The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

We Don’t Forget… We Remember… Everyday

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on September 11, 2010


September 12, 2010 12:15 a.m. CST

I am purposely posting this on September 12th. This is a recollection of September 11, 2001 from my own memory. I am posting this on September 12th rather than September 11th because to me and to countess others, the two dates are no different. They are the same, as are the other 363 days out of the year. We remember this day vividly. When we put on our uniforms, or hear the emergency tones over the radio, or see a news clip that mentions anything at all to do with terrorists, we remember.

WE REMEMBER!

Nine years ago yesterday, I was at home on temporary bed rest while pregnant with Britton. At 11:01 a.m. CST the front door flew open and Britton’s dad announced – almost triumphantly – “Get up! We’re going to war!”

The only thing I could manage to get out was a weak and breathless “What?” The next 90 seconds were a rushed flow of words that ran together as he explained what had happened. He grabbed the remote and quickly found CNN. As I slowly lowered by huge butt to the couch, I caught the tail end of the video showing the South Tower collapsing.

The flood of understanding and comprehension was so intense that I lost my breath again. Thoughts of panic, fear, anger, sorrow and grief washed over me. Britton began to flip flop in the womb in response to my reactions. I started to try to sooth him with some Baby Bach,but then it hit me… I’m pregnant and we’ve just been attacked by terrorists… They attacked New York City… The Twin Towers… Oh my God… We live within a 50 mile radius of TEN of the biggest oil and gas refineries in the country!

All of these thoughts came within a matter of seconds but to me it was as though time had stood still. Apparently, Britton’s dad was speaking to me, saying something about war and terrorists, and again he seemed almost triumphant. I stared up at this man – the father of my unborn child – and thought, You idiot… You’re actually glad that we’re going to war? What the hell?

I dismissed him almost as quickly because the man on the television was suddenly speaking very clearly – or at least I was hearing him very clearly.

“Again, if you are just now joining us, the South Tower of the World Trade Center has just collapsed.”

The video’s images are still scarred into my memory, the frames showing debris falling and people running.

As the South Tower collapsed, it seemed to be right in front of me. Tears spilled out of my eyes and my heart fell through my chest. Britton began to flip flop again, this time more furiously. I gave up trying to sooth him. I knew it was no use as my whole world seemed to become very, very small.

I don’t have any Civil Servants in my biological family, but my real family is full of them. Fire, EMS, Police Officers, Search and Rescue… There are literally too many to count. I began my own adult life as a 911 and law enforcement dispatcher for the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department. I assisted in Search and Rescue Operations. At the time, this just seemed normal to me as it was what I knew best. The decision to become a Paramedic was just as natural. The first thing I heard from my family when I told them of my career choice was an affectionate jib…
“Crazy ass Medics and Fire Fighters… When all the smart people are running away from danger, ya’ll are racing towards it!”

As the television splayed the horrific scenes unfolding in New York, my mind raced with the thoughts of those “extended” brothers and sisters racing towards the towers as everyone else fled the scene. Immediately, I began to pray. I called upon Saint Florian, the patron saint of Fire Fighters and Saint Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of Medics and Police Officers. I called upon Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. I even called upon Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things and Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals.

It wasn’t too much longer before the voice on the television reported that the Pentagon was still being evacuated. Then, the North Tower was also collapsing. Then, Flight 93 had gone down over a field in Pennsylvania.

“Rudy Giuliani orders an evacuation of Lower Manhattan.”

“Five stories of part of the Pentagon collapse due to the fire,” and a few seconds later, “they have completely collapsed.”

The story unfolded before me as though it were a horror movie I was forced to watch against my will, and yet I knew somehow that this was no movie. It was not a nightmare though I prayed to God that it was. This was real. The United States of America had been attacked on our own soil by foreign terrorists. There were Fire Fighters, Paramedics, Police Officers, and Search and Rescue personnel who were dead or dying. There were countless innocent souls unaccounted for while their families called upon the Saints as well.

I was terrified by thoughts that I could not stop from entering my mind. What am I going to do if we are hit? I’m pregnant! And on bed rest! What the hell am I going to do? How am I going to protect my unborn child?

