September 11, 2001
We all remember where we were when we first heard the news. At the tender age of 12, I was in my 8th grade home room when a friend told me about the first plane. I remember thinking it was some sort of freak accident, until we heard about the second plane. I knew it was a horrible act, but I think I was too young to fully understand just how horrible. I knew people had died, and for no reason, and I knew we would go to war, inevitably killing more. I wondered if we would still be at war by the time I graduated in 2006, and whether I would have to go.
September 11, 2011
10 years had passed. Now, at the age of 22, I was at the Training Division Fire academy facility in Crowley, TX. At 8 am, we raised the American Flag in silence, and lowered it to half mast. 10 years earlier, I didn't know that 2,996 people would die that day, and over 6,000 others would be injured. I didn't know that 72 law enforcement officers and 55 military personnel would die that day.
I didn't know that 343 firefighters would die that day.
I also didn't know that I would pursue a career in the fire service, and I wasn't sure what that would mean. But on the 10 year anniversary, as we rose the flag and held a minute of silence together, I was moved in a way I did not expect. I wondered if I could live up to that level of courage. I wondered if I could stand among such men, if I could be one of them, if I was worthy.
September 11, 2016
15 years have passed. Today, I will be on duty at the Amarillo Fire Department Central Fire station, 9 days from my 4 year anniversary as a career firefighter. Ladder 1 will go to the Amarillo Civic Center, and participate in a memorial for those fallen 15 years ago. It will likely be a quiet day, and I will likely not be called upon the same way those in New York were called upon 15 years ago. I am proud to be a firefighter, and I am proud to be a part of such a noble profession.
We remember all those who perished on September 11, 2001, and all those who perished since then in response to that day.
Take a moment today to be grateful for what God has blessed you with. Hug your spouse, your children, call your parents. Remember how fleeting it all can be, and how blessed we are.