It's amazing to think how much can happen in four years and yet, it not really be a very long period of time. I spent the day looking at crappy apartments I can afford and beautiful apartments I can't. Walking around a fairly affluent and trendy neighborhood that I enjoy while window shopping and drinking coffee. But in the back of my mind, I couldn't help thinking about how we go through everyday motions in the wake of sadness, despair and natural disaster. We do this because we have to...one foot in front of the other...everyday motions. The errands...grocery store, dry cleaning, going here and going there. The talking to friends, the dating, going to work, paying the bills, making meals, washing dishes, putting away laundry. These are the everyday motions of my life and what makes one day progress into the other.
So on this day, September 11th, 2005, I reflect. Reflect on a day, four years ago when every red-blooded American sat glued to their TV in horror of an act of terrorism against our nation. Something so horrible, that I personally thought I had switched to some action movie before realizing, I had turned on the news and the scene of a plane hitting the World Trade Center, being played over and over and over again, had actually happened. What was going on?! I just remember watching the news in shock before making my way upstairs to see my dad watching the same thing as I had been on TV. We looked at each other in disbelief while I was trying to make sense of the how, the who and the why while trying to get ready for work. On my way to the Bart Station, my coworker called me to say our boss didn't want us coming in to work because since our office was close to the Transamerica and Bank of America buildings, two of the tallest buildings in San Francisco, he was scared they would be a terrorist target. So I turned around, went home and watched hours and hours of news coverage through my tears. And at some point, I turned off the tv, called the Ex and we spend the evening together just to have companionship with another person and have an excuse not to get sucked into the horror of the TV and the reality of the day.
In the end...I was lucky...no one I knew died that day. I was safe on the other coast. Some people I now know, were not so lucky. Friends, spouses, parents, siblings senselessly taken away. For what really?! I still do not understand it to this day. But despite me not understanding, I will not forget.
And we shouldn't...and that's why I take the time to remember this day four years ago and the people who were taken away from their loved ones and the people who stayed behind to pick up the pieces. And I sit here and think of those who worked ground zero, doing their duty as many were police officers and firefighters, hoping to find survivors and dreading finding bodies. A position I would never dream being in...yet these guys...they volunteer! The need to protect and serve their community lies so deep within themselves that they put themselves in danger everyday. And I sit here in awe.
As I now work for the fire department, four guys were deployed to assist with the search and rescue efforts due to Hurricane Katrina. Some of these same guys worked Ground Zero four years ago. They are part of a special task force...they endured hours of special training to be part of this special group of women and men that are called for in tragic emergency situations and they are confronted by situations and things that we pray not to endure ever in our entire lives. They work long hours in areas of great risk to their safety and in the end, despite the long hours, unstable terrain, finding survivors and victims and physical and mental strain, all they care about is that they are helping people. And then there are the folks who volunteer to do the same thing. They put their lives on hold to go to the assistance of others. And I wish I could be as selfless as them.