Here I sit, 55 minutes into 9/11 of 2013, and like all the other tragedies of our day, I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news about the planes hitting the towers.
I was on the swing shift then, asleep in bed, in my home in San Francisco. My husband would have normally been there after his graveyard shift, but was taking a nap in his car at his office parking lot awaiting to go to court that morning.
My cellphone rang with him saying, “Two planes have hit the Twin Towers. And there is an unaccounted airplane which is supposed to be heading to San Francisco International Airport.” This was just miles south of home.
I remember being confused and scared and moved to the couch where I lay all day glued to the news coverage trying to understand why and what happened. After realizing the threat to my city and life was saved by the heroes on Flight 93, I realized I would never forget what the others went through that day.
What exactly was it? And why?
I slept through history class and never really was interested in why we went to war. I have been patriotic, even in childhood, and cared about our men who went to war, but never understood the real reasons why. I remember family dinners during the Persian Gulf War where we at in silence while my folks watched 60 Minutes catching up on what was happening over there. I did not really understand.
I learned on 9/11 and the days forward, that I hate the corruption of the US government, ignorant politics, and over time, found 9/11 could have been avoided.
My heart will always remain heavy for all the 60 police officers, 8 EMTs, and 343 firefighters who lost their lives that day. My heart hurts for everyone who worked in the Twin Towers, Pentagon and who were on those four planes that day.
I suffered loss early in life and maybe that is why I feel so strongly for them and the survivors even after all these years. People forget about those who die and the family suffering. 1,609 people lost their partners and spouses that day. I truly hope the families and friends left behind have been able to find some solace and have created new and happy lives. I know there are people still struggling and hurting and have never been able to move on. That is hard for me to take in.
In 2008, I went to NYC with some friends and participated in a 5K race in memory of Firefighter Stephen Siller. I saw his story on Oprah in 2007 and learned there was a 5k in his honor. Siller ran from Brooklyn through the closed Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel with his gear on his back to help the other rescue workers at the Twin Towers. He had gotten off work and was headed to play golf with his father and brothers. He heard the call on the radio, deserted his truck and ran back to the site.
After watching his story, I emailed Niccole and said we are doing this next year and we did. I want to do this again. The faces and names of all 343 lost are posted up along the run. To run the path Siller ran was an incredible experience and my way of being able to celebrate the lives of our heroes.
My flag is up in front of my house daily. Every time I leave or come home, I see my flag. It is my way of showing that I am a proud American who does not forget the good people. 9/11 was about the 2,753 good people. And to all our men and women who lost their lives fighting the war that stemmed from 9/11, I salute you all.
Everyday should be about the reminders what 9/11 is about: our family and friends, gratitude, celebrating those not with us anymore, the little things, and about pure living.
“So, on this September 11th, we commemorate our brothers and sisters of the public safety community, along with the loved ones lost in one of our Nation’s biggest tragedies. We honor those who run towards danger and defend and protect. We will never forget their bravery, sacrifice and life-long commitment of those who have made our beloved country the land of the free.”