A bunch of us crowded into his office where he had a small TV. We watched the burning building as the news commentator spoke about this terrible accident. As we watched the events unfold live on TV, a second plane hit the other tower. We were all speechless. What the hell just happened?
As we began to process this information, it became clear this was no accident. While we watched the buildings burn, we realized what we were seeing was a catastrophe not many could've survived. We started to think about just how many people were in those towers. In the beginning, we didn't yet know that these were commercial planes filled with passengers who'd also perished.
And then the buildings began to crumble. As we stood there watching the TV screen, my only words were "Oh my God. Do you realize how many cops and fire fighters we just lost?" And then word of the Pentagon and another plane down in Pennsylvania. Our country was under attack.
This tragedy changed us all in so many ways. It hit the law enforcement/fire fighting community especially hard. We lost so many that day. Men and women who ran into the burning buildings to do the job they were called to do. To serve and protect. To save lives. If this had happened in my hometown, it would've been me.
I felt compelled to go and see for myself. To pay my respects to my fallen comrades. In April 2002 I was able to go to the site and stand on this sacred ground. It was in the clean up process by then and didn't look like all the images we'd seen in the media. Even so, I was overcome. It was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. To stand where so many had been lost. It broke my heart. I will never forget.
In rememberance of all those who were lost on that tragic day.