I am a wife of a volunteer firefighter. He is a 3rd generation fireman and has dozens of blood relatives who have volunteered countless hours to the craft. He runs into burning buildings to save your family or your pets. He leaves our bed at night to race to the scene of an accident, to help pry someone out of their car. He helps to keep people calms them until they can be moved, or until their house is no longer burning. He then comes home to shower and heads straight to his job, sometimes with no sleep at all. These men and women put their lives on the line every day with no pay. They do it to make sure that we are safe.
I have several friends and a few family members who are police officers. Regardless of what the news media likes to portray, these men and women keep us safe. They are making sure that my family and I can safely walk our streets at night. They are a phone call away when someone is creeping around our kid's school. Yes, I have been pulled over for speeding on several occasions and followed the directions that the officer gave me, took my ticket and was good to go. I got pulled over because the officer was trying to keep other safe (from my reckless driving).
I have family and friends who are EMTs. They have seen the unthinkable; dealt with unstable drug addicts ready to attack and gone into neighborhood that make the places we see on TV look warm and welcoming. Why? To help someone in need. And, if you know any EMTs out there, they aren't doing it for the money.
These are our first responders.
I also have an 8 year old and a 5 year old. Every year on September 11, we remember.
I remember exactly where I was that day and every year, my kids ask to hear about it again (even thought they know the story) I had torn my knee pretty bad playing hockey and was at the doctors office for my follow up. The doc had told me, "had I played hockey with boys, I'd be out for good, but since I just played women's hockey, I would be fine with some rehab." I was so angry at that comment but kept my mouth shut because I wanted to keep playing. I got in the car and continued to listen to my PHISH CD until I pulled into my parking lot. When I arrived home, my roommate was watching Cartoon Network so we still had no idea what was happening. The phone rang a few minutes later and it was my mom telling me to turn on the news. We had just tuned in as the second plane was heading towards the building. I remember sitting there talking to the TV. "What is going on? Oh my God, that plane is headed right towards the building. What is happening?" I did nothing for the rest of the day. I watched coverage all day and night, crying, unable to comprehend what was happening.
Fast forward a few years to when I met my hubby. I was so frightened when I found out that he was a fireman. When we first moved in together, I would stay up and listen to the scanner until he came home from a call, my mind always going back to 9-11 and the what ifs. B
Fast forward to us starting a family. I remember going places with my infant son and thinking those what ifs. How would I handle the situation? How would I get in touch with my family and loved ones? Would I have the strength to keep going?
September 11, changed people's lives forever. You didn't have to be directly affected to feel the change. You didn't have to know someone, or live in a specific place. You just had to be human.
So in our house, we don't hide the events of 9-11 from our children. We celebrate this day. We remember our first responders and the sacrifices that they made. We remember the innocent people who were murdered. We pray for those that they left behind. We celebrate the millions of people who came together to help each other: the search and rescue, the clean up, the donations and everything else that had to be done so that we, as a nation, could get back on our feet. We don't glorify the "bad people" by giving them a title or a name. We refer to them as what they are, "bad people". We discuss how rules have changed to make sure things like this don't happen again. We watch movies and documentaries. We read articles and look through books and magazines. My husband and I do censor what our children see, to an extent, but everyone needs to remember (or know) how horrific of a time this was. We also cry and that's OK. I want our children to remember this day and to know it is OK to be sad about what happened. It's Ok to be sad for the people that were lost, or for those that lost someone.
There are parents and adults out there that judge us for sharing "to much" with our children. We do not let our children watch the news in our house, although we keep them up to date on current events. We are their news anchors. Why is it that people have no problem discussing the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest battle in American history, or the Holocost and the evilness of Hitler, or anything else found in the history books? Why is discussion of 9-11 taboo and not for children?
Don't let this day go by without remembering. Share stories. Talk about those who we lost. Talk about those who lived. Give your family an extra hug today and tell them that you love them. Life is to short.
Running the Hero Rush 343 Heat. Each runner ran for a fallen firefighter.