Dear Members and Supporters,

Sometimes it seems like it was only yesterday. Other days, the attacks of September 11, 2001 seem like a lifetime ago; ten years, a decade since. I still mourn the loss of so many friends and good people that I have come to know in death through their families and loved ones. I am even prouder today of my fellow rescue/recovery colleagues who answered the call on that tragic day, than of the completion of our sacred mission.

I was recently given a book of stories, letters, poems and speeches by this country’s founders, titled “Our Sacred Honor” written by William J. Bennett. I was reminded of the wisdom and the beautiful language that flowed so effortlessly from the minds of those courageous revolutionists as they faced incredible odds in their journey towards freedom. I would like to share with you a passage that was written just prior to Christmas 1776.

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: ’tis dearness only that gives everything its value. …Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue can survive, the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but “show your faith by your works” that God may bless you.”  Those words were written by Thomas Paine on Christmas Eve 1776. General George Washington ordered it read to his troops just prior to crossing the Delaware River and defeating the Hessians at Trenton. The American victory infused new life into the patriots’ cause and showed the British that the American Army was not ready to bow out.

9/11 was our defining moment, as a people and as responders. The ultimate act of hate was defeated by the love that sprang from those ashes. Within hours, the country unified and began the long, difficult journey of recovery defying the act that was designed to fracture us. The expert first responders, putting aside the losses of so many of their colleagues, rushed up stairs swollen with people running down and ultimately becoming the face of courage while raising their profession to an unimaginable level. With five gallon buckets we took to a seven-story pile, barehanded, to find our friends and the innocent victims. The city, the country and the world took notice of us and responded in kind with supplies, equipment, notes and prayers and as a people we found that we are bigger than we thought, that we can overcome, that resiliency is contagious and we will survive to be stronger.

Through your service with H.E.A.R.T. 9/11, you take the very best of our experience to those who, like us ten years ago, need help to overcome. We memorialize the courage and sacrifice of our fallen brothers and sisters with every future disaster victim helped.

Thank you all for your work then and now.    

Bill Keegan

Founder/President HEART 9/11