Wednesday, September 11, 2013

And the Greatest is Love

I remember September 11, 2001 like it was just yesterday. I was in high school, a Sophomore, sitting in Algebra 2. Someone walked into my classroom and told my teacher to put the television on, that something awful was happening.

What we saw will forever be engraved in my mind. I can not forget as the TV flickered to life-  watching the second plane crash into Tower 2. 

At first there was confusion. Then panic. Then realization of what was occurring.

In 2001 I was a brand new first responder. I was associated with our towns volunteer ambulance service and I knew in those moments that people from our area were going to be heading up to do what they could to help.

I knew in those moments that lives were lost. I knew in those moments that life would never be the same. The fear that was induced on September 11th 2001 would never just go away. We would never and could never go back to September 10th 2001. 

Life was forever different.

I remember my teacher saying she was going to say a prayer and that we could pray too if we wanted too. I remember crying and bowing my head in silent prayer. In a public high school that is something that forever sticks with you. 

 I also remember the principal asking teachers to turn the televisions off, that they did not want us watching what was happening. But, my study hall teacher Mr P. refused to turn it off. I remember him saying we are living a moment in history and its beyond  important for us to watch and know what was going on. 

I remember the faces of my classmates. The faces of the staff. The faces of my parents that day when I got home. No one knew what to say. At the same time no one had to say anything.

I remember September 12th better though. It was quiet. Eerie quiet. There was a melancholy feeling amongst everyone. Some people cried. Other prayed. There were so many flags hanging in our small town. People held doors longer. People smiled at one another. People were in shock.

It is so hard to believe that it is 12 years later.

At the same time it really is 12 years later. 

As a dispatcher there is one radio transmission that brings me to tears every year when its replayed or re posted. 

08:49 hrs 9/11/01
Squad 1-8 to Manhattan, K.
Squad 1-8 K.
....looked like it was intentional. Inform all units coming in from the back it could be a terror attack.
Ten-four. All units be advised. 

There are many other transmission that stick with me.. but this one is forever in my memory. The dispatchers voice. Her tone. Her calm. Her bravery. I commend her. My heart goes out to her. 

I can not imagine.  

My hearts and prayers goes out to every single person affected - which truly is all of us. All of our lives were changed. 

However, there is a special place in my heart for the dispatchers. The way they remained calm. The way they relayed transmissions. The horror they had to be feeling and the fear.. well being as this is my career I just can't imagine. I pray that I never have to deal with anything on the scale in which they did- and if I ever have to I pray that I can handle it with the calmness and grace in which they did.

To dispatchers the guys and girls that are on the calls are our responsibility. My job every day is to get each and every one of my girls and guys and patients home safely. We want everyone to return home to their families and loved ones, and sadly on September 11th, 2001 that did not happen. The dispatchers could not have imagined it would have turned out that way.. and the first responders that were sent into the towers did so willingly. It was their job to try to- and they succeeded in- saving many lives. At the same time so many lost their own lives. So many were forever effected.There is no doubt in my mind that it sticks with the dispatchers every single day of their lives.

So while I pray for all the first responders, the fireman, police officers, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, nurses, civilians, search and rescue... and all of us forever affected by these awful acts I have to hold a special prayer for my brothers and sisters in dispatch.

I will forever hold you all in my heart. 

Hold your loved ones a little tighter today. Instead of thinking of the awful that occurred that day and the evil behind it I prefer to think of the good. All the people that ran into the buildings and all the people in the days, weeks, and months after that spent their time do whatever was asked of them in order to help. 

Alan Jackson has a song - Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning.

There is a verse in the song that says it very best- 

"I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
You the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love" - Alan Jackson


  1. What a thoughtful and sweet post! I'm sure it hits extra close to you as you are in that line of work. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Caroline it really does there are lots of scripts for us to help callers - none of those include this scenario. Every one of those dispatchers had to have an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

  2. I remember that day and will never forget. I was in High School a freshman headed to biology. We heard the reports and were standing in the hallway watching the news on the TV. I immediately tried to call my Dad...who turned out to be okay. I can't believe what a huge tragedy hit the US, and still more violence continues here among our own people.