What an odd day. I've wanted to post something here about remembering that day not so many years ago when we were jolted from our security. Do you remember where you were? Are we going to play this game that was played with the Kennedy assassinations or John Lennon's murder? Of course we are, it's human nature to relate an event or a time or memory, to associate it with something and personalize it to set it in memory.
I remember where I was. I was teaching a Baseline Class at work. Bill, a friend of mine, was attending. Two co-workers, Joyce and Ed, were watching things transpire on a TV in a conference room and we kept turning the TV in the training room on during breaks. What a long, long day. After work I helped another friend, Ken, with a class at a shooting range.
Driving home I saw a most heart-rending site - a lone figure was standing on one of the freeway overpasses in Morgan holding a US flag. Simply, heartbreakingly and peacefully, standing there, silhouetted in the sunset.
All day long I had felt anger and frustration. All day long I wanted to strike back, to exact my own toll against those who perpetrated this upon our soil. But seeing that lone flag bearer, lighted from behind with the the dying rays of the days sun, I suddenly was more focused and more my anger was tempered with sorrow. Anger would return, but just then I felt sorrow for those many people who lost friends and family in this tragedy.
While I lost no family of mine, I did lose some acquaintances and people with whom I worked. This was driven home later while at a conference and talking about this attack with some FBI trainers. They were commenting on one of the assignments they had in New York following the attack and mentioned one of the men working on the phones and communications lines they used. They stated that he was always there. He was there in the morning and there at night and never seemed to go home.
When he was asked about it, he bluntly stated that he was the only person in his office in the North Tower that wasn't killed in the attack. Some happenstance had kept him delayed from getting to the office on time that morning and his entire floor was destroyed killing every other person in his office. He alone survived and the guilt that he felt for that drove him to service. He needed to work, he needed to expiate this guilt for not dying with his co-workers by serving those who worked to investigate this tragedy.
This was something that was seen all across our country. Suddenly, people were coming out to enlist. Our military experienced a growth curve as did our police and fire departments. People, just everyday, ordinary people where volunteering to help others. The crime rate dropped, violence dropped, and people cared for each other again. I hadn't seen people care like this since the early '70s. People simply cared.
Since that time, however, there has been a slow decline back to the status of pre-9/11. People have returned to the "what's-in-it-for-me" attitude, the feeling of watching out solely for one's self rather than a "we're-all-in-this-together" attitude.
I beg, I implore, I seek or WHATEVER works with you, care for others. Care for each other. Care for yourself and your family, certainly, and care for your friends. But care also for those in need. Care for those that are alone. Don't be afraid to take a minute and remember those who serve and protect the freedoms we so freely enjoy.
Remember the men and women in our armed services, those who fight daily in their police, fire and EMS duties to protect and provide these freedoms for us. Don't forget the police, fire and EMS workers that rushed in while others were rushing out. The ones that knew they weren't coming out yet still sacrificed in an attempt to save as many people as they could.
And while you're busy not forgetting, how about we not forget to offer them our thanks when we get the chance. Sadly, I don't think that we're through with this battle, I am afraid that we will once again have visited upon our land another attack on this great country. I hope we're ready this next time.
And I hope we learn from these attacks that we truly are a great people living in a great land.