As little as I give credence to celebrities, they do hold a great responsibility when speaking out of their various character(s) to the masses that hold them and their words like the edicts of gods so many do indeed make of them. That said, I fully admit that I hold the highest of regard for Robert De Niro’s acting, from his performances in classics like the Godfather, and Raging Bull to Men of Honor, which has provided some great entertainment.
I additionally held him with high regard knowing he lived but a mile from the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks. Following the attacks he helped rebuild the Tribeca area with the Film Festival, which, by the way, has been shown to have been in the works even prior to 9/11, but of which efforts De Niro thrust himself into, helping a decimated area of lower Manhattan be revitalized. Also as many may recall, De Niro narrated the first, and in my humble opinion, one of the greatest documentaries of the attacks ever made, “9/11,” filmed by the Naudet brothers from inside the Towers that fateful morning.
But all the aforementioned accolades becomes as dross when De Niro makes a statement that he feels like he did after 9/11 with regard to Donald Trump being elected to the highest and most powerful position in the world. You see Bob, this isn’t about politics, it’s about WE the people.
I walked the hallowed area that was known by the public as “Ground Zero” but which many of us who were there day after day, week after week, month after month, called “Ground Hero”. That place where thousands worked side by side searching as rescue turned to recovery, and I watched as their rage turned into tears knowing their friends and so many others, were but memories. For us these many years later, like my cousin, whose remains were never located, the sorrows of those days for the family have never subsided, and the pain of personal loss, which Mr. De Niro admitted to not experiencing, is heartfelt and near crippling. For the children who grew up without parents, without a father to walk them down their marriage aisle or hold their grandchildren as they entered this world, the grieving continues.
It’s easy I suppose to think so highly of yourself, a boy who grew up in Greenwich Village, never served in the military (where I also know personal losses), or knew anyone personally that perished on 9/11, to stray from a message of unity and helping to bring America together. Instead you choose to widen the divide and use your celebrity as such, while promoting your new movie and disrespecting those who do know 9/11 from the depth of our souls.
Oh, there are certainly others, among the tens of thousands who responded, survived, or have lost loved ones then, and since, that are not supportive of President-Elect Trump, but I say with certainty, that they don’t compare those feelings of utter grief with that of an election. For those who searched through the rubble, especially those of us in emergency services, we don’t ask, nor do we care, who someone votes for as we run into the rescue or recover, nor do we care about the color of their skin, nor anything but our sacred mission.With all the aforementioned being said, how dare you compare your feelings to that of those who not only felt the sorrows then, but have felt the sorrows every week as we lay another in their grave – murdered on 9/11 but taking years to die from the toxic effects it ravaged upon our bodies. Are your ‘feelings’ so shallow, so self-absorbed, so divisive and unempathetic as to draw such comparison? No Mr. De Niro, your insensitive and thoughtless comments are not lost upon us and has turned the once admired ‘bad-boy’ character actor with a heart, into the snowflake so indicative of the superior and privileged ‘know-it-all’. Perhaps I’m wrong as I must presume, based on such a careless statement, that you can compare your feelings then to your feelings now over an election of someone you don’t care about and are unwilling to respect … the same lack of respect you show to all of us who were at the attack sites, who have grown sick or have died since … the same disregard for the families of the over 1800 plus who have died since from the cancers and other health issues that plague us from our service. And, the vast majority of us would do it all again. You see Mr. De Niro, that service is telling of WHO we are as much as your insensitive remarks are telling of WHO you really are.