On September 11, 2001, I was 11 years old. My mom woke us up for school and shuffled us around, all while trying to not have to explain too much about planes being commandeered and crashed into the Twin Towers. To a 11 year old, this was incomprehensible. 9/11 changed my life. I remember watching the news in the following weeks and months and seeing the paramedics and firefighters at the scene and thinking: “I want to do that.”
I’m lucky enough to possess jobs that allow me to see people at their very best and at their very worst. Not many people can say that, and while sometimes it’s a curse, most of the time it’s a blessing. I love to help people, whether I’m helping bustle a wedding dress, or holding the hand of an elderly person on the way to the hospital.
So you’ll understand when I say that when I booked my trip to NYC, the first thing I checked out was the 9/11 memorial. Have you ever been? It’s stunning. There are literally no words for it. You’re walking through a maze of skyscrapers and construction, and then, BAM it’s opened up in front of you. The two gaping holes in the earth with the constantly flowing water.
You don’t realize the enormity of it until you approach the walls and see the names engraved in them. The names are grouped by flight, ladder, engine, company…you get the idea. Until I saw the names of the 343 men and women who willingly sacrificed their lives on 9/11, it never really hit me. I ran my fingers over the squads, and tears came to my eyes as I realized that these 343 people right here were why I am who I am. They are the reason I’m an EMT and a firefighter. They gave their life so I could live mine. So thank you. Thank you to every single one of you, who went to work on that fateful day expecting to come home to your families at the end of shift.
If you haven’t visited the 9/11 memorial, I highly recommend it!