This year marks the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America. In the quad area at school today there was this memorial. Our class took the time to go and walk among the flags and remember that fateful day. We talked about where we were when we heard that the twin towers had been hit and the feelings that we felt. We talked about the people who lost lives that day and how America was forever changed. We also commented on how there is a whole generation of Americans growing up now (those under 12) who will never know what life was like before this day and who may not be affected by the images as us older adults are.
It was overcast today. Sort of gloomy and it sort of fit our mood as we wandered through the memorial. Each flag had a picture and name attached to it. Someone who had died either that day or in the ensuing war that came about because of that day. It was quite moving....
After class, my daughter and I watched some of the memorial footage on T.V. Again we shared our feelings. We wondered if something like this could ever happen again....I think it could, especially as we are further removed from it. We get complacent and feel 'safe' again. That is why I think it is good for us to remember. To look at photos. To talk about what we felt that day. To become alert again that we really aren't safe. We need to remember all of those innocent people who were killed 9/11/2001..
I was still working the night shift that year. Ironically, we were preparing for a 'disaster meeting" that morning. I had set up the room, but had left the TV on. It was early morning (6am for us) and we had started our meeting when someone asked if the footage on T.V. was part of our meeting...we all sat in disbelief as we watched the events unfolding before us, realizing that this was real and not a part of our meeting. We finished up our shift...were told to go home and sleep fast...and reminded to leave our phones on. We did not know at the time if something would happen here in the Los Angeles area and we were instructed to stay on alert for a call back under 'disaster mode'.
At the time, I was still a single mom. I can remember driving my kids to school that day wondering if we were going to be the next to get hit. Wondering how I could keep them safe. Wondering if I'd be back to pick them up after school (I wanted to keep some normalcy by sending them to school...) We discussed the fact that someone else may need to pick them up if I was called back to work. They were OK and I went home to grab a quick couple of hours of sleep though it was a restless sleep as I keep watching things unfold on the news.
Nothing happened on the west coast. Yet, we were still affected. These were fellow Americans and we were hurt and angry. We wondered how we could help. Could we get to the east coast? Could we donate blood?
We live in a flight path for John Wayne Airport and airplanes fly overhead all of the time. You sort of don't even notice it. I can remember sitting at soccer practice in the days following the event thinking how silent it felt. There were no longer planes flying overhead. It was so eerie and we wondered if life would ever be normal again?
I wondered too how I would have responded if I had been in an area that had been attacked. As a nurse, I know how to provide life saving skills. I like to think that I would have volunteered to help. I may not have been able to go up in those towers but I would have been able to bandage and care for those that were hurt. As a grief counselor, I may have been able to listen and comfort those who needed comfort. The thing that really hits home with me is the fact that people did jump in to help. Not just first responders but normal, everyday people. We came together as humans. Humans that were hurting yet humans that were willing to help. The tragedy pulled us together in ways that nothing else ever could have.
I pray to God that something like this doesn't happen again in my life time. Though I know deep in my heart that I would help. The nurse in me would assist those wounded. The nurse in me would be one of the first ones there.
We need to remember ~