Richard Levick, Esq., Chairman & CEO, LEVICK
Whenever I see or hear a helicopter, I think of 9/11 and its aftermath. Back then, I was living on the eighth floor of a condo not far from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
That awful day and for days after the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, military helicopters kept buzzing our neighborhood, apparently fearful that NIH or the Bethesda Naval Hospital or lord knows what else might be the next target. They flew so low you could see the faces of the pilots. They looked so grim, so young. I was supposed to be on one of the planes to California the next day and the helicopters were a reminder that the war, a new war, had hit home.
A lot of us lost our innocence that day and in the days that followed. Think how profoundly our world has changed since those helicopter pilots flew overhead and those firemen raced up the WTC’s stairwells, knowing there was a good chance they wouldn’t be coming back down.
America has waged a global war against terrorism, some of it successful, other parts, less so. Our politics have become inflamed and hyper-partisan. Our financial system collapsed in a Great Recession that exposed our frailties.
Now we find ourselves embroiled in a fight for the future of democracy and democratic capitalism. The greatest threat to our country now comes from within, as terrifying as that is to contemplate. The unity of 9/12 has been replaced by the incivility of 2020. Our innocence of September 10th, 2001 has been replaced by darkness.
But this day is about paying homage to the pilots, the firemen, the policemen, the coworkers, the ordinary people who displayed selfless courage 19 years ago. In saluting them, we’re saluting the best our country has to offer and in the hope that we can find that courage and unity again.