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Every year around this date I look back and remember that day; I was on duty, our fire house was doing it’s normal daily routines when we got a call from our District Chief telling us a plane had hit the WTC.
We had all seen attempts throughout the years on those structures as well as similar ones and thought it was just another attempt to draw attention. As we turned on the news and watched the North Tower fire, we chatted about the extreme battle the FDNY brothers were up against. Then the second plane hit the South Tower, and instantly the whole room changed. We were at war. I first thought of D Day, December 7th 1941. I can remember like it was yesterday. I called my wife at work, told her to get the kids from school, and go home. The whole world changed within that minute.
When the Pentagon was struck everyone questioned “whats next? ” As we watched the TV like never before our thoughts, conversations, and prayers were with the responders to equip them for tragedies and the job they had before them. All of us read the same tactics books and deploy our resources similarly no matter where you are. It’s a way of life. it’s who we are. We spoke about what and where we thought they could attack the fires, as well as how the number of victims would be mind boggling.
09:59AM the South Tower collapsed. Between disbelieving and knowing in that instant, how many brothers and sisters had lost their lives, it was surreal. We were convinced we were at war. Shortly after at 10:28AM the North Tower collapsed and our feelings compounded. We started talking about planning to go help. This tragedy had probably claimed hundreds of our brothers and sisters. The day’s outcome had still yet to be told. In the midst of reeling thoughts and questions, we hear Flight 93 has crashed in Shanksville PA; the day just keeps spiraling.
The rising of the American people after 9/11 was nothing short of spectacular, it’s a shame the sense of unity and brotherhood mostly faded and forgotten. However 13 years later, as with ever year marking 9/11, I still get that butterfly feeling in my gut. I still remember every detail of my day at work and I pray that the survivors can live forward. I think about the brothers and sisters that we lost that day and the ones we have lost since that day and celebrate how they lived and what they lived for. They made the ultimate sacrifice living and serving a life that means so much to myself and many others. I pray their families have found peace and pride knowing that we recognize not just how they died but how they lived. As the passengers on Flight 93 were overheard saying” Let’s Roll” as they were taking back the plane instead of lying down and taking it we will never forget their sacrifice just as the brave men and women entered the towers as first responders.
And now to the members and family of the military branches and the their sacrifices, we thank you.
September 11th 2001, has forever changed our lives as a nation and a people. We honor all the brave men and women, first responders, NYPD, FDNY, and Good Samaritan.