Sunday, September 11, 2011

My 10th Anniversary Tribute to 9-11 - A Thank You to My Loved Ones in Public Service

The overcast skies of this afternoon are so poignant when I think of how I was feeling 10 years ago today.  I remember waking up to my radio alarm clock to hear the news of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center.  I was just a little over a month away from being married and still living at home.  I ran in to my parent’s bedroom to wake up my mom to tell her the news.  Still groggy, she flipped on the TV in her bedroom as I went on to get dressed for work.  At the time I was working as a secretary in the fire department division for a local city’s emergency services agency.  Mom saw the second plane crash live on the morning news and ran in to where I was to tell me about it.  I remember having this overwhelming feeling of wanting to stay home close to my family, but also knowing that because of the line of work I was in, being at work was a place where I knew I would get the most up to date information on everything that was going on.

That day at work was surreal and so bizarre.  There was not a place in the building that you could go that every available TV was not on monitoring the news and turned up loud.  The instant buzzing of officials and bosses through the building that day and the sudden changes in building security that day and in the weeks to come was amazing.  In a matter of hours our building was locked down from the public and new security measures were in place or being planned.  By day two we were having security cameras installed everywhere around the building and new measures for keeping us safe and secure were in place.  I still can’t believe how fast we went from what we once accepted as normal to another whole new normal.

However, what I remember most from that day and the days to come afterward was how it felt to be American.  How for the first time in my lifetime we, as a country, all came together as one.  It didn’t matter our age, what we did as a job, our race or religion, what part of the country we were from, or what political party for which we belonged.  We were all just Americans, just humans, caring and grieving for our fellow humans. 

Even though I was on the other side of the country, so far from this tragedy, I grieved for those lives lost and I hurt for the families who lost loved ones.  I felt pride for the fire fighters, paramedics, law enforcement officers, and other emergency services personnel who rushed to New York City, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon to do what they could to help. 

I felt pride and still feel pride daily for being a part of a public safety and military family.  So today, on this 10 year anniversary, I would like to thank my own family and close friends for their service to our country, both those who currently work and serve our community and those who have served us in the past:

  • My husband Greg, for his service as an emergency services dispatcher

  • My brother-in-law, Scott, a fire chief for a local town

  • My be brother-in-law, Chris, a volunteer fire captain for a local department and an EMT/Paramedic

  • My father, Vincent, now retired, for his years of volunteer service as a fire captain for a local department, which included being severely burned fighting a fire once and surviving it

  • My father-in-law, Bob, a Navy veteran, for his years of service to our country

  • My grandfather-in-law, Jim, now deceased, for his years of service in the Army

  • My grandfather, Tom, now deceased, for his years of service in the Navy

  • Our close friend, Steve, for his service as a law enforcement officer and detective

  • Every other family member I may be forgetting, every acquaintance, and for every other man and woman who is currently working in emergency services or serving in the United States military, or who has in the past worked in emergency services and served our military

I want to personally say thank you all for your service to our country!  It is very much appreciated!

1 comment:

Kelly L said...

I, too, am thankful!