And then even more terror as my mind was suddenly drawn back to my family. Where is Ryan? Where is Courtney? Where is James? Tony… Dan… Joey… Lisa… Jonathan… Jeff… Cory… Bruce… Jessica… Andi… Chris… Where is my FAMILY dammit!? Oh God, Bubba Gary… Is he at work?

My fingers pressed the numbers on my phone so fast and shakily that several times I had to stop, clear, and try again. With each call that was answered, my heart raced a little less. I must’ve called 50 people within that next hour, all while CNN continued to show the utter devastation that was ransacking New York City. Britton’s dad had already gone back to work, thankfully. I don’t think I could have handled everything that was happening with his idiotic talk of war and revenge.

Once everyone was accounted for in my own family, I prayed again for those unaccounted for in so many other places. As the day continued on, my senses returned to somewhat normal, and my own thoughts of revenge began to surface.

How dare they attack MY country! How dare they attack MY family! I didn’t know who they were yet, but whoever they were, they had better steer very clear, far and wide from this very pissed off, gun toting pregnant woman! I was hormonal, mad and a damn good shot. It just wasn’t a safe decision for them. Of course, none of them ever came near Texas. To this day, I still like to believe that no terrorist would ever want to attack the Southern States because of our intimidation factor – those people are crazy! Whether this is really true or not, I don’t know. But hey, it could be true.

What I do know to be true is that I will never forget that day for as long as I live. Somehow, even on that day as it unfolded I knew that I would never forget. I even remember wondering if that same thought had occurred to so many members of the American public when JFK and Martin Luther King were assassinated. Then after a while, the media began to use “Never Forget” as a sort of slogan in reference to 9/11.

The first time I heard it, I thought, No, I never will.

2,973 Souls…

343 FDNY Firefighters (+3 Retired FDNY Brothers working with WTC Fire Safety)
23 NYPD Police Officers
37 Port Authority Police Officers
Most Importantly… 2,973 Heroes

The Tribute In Light will shine from Dusk to Dawn to honor the 2,973 people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and to serve as a symbol of hope for the city of New York. (Live webcam of the Tribute In Light, Ground Zero)

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4 Responses to “We Don’t Forget… We Remember… Everyday”

  1. jan said

    i actually saw the second tower fall on live tv – friend downstairs had her tv up loud and i was curious as to what was happening – i had just woke up – retired so dont get up early – i could not believe it –

    and on a personal note do not believe they shd be allowed to build a mosque in shadow of ground zero – in fact saw on news that the buiding destroyed there was a greek church that has been there a long time and they want to rebuild their church and shd be allowed to do so – if we dont stand up – this country will soon be another muslim nation with the blessing from our president

  2. reveil said

    Nice tribute. A sad day for all of us. The courage of all the medics and firefighters shall never be forgotten.

  3. R. Thompson said

    Excellent post, just as the Labor Day horse post was great.

    Jan…. unless I misunderstand your comment, you appear to have some things wrong. The rest is just my opinion, like ears, we all have them.

    The Greek Christian church that was destroyed is NOT the location the Sufi Muslim group wants to build Park51…aka Cordoba House. The issue for the Greek Orthodox group has been their choice to build a larger edifice on nearby property and the sundry permitting and permission steps they must take to do so.

    The Sufi group wants to build their “cultural center” on other private property approximately two blocks from “Ground Zero” and that is a whole different controversy. How many blocks would be acceptable? 4, 8, 16…how many? Unfortunately, our pointers and shriekers on both sides get all the media attention, and the emotional and political attention. That seems to be our perverse way to doing things these days. The mole hill becomes the mountain.

    The Imam of the Sufi group has been less than forthcoming and has some dubious statements in his past. The most noisy opponents are even less credible.

    Just in passing, in the Muslim world, Sufi’s are considered apostates in the sphere of Al Qaeda (essentially Saudi Wahhibist Sunnis), and Taliban adherents (esentially similar to Sunni Wahhibists) as well as the Iranian, Lebanese, and Iraqi Shiite world.

    My personal preference would be for the Sufis to build elsewhere on Manhattan Island, however, it is a New York City issue. NYC has a firm tradition dating to about 1650 (Dutch founders) of deep religious tolerance, not to mention our own Constitution. The issue has been made “national” now, and it’s not hard to see how or why…political gain.

