Thursday, April 24, 2014

True Heroes A to Z: U=Zero

True heroes are all around us, in our every day lives, but some people stand out. During this A-Z Challenge I hope to share several of my real life heroes, and invite you to share yours in the comments.

huru Gonja Houston: A man who sought a better life.

This is a general tribute to all of the 71 police officers and 343 NYC Fire Department workers lost in the 2001 Trade Center collapse, each and everyone of them a true hero. Officer Houston was one.

Having lived in NYC, I adore anyone who really strives for a better future, something Uhuru worked toward. He grew up in Brooklyn (which is kind of a rough area), and through obtaining a great education and law enforcement job, was able to move his family to the nicer neighborhoods of New Jersey. Uhuru was assigned to work at the World Trade Centers, and was 32 years old when the they came down. He left behind a wife, a 5 year old son and 20 month old daughter.

Source
There were a number of people lost that day, but I can't think about the tragedy without remembering the outpouring of love. Heroes came out of the woodwork. Men and women rushed into danger rather than away. An entire country mourned with the families for their loss, and the grounds that used to support two business buildings became a sacred memorial to the value of life, freedom and compassion.


Six more days to get MOONLESS at $1.99.

Jane Eyre meets Supernatural

An excerpt: 

“You know I worry about you, Alexia.” 
Yes, she knew it. He feared he’d raised a child too intelligent to settle on some dim-witted and wealthy noble.
“When Sarah was your age—”
“You had her promised to a fifty-one year old man.” Crossing her arms, she scowled.
“That is right.” He blinked back at her and cleared this throat.
She didn’t do him the justice of disbanding her anger. This was the one day she might actually get away with being willful.
He shifted in his seat. “Someone approached me near your last birthday with a proposal of marriage.”
 Alexia blinked. “For me? Was he mistaken?”
“He is a wealthy countryman from the North, older, intellectual, a good match.”
“How much older?” Smoothing the folds of her napkin, she held her breath.
He shrugged. “Enough. I was sorely tempted to accept his offer, and I would have if . . .”
She shuddered. If she hadn’t changed.
His head shook. “You have your pick of suitors, but I do expect you to make a choice before your next birthday.”
Her jaw tumbled.
He grinned, bumping her chin up with a knuckle. “Some young man will be very lucky to acquire you.”
She moaned.
“Do not start,” he purred. “You shall be happy—or I’ll not let you go.” His boyish dimple had surfaced. He meant it.
“I know.” She smiled back.
“One year, or I will accept that generous proposal on your behalf.”
“But—”
“One year.”


Where were you on 9-11? Were there any stories you heard of heroes that day that touched your life? Have you been to see ground zero? What are your feelings about forced marriages?

48 comments:

  1. A lovely tribute to Uhuru and all the men and women who really are heroes. Thanks for the excerpt. I have my fingers crossed I win the Goodreads giveaway.

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  2. Beautifully written tribute, Crystal--and excerpt, for that matter! Such intrigue and tension written into such a short amount of space spells "gifted writer" !!

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  3. Love the premise of Moonless, and the excerpt!

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge


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  4. What a beautiful smile he had. And what a beautiful tribute you wrote here.

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  5. This gave me goosebumps, Crystal. Didn't he have a beautiful smile? Such life in his eyes! How sad, the lives ended too soon...

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  6. I was a school librarian working in my taping room. I had the news on and saw the first plane fly into the Trade Center and a little while later the second. I notified my principal who had me turn all the news stations on. I worked at a middle school. He announced to the whole school about the attacks and had a moment of silence. Teachers cried and students hugged one another. I don't think I will ever forget that day. I was so encouraged by the firefighters who were being interviewed after saving people from the collapse of the towers. thanks for sharing this story.

