I was in EMS for 22 years before retiring due to a back injury. One of my most memorable experiences was responding to New York City as a Paramedic in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I will never forget that experience. What I saw and did are still with me, as is a type of asthma from breathing the dust. My Experience as a Paramedic on 9-11-01
We lost over 3,000 American's that day, including 8 EMS Providers, 60 Police Officers and 343 Firefighters in NYC.
Since that day, 200 FDNY Firefighters have died from 9/11 related illnesses, and hundreds of others are sick, including EMS, PD and civilians. There is a new area at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in NYC for these individuals who are sick.
As time passes, people seem to forget what happened and the toll it has taken. We need to make sure we never forget and educate our children about what happened. Talk to them about it, tell them how you felt and what the experience was. Take them to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in NYC. It is an amazing, somber experience going there. My 7 year old daughter has been to ground zero and the park, but not into the museum. That will come later.
I still vividly remember where I was (at Sikorsky Aircraft) when it happened, responding down there as a paramedic, the sights, the smells, the people. I was at Ground Zero for the last part of my shift down there on 9/12. It was sobering to see the pile, knowing there were people in there.
As the years have gone by, we have lost first responders to 9/11 related diseases, many struggle with PTSD or other medical issues. The current generation doesn't know this as anything but history. The worst part for many of us was not being able to save people and the many days and weeks hoping against all odds that we would find people alive.
I went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in NYC in 2012. It was an amazing, heartbreaking experience. I recommend that every American go there and see it, remember those who were lost, and pray something like this never happens again.
9/11 still haunts me to this day, as it does most of us who responded. But we persevere and move on, not letting the terrorists win.
The anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has become a very important National Day of Service and Remembrance in America, known as “9/11 Day”.
9/11 Day is a time when Americans are asked to join together in unity, remember those lost on 9/11, and if possible, perform good deeds or other acts of service as a positive tribute to the 9/11 victims, as well as first responders and military personnel who rose in service in response to the terrorist attacks.
This year, the organizers of 9/11 Day are asking all of us to participate virtually through a special program called “9/11 Day at Home”, There is no cost or required donation involved. The goal is to inspire one million acts of kindness that participants are able to do from home.
Visit www.911day.org. View the well-curated list of good deeds you can do at home or at your leisure for 9/11 Day. But think of them as thought-starters. You are free and encouraged to come up with your own ideas. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Send a letter or thank you note to your child’s teacher
- Spend a day at a homeless shelter
- Hand out drinks and snacks to your Amazon and other delivery drivers
- Grocery shop for elderly neighbors
- Water a neighbor’s lawn or flowers
- Write letters to our U.S. troops
- Plant a tree
- Pay for someone’s morning coffee in the drive up lane
- Help tutor a struggling student
- Drop off a surprise gift basket for a neighbor or friend
- Donate school supplies for kids in need
- Leave letters or notes of encouragement for your colleagues and/or loved ones
- Donate holiday gifts to an orphanage
- Make dinner or donate dinner to a family in need
- Pick up litter in your neighborhood or on the street
- Let someone go in front of you in line
- Volunteer at your local pet shelter
- Become a pen pal with someone in a nursing home
- Send a care package to a soldier deployed overseas
- Donate unused clothes or items to a charity
- Record videos of you reading books for kids in hospitals
- Perform a concert or sing at a retirement home
- Leave your waiter a generous tip
- Do chores around the house without being asked
- Make a family member breakfast in bed
- Spread encouragement, love and positivity through social media and encourage others to do the same
Nothing could be more important right now than joining together in unity and to pay tribute by helping those most in need. Never forget what we are capable of doing together. Thank you!