Note: This is a repost of a blog I wrote on September 11, 2009,  but I think the message is just as relevant today. – Bad Nick

Today I hope you take at least a few moments to remember our fellow Americans who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on our nation ten years ago.

In the years since, we have seen life change in many ways as a result of those attacks. Some of those changes have been good, some have been frustrating at best, and in many cases they have been downright aggravating. Homeland Security started as a way to protect us from the madmen of the world, but seems to have deteriorated into just another huge bureaucracy that accomplishes far less than it complicates.

In one way or another, we all have been affected by the events of that terrible day. It’s harder to board an airliner, or to ship a package, or even do such mundane things as renewing your driver’s license or opening a bank account. While our nation’s southern border remains as porous as a sieve, senior citizens who spend a day in Mexican border towns getting cheap dental work and eyeglasses, and stocking up on booze and Viagra, face long lines crossing back into the U.S. as Customs agents scrutinize them, looking for anyone who may actually be an Al-Qaeda operative in grandma disguise.

Of course, nobody’s lives have been affected as much as those of the families of the people who were killed in the attacks. While I sympathize with them, and while it still enrages me that it happened, I do have to say that I also take offense to the common practice of calling those who were lost heroes. They were not heroes. They were victims.

There is nothing heroic about getting on a commuter train and going to work in an office building. Because your desk happens to be in the path of some religious zealot who hijacks an airplane and flies it into your window does not make you a hero. It makes you a victim. It doesn’t make your death any less painful to those who loved you, or any less a tragedy. But you didn’t do anything heroic.

There were heroes on 9/11. The firemen and police officers who rushed into those burning buildings to save lives, and lost their own in the process, were heroes. Many of them had to know that their chances of making it back out were very slim, but still they charged forward, trying to rescue whoever they could. That’s heroic.

The passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 who took action and brought their aircraft down in a rural Pennsylvania field to keep it from hitting whatever target the hijackers were heading for, were heroes. But even then, we must keep in mind that almost certainly some, perhaps most, of the passengers on that airplane did not take part in the attempt to wrest control of the cockpit away from the terrorists. Those passengers were also victims, not heroes.

Every day police officers face dangers. They never know when the next routine traffic stop will be somebody wired on drugs, who would rather gun them down than take a ticket, or which domestic violence call will find them looking down the wrong end of a gun barrel. They are heroes. But we expect that. Cops get killed sometimes.

Every day, young American servicemen and women are putting their lives on the line for us, and every week we lose some of them. They are heroes! However, their deaths seem to be almost taken for granted by some. People die in wars.

People don’t usually die while sitting in an office chair. But when they do, that doesn’t make them heroes.

Yet, when an American soldier, a hero, dies in combat, his or her family can expect a few thousand dollars in compensation. On average, the families of the civilian victims of 9/11 received over $3 million dollars, according to a 2005 RAND report. That just doesn’t seem right to me. What do you think?

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17 Comments on They Were Not Heroes

  1. Kelly S. says:

    I agree 100% with you! It is terrible that so many lives were lost but to label each and every one of them as a hero negates the true heroism exhibited that day.

  2. Allan says:

    I agree with you about the victims vrs. the heros. I am sure that the victims received insurance money for loss of loved ones. They have a right to collect from the insurance companies whatever the policies direct. Groups and individuals also donated money to victims families of 9/11, they should be able to collect from that if they qualify. Money that was donated specifically to families of heros should go only to those that risked their lives to help others. Money that the government designates to heros of 9/11 should go to heros not victims. My heart goes out to everyone that lost loved ones as we remember that terrible day when those muslim terrorists attacked our country. NEVER FORGET 9/11

  3. Butch Williams says:

    If only the government would take some of the measures that would be truly effective, but rather they file lawsuits against the individual states that feel they must take on the federal governments (neglected) responsibilities.

    The link below is a reminder of another of America’s wake up calls, but unfortunately by now, many are back asleep.


  4. Julee says:

    Nick-I agree with this, they are victims, not heroes.

  5. George Stoltz says:


    Not a lot of editors have the balls to write this and for that you are my new hero. Oops, let’s just say I admire your chutzpah.

  6. Barry Crocker says:

    What Allan said! Never forget!

  7. Carol J. says:

    As I listen to the list of victims being read, your words come through crystal clear like a beacon! You are so right! Thank you for sorting out my feelings! Today should be a day to remember the HEROs who rushed INTO danger and gave their lives helping others. We all have family members who have been victims, but not all are lucky enough to have heros.

    Today should be the day to honor those who lift us up by doing the right thing–even with the possible cost of their lives!
    I am sending a big thank you to all fire and police officers! Also a heart-felt thank you to all you soliders who are willing to buy our freedom with your lives. We love and honor YOU!

  8. ArdyJones says:

    9/11 was a sad day for the world. (From Wikpedia) Apart from the approximately 2,669 United States casualties, 372 foreign nationals (excluding the nineteen perpetrators), representing just over 12% of the total number of deaths, also perished in the attacks. The following is a list of their nationalities (not accounting for some cases of dual citizenship). By far the foreign country with the largest loss of life was the United Kingdom, with 67 deaths (including the overseas territory of Bermuda). Dominican Republic lost 47, India lost 41, South Korea lost 28 and Canada and Japan lost 24 each. Colombia lost seventeen and Jamaica, Mexico and the Philippines lost sixteen each. Trinidad and Tobago lost fourteen. Australia and Germany lost eleven each, while Italy lost ten.

  9. Donna says:

    GREAT post Nick!!!

  10. walt kaiser says:

    Nick, aas a 32 year police veteran, THANK YOU for recognizing the job that we, firefighters and of course our military do for this country. Too often we have a tendency to forget. Your article is right on target and I also agree that the MSM does not have the balls to call it like it is. Thanks again.

  11. Dave K says:

    It is good that we remember this tradgic day, and pay hommage to those who died trying to save others. But PLEASE keep in mind that there are thousands of Volunteer HERO’S daily out there on our cities streets saving lives, and in the process of giving their lives for others. THEY ARE: Your Law enforcement officers and Fireman of every community in this country. When is the last time you gave thanks to a Cop, and or a Fireman. For doing what they do on a daily basis. Volunteering their Life so we can have a Life !!
    Hold that thought……….

  12. JIM says:

    Very well put. I agree 500%.

  13. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Not-so-good Nick,

    RIGHT ON BRO!!! We just finished reading ‘LIFE magazine’ September 11, 2011, 10 YEARS LATER…

  14. butterbean carpenter says:


    It is a wonderful retrospective look at the damage, through the eyes of the people who were there and affected by the situation.
    The pics are great and taken with a HUGE POLAROID CAMERA..

    MAY WE NEVER FORGET!!!!!!!!!!

  15. bucky says:

    I feel very bad for the people who lost family on that day, but I agree with you 100%, Nick, they were victims, not hero’s………………..

  16. Allan says:

    I salute our military men and women, firefighters, police, first responders. They are the heros and deserve our respect.

  17. denise says:

    Nick ,
    We were just saying the EXACT same thing on Sept.11…they are not heros they were victims. While we all feel terrible about what happened let not brand them with a name they are NOT entitled to.

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