9/11 as a first responder

I had just finished a 24 hour shift in EMS when I arrived at home and was getting ready for a nice nap when I heard about what was happening. The date was 9/11/2001 and America was being attacked. I think for all of us in EMS at that time we will always remember where we were. I want to talk only of how it felt when I saw those buildings collapse.

I remember thinking, even if it was abstractly, that is us. That is me and my partner, my coworkers, everyone that is in this field knows we can die on the job. What we saw as the buildings collapsed around the firefighters, emts and paramedics, police officers and others that were trying to lend a hand was ourselves being buried.

I saw many people get up right after the fall of the buildings, dust off, treat minor injuries that were found and run right back in to help where they could. I always remember Fred Rogers’s quote: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

That was so true that day and the days after the attacks. You could almost hear it, “we are still here, you’ve hit us but we are far from being defeated.”

Today, on this somber anniversary, I want to take a moment and thank all of you that are in this first responder role, be it EMS, fire departments, police officers and government run response agencies. From the bottom of my heart thank you for what you do. I am proud to know that there are brave people out there that would head into harms way to help me and mine. We are not facing today alone, when we put on the uniform and go to the next emergency we are family.

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