That is a question I will never have the answer to. I like to think I am a brave man. I've faced up to other frightening experiences. But about that one I will never know. I wasn't there.
(This is not a contest.)
Who are the 2 (two) most important people alive today? Why?
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