Yesterday was 9/11 and—full disclosure—we were stumped as to how to mark the anniversary that changed the world forever.
We are a team of 2 here at History Hero BLAST, both US expatriates. I, Sarah, was in NYC that fateful day. I watched the first tower fall. I heard the horrified screams of multitudes as they left our world. I handed out bottled water to survivors who walked to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, aged beyond their years by the ashes of death and destruction. For three whole days, I fed first-responders from a boat-turned-cafeteria moored in the Hudson River just steps from Ground Zero. I breathed the acrid, toxic air that I believe killed the growing fetus inside me. I attended countless funerals for the firefighters that never returned, grieving the loss of my 2nd child alongside each hero, one of them a friend, Fireman Dave, whose wife taught my then-5-year-old gymnastics.
In the aftermath of 9/11, I teetered on the edge of hope. I teeter still. But I’m brought back each time by the contributions of everyday, often unsung heroes. People like Fireman Dave, like my living daughter who keeps me laughing and loving, like Ady Barkan.
As I tried to ignore 9/11, 2019, I stumbled upon an interview with Ady on Pod Save America. It restored my hope again.
For those who don’t know Ady, he is a lawyer, a 1st-generation US immigrant, a husband and father, and a progressive activist. He’s also dying of a debilitating, little-understood disease: ALS.
Diagnosed in 2016, Ady now lives in a wheelchair and talks through a computer and robotic voice. But he refuses to give in to despair. Instead, he is making his every last minute count as an advocate for healthcare as a human right.
Ady is a hero in our midst. Through his Super PAC, BE A HERO, he strives to make US democracy responsible to everyday people and issues again.
Ady’s book, EYES TO THE WIND, launched yesterday, 9/11, 2019. Part memoir, part political manifesto, it proves that as Ady’s physical strength continues to weaken, his voice grows more powerful. It reminds us that in a world too often defined by the cult of celebrity, anyone can #BeAHero.