Being married to a career fireman is an eye-opening experience. Things you never think about on a daily basis are things he and all firefighters handle every day. Neal is a battalion chief and has spent his entire career in the fire service. He said the most profound statement one day when we were talking about how emergencies are handled: “We don’t have a 911 to call for help; we are it for everyone who calls, and we have to handle the emergency.”
On September 11, 2001, a large group of firefighters left for work and never came back. To be exact, 343 were called to action, and they answered the call. Every year at this time, we are all reminded of that day, but truthfully, I think about it every day.
This past year, we were in New York City and went to see the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. It had been on our list to see, and it is something every American should see. As I walked around the pools and looked at all the names engraved, I was overwhelmed. The name of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels, edging the memorial pools.It seemed like miles of names—a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.
The museum tells the story of that day with displays of actual film, artifacts, and personal memorabilia. It is done so well. The museum captures the emotion of that day and the years that have followed for the families and friends of those who lost their lives.
The rescuers from that day went to rest and recharge inside the little church that sits across the street from the museum. The church pews still have the boot marks and scuffs from that day. It was not damaged amidst the horrible destruction and served as a safe place for so many. You can see displays of support and love there as well.
I came away very emotional and very changed. Today and every day, I thank our police and fire personnel who protect us 24 hours a day. We never know what will happen on a daily basis, but we do know that with the touch of 9-1-1 on our phones, our heroes are on their way to us.
We will always remember! We will be forever changed. Thank you to our heroes.