Headstones And Heros

Services for Real Estate Pros with U.S. Cybertek, Inc.

Today is September 11, but you already know that. It's strange how something so huge can entirely change your life, and then with time it slowly fades into the background until something triggers those memories bringing them all flooding back. It's been long enough that I had almost forgotten what today was. . . . Almost, but not quite.

How can you really ever forget something that changes so much of your life? You can't. Even though I'm a much older and wiser 26, when I think about 9/11 suddenly I'm a terrified 16 year old again trying to wrap my brain around brands of hatred and heroism I can not even begin to understand. And after all this time, I still can't, but that's life.

I spent this morning helping with a rather unique service project, cleaning around headstones at a local cemetery. Using shovels we were to dig the overgrown sod away from the stones, load it in a truck and then sweep the sites clean, back-breaking but necessary. At first I was just wanting to get it over with and get out of there (I'm soooo not a morning person and I have this thing about feeling like I'm standing on someone every time I set foot in a cemetery. Weird, I know.), but as I jumped on the shovel over and over to dig out the grass crowding the headstones. . . something changed. All of a sudden I realized that these were people, or had been, and I should be grateful for the chance to come and honor those who had passed on by performing the simple service of setting to rights their final resting place. Then as I started working around more of the stones I started noticing their names, the dates and the inscriptions engraved on the stones. It's really hard to have a crummy attitude when you realize that you are doing for someone something that they can not do for themselves.  

About halfway through the project I noticed a stone off to the side that had been missed. It was farther away from the truck than the rest and all but hidden in the grass, so it had been simply overlooked and forgotten. I eyeballed the distance to the truck and decided like everyone else it was too far for my taste, and someone else could deal with it. But as I turned to walk away I had a thought that made me take up my shovel and go back . . . . .  What if it was me? What if I was the one who's stone was forgotten? 

As I cleaned the grass from around the stone, I wondered about the man who's name it bore. John Roberts. He died in 1986, so I would have been about 2 when he left for that better place in the wild blue yonder. There were no flowers and the headstone looked like it had not been cleaned in quite a while, causing me to wonder if Mr. Roberts has anyone to remember him. Well, he has at least one now. 

I guess the point of this post is this: People should never be forgotten, even if they are no longer walking among us. So very many lives were lost on 9/11, and in the years of war that have followed. Those lives should never be forgotten, and their sacrifices for their loved ones and their country should be recalled with gratitude. I for one will always be more grateful that I can ever say. So a simple "Thank You" is the best I can do, in tandem with keeping the memories of those heros alive. 



Posted by


    Phly Jambor
    U.S. Cybertek, Inc.
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Comments (16)

Faina Reinhardt
HotRentalsNY.com - Manhattan, NY

I will never forget that day in New York.  No one who lived through it ever can. My prayers go out to those who lost someone they loved.

Sep 11, 2010 12:54 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Phly, Excellent work.  You express yourself and the need in a way this engineer could never do.  Thank you.


Sep 11, 2010 01:04 PM
Richard Green
U.S. Cybertek, Inc. - Houston, MO

Faina - It's something that will never be forgotten, nor should it. 

Sep 11, 2010 01:18 PM
Richard Green
U.S. Cybertek, Inc. - Houston, MO

Bill - Thanks. :) 

Sep 11, 2010 01:20 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Phly.....that was a lovely post and very appropriate for this special day......and your actions at the cemetary were "top shelf".....but I'd expect nothing less from you.

Sep 11, 2010 01:39 PM
Richard Green
U.S. Cybertek, Inc. - Houston, MO

Barbara - What a wonderful compliment! Thank you. :) Part of what made me turn back was a trip I took to Gettysburg, PA in 2004. I was shocked to see row upon row of numbered headstones and the monuments with just a number listed on the side, but no names. I felt like an emotional freight train had hit me when I realized that all those "numbers' were actually people. I tend to be the person with their head stuck in the clouds. I'm the classic happy-go-lucky and just take life as it comes my way sort, so it's good for me to come back down to earth once in a while and remember to be grateful for those that came before.

I simply try to be the best me I can and set a good example for my daughter, but sometimes nobility loses out. Things like eating pie for breakfast, occasionally reading the end of the book first and skipping church once in a while because I don't feel like wearing a dress that day. (I'll probably get struck by lightening for admitting to that last one!) ;) But happily today was one of those that I look back at and say "I can be proud of who I am, and what I did today." :)

Sep 11, 2010 02:23 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Phyl, kudos to you for your contribution. And for your caring. And for sharing your story with us. I was a terrified 16 year-old when President Kennedy was assassinated, and a much older terrified woman on 9/11. Remembering, caring and learning - so all important.

Sep 11, 2010 07:20 PM
Amy Hahn
Pine Knoll Shores Realty - Morehead City, NC
Realtor/Broker - Crystal Coast, NC

What a beautiful and thoughtful post.  I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday.  I remember every moment, I remember the sadness I felt for the ones who lost loved loved ones, and I remember the heroes!  God bless them all and may we never forget.

Sep 12, 2010 03:20 AM
Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO
Helping people Transition at all ages!

Phly.....A great way to honor those who have gone before.  I will never forget the events of 9/11 and honor the memories of those who were lost!

Sep 12, 2010 04:38 AM
Richard Green
U.S. Cybertek, Inc. - Houston, MO

Lottie, Amy and Carra - Thank You! :) What happened that day has changed our lives in so many ways. I always try to remember the Heroes of that day and to honor them by paying it forward. 

Sep 12, 2010 07:12 PM
Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California) - Campbell, CA
Silicon Valley, California

How did I miss this one?  Oh yeah, I was heading out to Austin and have been soooo crazy busy.  But wow, I had to stop and think about what you were writing. Great job!  :)  So good.

Sep 17, 2010 12:55 PM
Richard Green
U.S. Cybertek, Inc. - Houston, MO

Chris - Good Morning! ;) And Thanks! I hope that Austin went well! ;)

Sep 20, 2010 07:11 AM
Joe Harvey
Lake Worth Real Estate - Lake Worth, FL

I just wanted to stop by and say that I hope evrything is going alright with you and that your silence isn't the sign of anything bad..and if so we are all thinking of ya!!

Sep 20, 2010 07:35 AM
Richard Green
U.S. Cybertek, Inc. - Houston, MO

Joe - Thanks for the check in! ;) I'm alive for the time being, though a summer cold and the dentist just might do me in! ;) Cutbacks at work are wreaking havoc with my blogging time, so I'm having to work around it and figure out a smarter way to blog. But never fear! I'm still blogging, and will be putting something up today. ;)

Sep 20, 2010 08:03 AM
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

I had to come back and check out all your posts I missed.  You are one of the best writers around these here parts.  And, this one proves it. 

Sep 23, 2010 03:32 PM
Richard Green
U.S. Cybertek, Inc. - Houston, MO

Suzanne - *blushes* Thanks! I try. ;)

Sep 25, 2010 05:44 AM