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  7. I have mixed feelings about arranged marriages. When the two parties are not forced and their affections are not engaged elsewhere, they have been known to work well. It's practically like having a yenta introduce you to a pool of prospects and many a single woman would admit they wish they had a match-maker who could help them find just the right marriage candidate.
    Damaria at http://foodgardeningsa.blogspot.com

    The problem comes up when one of the parties loves someone else, or if they don't want to marry the selected candidate or maybe they are not even ready to marry yet. or when the criteria is not, who best suits the young lady but wha material gains can we get from the union.

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  8. Oh.. and re 9/11 events, I was hosting an event in Cape Town and one of our main speakers was from USAid. The American Embassy let us know that all American-related organisations were being shut down for the duration and that the speaker we expected would not show. Instead of opening speeches, we turned CNN on to see what was happening. It was devastating.. but there was also such a tinge of disbelief in the room. None of us could believe that someone could do that. Thank you for sharing his story.

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  9. When tragedy strikes, the good in people comes out. That goodness really is human nature.

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  10. I was burying my father that day, news on in the background as we finished dressing when the first plane crashed. Second as we left to get in the car. We still didn't know what was going on as I spoke at his funeral.
    I don't have the same memories of that day as others do. Mine are all mixed together. My world was crashing that day.
    I do love to hear about the good rallying. I still grieve for those many good people that died that day.
    Donna Smith
    The A-to-Z Challenge
    Mainely Write

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  11. Wonderful dedication to all of the heroes of 911.

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  12. Disaster brings out the best in us. Glad you gave these heroes another shout out.

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  13. I've made it a point to visit the memorial when I make my first trip to New York. :)

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  14. It makes me sad to think of all the lives lost. It makes me smile to think of the bravery so many displayed that day.
    Forced marriages make for fantastic fiction! Personally, I despise them. :)

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  15. I come from Long Beach, NY, on Long Island. I currently live in MA, and I was at work when the towers were hit. There was a TV in the break room, and we were in and out watching as it all happened. I saw just before the second plane hit to the buildings fall. I was shocked and saddened and worried. My cousin works in Manhattan, and I wasn't sure where. I haven't been to ground zero.

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    1. I should add that my cousin is fine. He didn't work in that area. As for arranged marriages, I absolutely don't agree with them in real life, but they're made for fiction. ;)

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  16. I admire all the firefighters and paramedics who risked their lives to save others on that day!

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  17. It still blows my mind when I think about the events of 9/11. That something like that could happen. But some real heroes were made that day, and this was a great tribute to all of them!

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  18. Awesome tribute and I really loved this excerpt.

    Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

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  19. What an awesome tribute! We should remember she heroes everyday!

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  20. That's so great that there's information about these people out there. They should all be remembered. I was really glad when they decided to turn the site into a memorial rather than rebuild the buildings on top of it.

    Really, how much older? That's important! Must be bad if he can't say. Thanks for the pressure, Dad. :)

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  21. This was such a moving tribute. So many lives were changed that day...so many heroes stepped up and did what had to be done.

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  22. The 9/11 version of the Rainbow Bridge story (one for dogs and one for cats) is really emotional and moving. The Rainbow Bridge is said to be a place in the afterlife where pets wait for their owners to cross over, when they can both enter Paradise together. Old, sick pets are restored to youth and health. In the 9/11 version, there's an announcement that a lot of good people have suddenly died, and they're going to be matched with all the animals who never knew love in the earthly life, like abused animals and shelter animals who were never adopted. The children get the puppies and kittens, and in the dog version, the working breeds like Dalmatians and German Shepherds go to the police officers and fire fighters.

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  23. First responders are all true heroes. The WWT disaster was a terrible tragedy. I lived in NYC for many years, but moved out before 9/11, and I'm glad I wasn't there during that terrible time.

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  24. I was at an IBM conference in Orlando. I remember clear as day. What a tragedy!

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  25. So many heroes on that tragic day. I remember clearly where I was when it happened. I sat in my Utah apartment glued to the television. I was seven months pregnant at the time and my first thought was, "What kind of world am I bringing this child into?" I admire the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to save others.

