It’s difficult for me to reflect on an event, that fifteen years ago, so drastically changed the world, and reshaped my perspective and my life. Like others, in major world events, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard that an aircraft had struck the World Trade Center. If it matters, I was standing in-line in a bagel shop in South Glens Falls, NY, some 200 miles north of NYC.
I remember the fear and confusion in co-workers eyes as we came to grip with the fact that this wasn’t an accident – we had been attacked.
I remember the resolve as we started moving personnel and resources into Lower Manhattan.
I remember the look in the eyes of so many FDNY, NYPD, Port Authority, and MTA Brothers and Sisters. I can’t describe it, but I remember it.
I remember the funerals; so many funerals.
I remember the sights, the sounds, and the smells……
But more importantly, I remember the compassion shown by everyone involved in the response. The small, individual acts of kindness of helping a Brother in need to get through a difficult operational period, the crowds lining the West Side Highway cheering the Ground Zero workers as we went into Lower Manhattan and as we left, and the Mid-Town restaurant owner refusing to allow us to pay for a meal, after we came off a shift.
I remember the multitude of American Flags all rising from half-staff to full-staff along the outfield wall at Yankee Stadium at the conclusion of the September 23, 2001 Memorial Service, symbolizing the strength and resolve of New York City, New York State, and all of the United States.
Many bad memories, yet so many good memories.
“NEVER FORGET” became our cry, like “Remember Pearl Harbor” was to the Greatest Generation some sixty years before. And never means NEVER! We can never forget the 2,996 people that were murdered that day, including the 71 law enforcement officers and 343 firefighters. Let us also never forget the hundreds of civilians and responders that survived that day, only to later succumb to the
diseases related to the dust and particulate exposures that they endured. And we can never forget the estimated 20,000+ that are currently diagnosed with 9/11 related ailments. Never Forget!
Be Safe, and Everyone Goes a Home,
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