As I'm writing this, it's 4:57 am Pacific Time, only mere minutes after the first plane hit the WTC years ago. Just like most reading this, American or not, you remember where you were when you either first heard or first saw on TV what was going on. Those of us on the west coast were waking up to these images of the mayhem and chaos.
It's hard to believe that was fifteen years ago.
It's been fifteen years since the 2,996 died between the three sites - including the 415 first responders.
Fifteen years since the nation bonded together so strongly. United we stood.
It's a difficult day every year, for many people. For the families of those lost on that day. For those that suffered years after from injuries sustained on that day. For the servicemen and women that watched what was going on, knowing it probably meant their futures changed, and that some of them won't be coming home fighting for our nation. For their families. For the first responders in New York, PA, and D.C. as not only do they remember, but also stand to be extra vigilant on this day every year.
I also would be remiss not to mention the dispatchers and operators working on that tragic day. When I started this job, there was an entire day at the academy listening to 911 tapes from 9/11 as well as a few other tragedies. That was the hardest day at the academy for me. The dispatchers that were taking the initial 911 calls of a plane hitting a skyscraper. How ridiculous that must have sounded on the first call. Then as more come in, how they started to piece together what was going on, miles away, as they were in a windowless room with phones ringing off the hook. Then calls from people trapped in the towers, not knowing what had happened or the gravity of the events. Calls from frightened family of those that worked in the towers. Calls from people on hijacked planes. And all the while, they knew that they had a job to do, and that they couldn't "feel" right now, that they had to keep going. How difficult that day would have been for them, and the days after, finally allowing themselves to process their experience from that day. I hope they were able to.
So as I go to bed now, I offer up a prayer and gratitude.
A prayer for those souls lost on that day, and for their families and friends.
For all those in the military, both past and present. For their great sacrifices for our freedom. For the military families and the different kind of sacrifices they make.
For first responders in NY, PA, & D.C. For having the courage in the face of uncertainty to run towards what everyone else was running from. For first responders everywhere, for choosing to keep the Homefront safe every single day, putting on the gear and kissing their kiddos goodbye, with the thought somewhere in the back of their heads that something like that could happen again, and could happen 'here,' and that they'd run towards still.
For my fellow dispatchers. Every next call could be what we hope to never have on our line. Thanks for every day that our officers and crews go home safely.
And one for our nation. Two for our nation. May we never forget and remember to love each other, help each other, and get through this day together, as well as the next with grace, caring, and understanding.
Bring peace, Lord, to the worried.
Bring calm, Lord, to the stressed.
Bring hope, Lord, to the downcast.
And to the tired, Lord, grant them rest.