The 2996 dead at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 NYPD officers, 37 Port Authority officers. The approximately 1500 volunteers who have died of disease in the aftermath. And the estimated 422,000 suffering from PTSD or some form of disease. 6802 American men and women have died in uniform. Nearly the same number of contractors. 30500 coalition partners of war. Those who committed suicide after returning home. Those who were considered collateral. All the families of the numbers above.
The 21,843 Law Enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty in the US since 1791 -73 law enforcement officers & 14 K-9 officers in 2014.
The 20 million or more First Peoples who were slaughtered after Europeans arrived in North America. The 100 million buffalo. The 400 thousand gray wolves. The ivory woodpecker and passenger pigeon. And countless other species of birds and four-legged, amphibians and lizards whose numbers have been reduced a mere fraction since then. All those species unknown yet destroyed.
The untold number of people who die by violence – every day.
All those exploited at the hands of another.
In memory of the Standing Ones – The 95% of Redwood forest that no longer exist. Remembering the approximate world’s total net loss of forest area is 7.3 million hectares per year. The Earth’s lungs, our rainforests, only 6% remain with an approximate 137 plant, animal and insect species lost every single day due to rainforest deforestation, about 50,000 species a year.
Remembering clean water and rivers gone dry. And the 90% of all large fishes and 75% of smaller fishes that have disappeared from the world’s oceans, the coral reefs, marine turtles and estimated 100 million sharks fished annually for their fins.
The tops of most of the Appalachian Mountains.
The loss of ecosystems and healthy soil.
According to the Coalition on Homelessness approximately 37,000 homeless people who die each year in the US.
Untold Native languages and cultures.
There are no dates for commemorating the majority of this list. There should be. We should not forget the backs on which this country was built, nor the generosity of the earth and the precious plenty she provides. Everyday we’d do well to honor the many species who have fallen – human, plant, animal, the earth herself – so we can live.
This post is by no means intended to diminish the losses on 9/11. The suffering of the families is truly immeasurable. My heart goes out to them.
And it is also true that there is so much more to remember. My heart is with them too.
Mitakuye Oyasin… all my relations.