When I walked down the narrow street that led to Ground Zero, we were pushed to the side by firefighters trying to get the truck back to the garage. Ten House is the fire station located in the heart of Ground Zero. At least 5 fire fighters assisted on the street as the 4 firefighters on board attempted to get the fire truck down the narrow street and into the garage as thousands of people filled the streets. It took 3 tries to get the truck into the station.
Friday, May 22nd, 2014 was just another Friday. There was no chaos, no incident, no attack. Yet, getting the fire truck one block down the street to the Ten House station was a struggle.
Can you imagine September 11th? Can you imagine the chaos? Can you imagine the fire fighter that had to climb out of the truck to remove the body from the street so the truck could get closer to the Twin Towers? Can you imagine the fire fighter that had to tackle a man whose clothes were on fire to put them out? Can you imagine the chaos they had to pass in order to get to the heart of the attack? Can you imagine the last sights of those that gave their all that day?
The last thing they saw was not a room full of family. They didn’t get to say goodbye to their children. They didn’t get to say I love you to their spouses. They didn’t get any of that.
Their last sight was a terrorist attack. They smelled burning bodies. They went in knowing the chances of them coming out alive were slim to none. But they did it anyways
On Friday, thousands of people flocked to Ground Zero to see the memorial fountains, the bronze wall on the side of the Ten House, and the newly opened museum. They listened to stories of survivors who gave tours, pointing out where the planes came from, where they were standing and which tower fell first.
On Friday, as thousands visited to pay their respects to the thousands that passed that day, they encountered conspiracy theorists. They encountered people who stood on the ground where people died shouting lies. The survivors who were giving tours would stop to curse these people. I do not blame them. The disrespect of those people to bring more pain to those who had already lost all, who had already experienced the smell and sight of death is beyond anything imaginable.
The memorial fountains were designed and constructed in such a way to express to visitors exactly what was lost that day. In the center of each acre-sized fountain, is a black, square hole where the water disappears. You cannot see the bottom. You cannot see the end. No matter where you stand around the bronze panels surrounding the fountain, you cannot see a visible end. There is a black hole.
People all around were stretching their neck to see over the bronze panels attempting to see the bottom. They never felt the satisfaction of finding the end. Because there is no satisfaction to be felt. Because there is no end to be seen.
Perhaps this blog is more relevant for 9/11. Perhaps I would have more hits if I published it on 9/11. But that’s not the point. The point is that today is Memorial Day and I’m not sure that any of us really understand what we need to remember, what we need to respect. We’re too busy cooking hotdogs and hamburgers by the pool with our family and friends. We’re too busy to remember the lives lost in any war, on any day. We’re too busy to remember those that gave their all so that we can enjoy the day off. It’s a little twisted don’t you think? There are soldiers, firefighters, police, nurses and other emergency workers working today while we enjoy the day off.
God Bless those soldiers who fought, who died, who are fighting, who will fight and who will die, protecting our freedom and protecting our rights.
God Bless those emergency workers we protected, who died, who are protecting and who will protect and who will die protecting and saving lives.
Thank you for your service.
You can read the stories of fire fighters from the Ten House here.