While I sit and read all of your remarks on 9-11 and review the AAR from the event I can’t help but think how vastly different my day was that morning. At the time I was visiting my grandmother in a nursing home pretty much once a week on one of my days off from work. Basically I figured I was just breaking up her day, sometimes we’d talk and sometimes not but I’m glad I was able to spend those couple of hours a week with her. The morning of Sept 11’th I had the day off from the station and stopped at the convenience store on my way to visit her. On the TV behind the counter was a picture of the World Trade Center burning, I think it was about 0830. I figured a small plane had crashed and NYFD would put the fire out. I arrived at the nursing home in Brighton a little while later that morning to find my grandmother still sleeping, The TV’s were on in the nursing home and I realized now that there was much more going on than just a small plane crash. I hung around for a long time in that nursing home, I guess I wanted to talk with her about everything that was happening but at the same time wishing she would sleep through the whole thing. I watched the first tower fall in the hallway outside of her room with a nurse and we both just stared in shock. I never did wake up my grandmother that day.
As soon as the tower fell I left and drove to my station. At the time I was working in Wakefield. I just wanted to do something, anything, just to help in some kind of way. Of course nothing was happening at the station, just another quiet sunny day. I thought for a short time about heading to NYC but had been around long enough to know the negatives of freelancing and wasn’t about to do that. So that’s what I did that day, not much. Spoke about it with some buddies and thought of the thousands of people who needlessly lost their lives. In the weeks after, I did what I could attending funerals for some of the fallen firefighters in Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. It saddened me to see how few firefighters there were attending those line of duty deaths. There should have been thousands but were only hundreds, sometimes less. There were so many funerals that it was impossible to give them all a proper line of duty burial.
That day and those funerals changed something deep inside me. I vowed that I would never allow myself to ever again feel as helpless as I did that day. I managed to find a spot on the team a couple of years later. It was and still is one of the proudest moments of my life. Because I new when I got on that team I would never again feel that helpless feeling.
Thank you for what you all did that day, thank you for what you are doing today and thank you for what you will do in the future.
Most of all, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve on the team and thank you for giving me the opportunity to always lend a helping hand.