The Golden Toga Flap: Public servants

[About the Golden Toga Flap: Ancient Romans used to flap their togas in appreciation of a public event, in the same way that we would applaud. The Golden Toga Flap is designed to be a shout-out to people and groups making a positive difference in the world. Nominations are always welcome.]

It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years already.

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It seems like just a little while ago that I was standing around the flagpole with the rest of the school for the two-year anniversary, then standing in a silent Newark airport lounge for the seventh anniversary, then teaching in a largely unaware Polish town for the ninth anniversary.

Thirteen years. There are kids in high school right now who have no memory of 9/11.

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For me, the most moving part of the day is the many people who went into the buildings. Getting out, away from the fires and faltering support beams, was the order of the day — and yet the firefighters, EMTs, and police offers who heard about the attacks knew that not everyone would be able to get out under their own steam, so they stepped up to do their jobs in the most nightmarish of circumstances.

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Public servants of the world, whether you’ve faced horrible situations in your work or served your entire career in the quietest town in America, we salute you now. You didn’t have to choose those jobs. You could have been botanists or typewriter mechanics or luthiers, or had some other relatively calm career. Instead, you chose to protect and serve your communities, often at the risk of your own wellbeing. For that selflessness and bravery, you deserve a hearty round of toga flapping. May your careers be long, your efforts be productive, and your devotion to your communities be as strong as it first was.

———

Photo credit: Fireman from tpsdave, 9/11 Firemen’s Memorial from tpsdave, and policemen’s tiles from Ronile on Pixabay.

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