    The area of NYC itself (Tribeca and Wall Street) has had a solid Muslim residency and work population going back decades. None of my NYC Tribeca acquaintances object to it…providing it does not impact the Dakota Roadhouse nearby….and they lived through the ordeal directly. Peruse the list of dead on 9/11 and see how many names you can find that sound likely Muslim? There are quite a few on that list. Google it. None of the anti-mosque screamers that I am aware of live anywhere near Tribeca-NYC. None of the Muslim “center’s” noisy Muslim screamers do either. We’ve unintentionally made “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” a dictum in this case….e.g., Sunni and Shiite support for those, otherwise apostate Sufis, the sponsors of the Park51 edifice.

    Now, I’ve been to war, been shot at and shot back. Back in those days I felt my greatest enemies were back here, some calling me and others baby killers. I haven’t changed my mind…our worst enemies are within. They fabricate their own “reality” out of thin air and then swear to it. They get soldiers killed….and some revel in that alone. It’s happening again.

    Consider, if you will, just HOW do the denizens of goat screwing pedophilia accepting Bum Flip Afghanistan know so much about the issue? Whether the Park51 issue or the Koran burning issue? Yeah…our enemies burn Bibles and American flags…do we want to be that low ourselves? They barely have running water, and the majority have no Internet access. How a raggedy protest there gets such in-depth coverage here…never mind Reuters usual lie-by-photograph portrayal of the protests (they used photos of Pakistanis in Pakistan but labeled them Afghanistan….in very obviously posed photo-op shots). You, we, me…we’re being manipulated by people who give less of a tinker’s dang either way. It has to be orchestrated by media, as well as selfish political interests, and worse, encouraged by the fanatic jihad demagogues within the Muslim world community.

    In short, although 9/11 was a national tragedy, effecting all of us, the Park51 edifice is purely a NYC matter. I was involved with the 9/11 recovery effort there and, yes, I feel an attachment….a vested interest if you will. Up front… I saw the entire affair on a cable television feed, in my offices, from the reporting of the first tower impact, saw the second tower hit, and both collapse…at the same time I was reading messages from HQ Dept of the Army and dispatch messages in my own DoD organization preparing for an emergency response….which began immediately.

    I’d sent home all of my subordinates by 10:45 AM that day due to the fear I could see in those eyes….we were several floors up in a federal building, one exposed to a direct line of sight or flight from our large airport. By 1:00 PM the building was closed and left to the sub-machine gun armed federal police of various agencies. As it should have been. We just DID not know what was to be next. Those of us who needed to, such as myself, stayed in touch via encrypted Internet connection to global servers and by telephone. No beat was skipped.

    In short, in this current affair, our own best intentions and feelings are being used against us by our enemies…and we are enabling it. We righteously decry Mulsim prayer space near destroyed buildings that had self same prayer spaces built in to them…and that includes the Pentagon. Chapels have long been a military institution on bases the world over. I’ve seen Mass conducted in a fighting hole, under fire.

    I feel today like “Pogo”…we’ve seen he enemy and it is us. Where do I live? Only in the very middle of the heaviest concentration of Muslims in the entire USA. That is where I went home to on 9/11. All of my neighbors know I worked for the US Army. Funny thing is, ever since this “mosque” dust up started (or the Koran burning lunatic), not once has it been mentioned in conversation by any of my neighbors…who know full well I am inclined to say what I think, act on what I believe, feelings be danged….and encourage others to do the same. On 9/11/2001 when I arrived home mid afternoon, I was met by people with tears in their eyes, every one of them. I had Shiite women, young and old reach out and touch me in consolation…and if you know anything about Shiite customs, that is not done, ever. But it was. The terror they’d fled had followed them here.

    Precisely 10 days later, on 9/21/2001, my next block neighbor, a Federal Police Officer, was gunned down and killed in the lobby of my building (shot through the arm pit, by-passing his vest)…by a lily white crazy man, subsequently gunned down, but not killed, by other officers. It was not a good year. I fear a lunatic blazing away in a crowded building lobby far more than I do a building in NYC. We do nothing to honor the firemen and police, and the civilians like Rick Rescorla of Morgan Stanley, who went up the down stair case on 9/11 by making all this fuss. But we do encourage those who killed them. We hand them the bully pulpit they desire.

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