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The weekend following September 11th, syndicated columnist and

former presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan drove to Lower

Manhattan to witness the relief effort taking place at Ground

Zero. She found herself focusing on the convoy of trucks

filled with rescue workers coming off their 12-hour shifts.

The men in the trucks were construction and electrical

workers, police, emergency medical workers, and firemen. It

was a procession of the not-so-rich and famous.

Nonetheless, these New Yorkers were celebrities in a human

drama more significant than any Broadway act. Noonan joined

the growing crowd of onlookers cheering the workers with

shouts of "God bless you!" and "We love you!" They clapped and

blew kisses.

Noonan writes:

I looked around me at all of us who were cheering. And saw

who we were. Investment bankers! Orthodontists! Magazine

editors! In my group, a lawyer, a columnist, and a writer.

We had been the kings and queens of the city, respected

professionals in a city that respects its professional


And this night we were nobody. We were so useless, all we

could do was applaud the somebodies, the workers who,

unlike us, had not been applauded much in their lives.… I

was so moved and, oddly I guess, grateful. Because they’d

always been the people who ran the place, who kept it

going, they’d just never been given their due.

This reversal Peggy Noonan witnessed is nothing less than a

foreshadowing of what Jesus talked about. A day is coming when

the first shall be last and the last shall be first.


Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois; Source: Peggy

Noonan, "Welcome Back, Duke," Wall Street Journal, (10-12-01)

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