It’s hard to believe that it’s been 9 years since the September 11, 2001 attacks. The sight of the jet crashing into the south tower is so vivid in my mind that it seems like it just happened yesterday. I’m sure many of you know exactly where you were when you heard the news or saw the images on TV. In many ways, the world as we knew it changed on September 11, 2001.
The north tower was struck at 7:46 a.m. and I must have been on my way to the hospital because I didn’t know anything about it until I arrived at work and overheard coworkers talking about the passenger jet that “crashed” into the World Trade Center, no one had any reason to suspect terrorism. I went about my work and at 8:03 a.m. I was in a patient’s room when I saw live images of the second plane hit the south tower. I will never forget it.
There are a few other things about that day that I’ll never forget. I remember wanting answers; what happened, who did it, why did it happen, what’s going to happen next. It was a struggle to be productive the rest of the day. I remember joinining a group of staff at the flag pole in front of the hospital, forming a circle, holding hands and praying. Praying for those affected at the World Trade Center, those affected at the Pentagon, those who died in the field in Pennsylvania and praying for our country. I remember the President addressing the nation from a bunker in Nebraska and how much better I felt after hearing him speak (I learned a valuable lesson on leadership that day, leadership is never more sought after than in a crisis and at times being seen is more important than being heard). I remember the images of people emerging from the clouds of dust as they tried to escape the falling buildings. I remember, just as vividly, the first responders running into the clouds of dust with no regard for their personal safety. I remember my mother calling me at work just to tell me she loved me. I remember watching television for days hoping and praying that one more survivor would be pulled from the tangled steel and crumbled concrete. I remember stories of cell phones ringing in the wreckage as loved ones tried to contact family and friends who were unaccounted for. I remember congress holding hands and singing “God Bless America” on the steps of the Capital Building. I remember the sense of unity and purpose across our nation.
Tomorrow I hope you remember how you felt on September 11, 2001. Those who died that day and those who have died since fighting for the freedom we take for granted every day deserve a moment of our time. I obviously don’t remember the attack on Pearl Harbor but I have to think the attacks on September 11, 2001 elicit the same response with a different generation.
We should all do a better job acknowledging those who serve our country in the armed forces; past, present, and future. We should also do a better job appreciating those first responders, those individuals who run into the cloud of dust when everyone else is running out.
In many ways our world changed September 11, 2001. We are all a little less safe but we should all be a little more appreciative. We should be appreciative of those who sacrifice so we don’t have to. We should be appreciative of those who stand guard so we can sleep at night. We should be appreciative of our great nation.
God Bless America