Remembering 9/11 A Decade Later and Two Very Important Professions

This Sunday is the ten-year anniversary of an event that changed our lives forever: the terrorist attack on America in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. I'm sure that everyone has their own story with regards to where they were when this unthinkable act took place. Like in the country song title by Alan Jackson, it's a question that will be asked for years to come: "Where Were You When The World Stop Turning?". This question has been asked as often as wondering where someone was when President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 or asking a Charlestonian where they were when Hurricane Hugo made landfall on September 21, 1989. While countless Americans can recall what was going on in their lives, I'd like to share mine and how safe I felt recently while being on an airplane for the first time in my life in almost twenty-four years. I'd also like to express my admiration for those who work in two very important professions: firefighter and pilot. I'm not either one of these. I am, however, an average American who just wants to reminisce and give credit to these noble professions.

September 11, 2001: I was working for LabCorp in North Charleston. Like anyone who works in an office, I had my own personal cubicle with things on the desk that symbolized me: pictures of loved ones, a little tomahawk to remind me of my favorite baseball team: the Atlanta Braves, and a clock radio that meant I could listen to whatever music I wanted to. As my day started, I smiled as I looked at the little tomahawk on my desk. As an Atlanta Braves fan, the first thing that popped into my head was "Today is the ten-year anniversary of the first ever combined no-hitter in National League history, and it was done my boys: Kent Mercker, Alejandro Peña, and Mark Wohlers. When I get home from work, I'm going to celebrate the event by watching the Braves game while wearing my cap and T-shirt." Then, it happened!

Just as I started working at my computer, the music on my radio changed into live news update as this tragedy unfolded. I couldn't believe it! My mood changed from celebratory sports fan to saddened and dumbfounded American. After all, my dad and I took a trip to New York City while I was a senior in high school. What a wonderful experience it was! All of the landmarks we saw and all of the food we ate came back to me in floods of memories. Now, one of the landmarks that I remember seeing was now on the virge of utter destruction and tragedy.

In the decade that has passed since 9/11, I've only flown once. I recently came back from a medical mission trip to Nicaragua, and I must admit that I had a few butterflies in my stomach. I didn't want to be afraid because that's what terrorists want. They don't want us to go on with our regular lives. Still, I was excited to travel to another country while offering a loving hand to a different culture. The airport security did what they had to do in order to make sure that there wasn't anything unsafe about our flight. Aside from a little turbulence on the way, the flight was a smooth and enjoyable one. The pilots and stewardesses made sure that everything was just right. I tip my hat to them.

I'd also like to tip my hat to anyone who works in the fire department. In addition to the firemen that we lost as a country ten years ago, Charleston lost nine of its own in a tragic Sofa Super Store fire on June 18, 2007. These men went out of their way to keep a blaze from spreading further down Savannah Hwy and save their fellow man. More than that, firefighters are just plain nice people. In fact, they take "Nice" to another level. When I go into a retail store and have a pleasant shopping experience or dine at a restaurant and the waiter or waitress smiles at me while he or she refills my beverage with a genuine smile, I usually say: "He (or she) was nice." Firefighters wave at children, proudly talk to people about their profession, drive a big vehicle, wear uncomfortable uniforms, and put their lives on the line every time an emergency occurs. At the same time, they still have an unmistakable smile and friendliness that makes Santa Claus look like the Wicked Witch from "The Wizard Of Oz." I tip my hat to them as well.

As the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 approaches, it's not only important to remember the soldiers who have given their lives to keep us safe and free, but it's also important to remember other people in these careers where another human being's safety is top priority and takes precedence over their own. Why there isn't a national holiday dedicated to these lines of work, I'll never know! Why we have Secretaries' Day and not a Securities' Day makes absolutely no sense. While secretaries work hard and deserve recognition, firefighters and pilots deserve to be in a class and have a national holiday all to themselves. So, the next time you land at an airport and pass the cockpit with someone at the helm who made sure that you made your destination in one piece or see a group of individuals wearing navy blue T-shirts assembled around a candy apple-colored vehicle the size of a Pepsi delivery truck, what would you do? I thank them for keeping me safe and out of danger.

Awesome read, Reid! I agree

Awesome read, Reid! I agree these career professionals put their life on the line for us and should be congratulated.

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