Lieutenant Joseph Leavey was on of the first responders on the scene after the attacks on 9/11. He personally watch the second plane crash into Tower 2, and immediately ran inside. His fireman instincts kicked in, causing him to rush up 78 flights of stairs, saving hundreds of lives in the process.
Leavey ran right inside that building, stepping through the fire. This is evident on the radio transmissions later recovered, which detailed the tower’s final moments. The heroic fireman was heard at 9:57 a.m. calling out to fellow firemen. This was about two minutes before Tower two came crashing down.
According to Leavy’s stepson, his last words were:
“I’ll be right to you.”
I try to imagine what he felt that day. He faced such unimaginable destruction, and did the right thing anyway. So many people did. Not just the fireman and first responders, but everyone who showed up and did what they had to for one another.
This is how I have always remembered 9/11.
But since 9/11, we have given into a culture of retaliation that enables policies of discrimination, surveillance, incarceration and death. We’ve witnessed and allowed the harassment of innocent American citizens based on the color of their skin or their religion. As if losing 2,996 civilians on 9/11 wasn’t enough, it is estimated that 1.3 million people have been killed due to the war on terror.
That is not the cost of our freedom; it is the price of our fear.
This has nothing to do with 9/11 and everything to do with his own agenda.
The small faction of extremists who organized on Sept. 11 were not from any of the countries listed in Trump’s executive order. More Americans have been killed by homegrown extremists in the last 15 years than by foreign-born terrorists.
Trump uses fear and propaganda to further his political agenda. Now he is using us. He is attempting to exploit the suffering of all of us who grieved since that day, the epic sacrifices and bravery of first responders and veterans, and the many innocent communities who have been impacted.
It is simply insulting. As a family member and a citizen, there is nothing about Trump’s character or actions that holds a candle to the patriotism demonstrated that day by so many.
I am not just afraid for my Muslim brothers and sisters who are facing blatant discrimination or our immigrant families who could be torn apart. I am afraid for all of us.
This administration’s reckless policies are dangerous. Any event or attack that might happen to us will likely have been inflamed and agitated by Trump’s apparent determination to wage war on “radical Islam,” which winds up, for many, meaning Islam itself.
This destructive worldview is championed within the White House by Trump adviser Steve Bannon. He’s an unelected, unqualified political consultant advancing his own agenda at the expense of our security and safety.
I will not let Trump invoke the memory of 9/11 and the memory of my step dad by shouting “America First.” This is about Trump and Bannon first.
My stepfather was a spiritual man, a devout Catholic who believed not just in god but he believed in people. He and so many other ordinary people on that day did an extraordinary thing. They did not discriminate between who gets to be saved and who doesn’t. They ran into that building for all of us.
I invite my whole 9/11 community to consider who and what we lost and if this President’s policies are a true reflection of that. Because we have lost too much to be lied to, exploited and played. We must remember who we are.