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  26. That was one of the truly surreal moments in life; when I walked into the living room and my dad--who was watching the news--told me about the towers being crashed into. I was like 'What? How?'...and then all the information and happenings that followed. It still seems unreal to think about, but the way that people came together then and have come together since to rebuild and recover is truly admirable.

    The Immarcescible Word

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  27. I read a really good book about 9/11 a few years ago and it focused on the individuals involved. That's what really gets you when you hear about a tragedy. Not the numbers or statistics, but the individual people. Who they were, how they died... The whole thing is just so tragic. It's tough to think about, but it's important to never forget.

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  28. There were a lot of heroes that day. Good selection for U.

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  29. This one hits close to home. I really admire your choice of hero today - my heart still beaks for all of the heroes we lost. There were so many.

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  30. Yes, great hero. True heros of that day, in fact. Hope their families have peace.

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  31. So many great heroes that day. And wonderful excerpt, Crystal! :)

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  32. Tuesday night in class (the one I'm taking, not one I taught) 9/11 came up. My fellow student mentioned how she had been 8 at the time. The other older student and I exchanged looks.

    I feel so old!

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  33. I was happy to read your post about this hero...there were so many that day! A day we will NEVER forget

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  34. This is beautiful and such a wonderful choice for U! So many heroes, so many tragic stories. Out of tragedy comes strength and often solidarity.

    I remember that day clearly. My parents were leaving that day to fly out to SLC, they were going to serve a mission in Ukraine (which they eventually did). All the airports shut down, obviously so they didn't fly out. It was a challenge of faith to let them get on a plane a few weeks later!

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  35. this post is truly awesome, living in San Antonio TX, still asleep the time difference
    a phone call changed my world. I knelt down with my phone in hand and cried, prayed. , I was due in OK and to leave on the 11 to return home, the timing was strange, my family in San Antonio called and wanted me home, while my family in OK still needed me here, however I got the flight changed. Which I am thankful as I probably would have been hesitant to get aboard again

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  37. This is such a wonderful choice for alphabet U. Uhuru Gonja Houston was a hero in the true sense of the word. Thank you for sharing this post with us.

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  38. Such a touching tribute. So many heroes were taken that day.

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  39. I was in the office on 9-11 and I remember someone coming in and saying to look on the BBC news site. We could see the pictures, but it really didn't sink in that it was real - it looked like some Hollywood film. We were thousands of miles away and yet we all gathered round a couple of computers and watched in disbelief and horror. So many died and so many tried to save them- so many heroes.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
    FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

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  40. Tragic, absolutely tragic. The day the world shook to its core.

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  41. What a lovely post for such a tragic incident...

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  42. Thank you for remembering and sharing his story. I still am shaken when I think of that day. The terror I felt for friends that were from Boston, in NYC, DC, Pennsylvania, or traveling. I didn't watch footage initially, but was hearing it on the radio. I was in the first two weeks of veterinary school and I was in shock. Last year I shared my experience of 9/11 and what I learned from it. http://melaniegobledvm.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/the-supinator-…ng-and-sharing/

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  43. What a wonderful tribute to Mr. Uhuru and to all the victims of that early autumn day 12 1/2 years ago...

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  44. Beautiful tribute to them all. Such a sad day for our country and others. Right you are though about how people stepped up. Still get cold chills as I remember that day.
    sandy at Traveling Suitcase

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  45. It's hard for me to read anything related to that day and not immediately smell the smoke and relive the chaos it was here in NY. We don't have to be personally affected to relive it, but goodness it was horrible, and these are true heroes. Great tribute. ;)

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  46. I did go to Ground Zero, a couple of years after it happened...at the time it was a fence around a big hole in the ground...On all the blocks around us, the city was moving fast, but on this city block, it was silent, and people standing still, looking at pictures and memorials hanging up on the fence.

    It was a sacred place.

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