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Domingo, 11.09.11


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My Fellow Americans,
September 11th brought with it the most devastating event I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. In fact, the terrorist attacks on this country, on that day were some of the most atrocious actions that most living Americans have witnessed in their lifetimes. On that day the country gasped. The sense of power and security that Americans had for so long dwindled as soon as the second plane hit the second tower of the World Trade Center. That was the exact moment we all realized we were under attack. The rest of that day seemed to go by so slowly as Americans wondered what would happen next. We had just seen our fellow countrymen killed in a cold-blooded act. We witnessed human beings leap from skyscrapers to escape the pain of burning flesh. Hundreds of people poured out of the exits of the towers as evacuation attempts begun. As those lucky individuals escaped, firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and paramedics rushed to the scene–running in as everyone else ran out. When those towers collapsed, one after the other, it was as if America’s lungs had collapsed with it–stealing the breath of those who bore witness. The country was apneic.

I remember feeling physically sick on that day, and I still get goosebumps whenever I see the images replayed on television. Its hard to think of anything good that could have come from such an atrocious act. Something good did come from that awful day. When I think back about the events of September 11th, I try to remember September 12th, and everyday after. This country came together like I’d never seen before. American flags found their way onto every car, truck, and van on the roadway. People came together. It was no longer a country of white people, black people, chinese people, christians, jews, or muslims. It was a country of Americans. We were sad. We were shocked. We were appalled. And by God, we were pissed. Everything we felt, we felt it together. This is our country… how dare they compromise our freedom. How dare they!

The months and years that followed gave people a new appreciation for our first responders that risk themselves for others. Firefighters were the new celebrities. Grant money began to fly in to public safety programs and agencies like never before. Finally, the much deserved appreciation was given to those who deserve it most. The salaries of first responders became a little more bearable, the technology in ambulances, on fire engines, and in police cars improved. And people began to say “thank you”. “It felt like people finally understood”, one firefighter told me.

Its been 10 years, and that respect and appreciation has since dwindled. People still respect first responders of course, but as they begin to have their own problems, like the economy, their interest is fading. Firefighters are losing jobs and money at alarming rates, EMS agencies are understaffed and over-utilized, and police officers are praying their unions can protect their jobs. The economical impact has not ignored public safety.
Where’s the love? The finest, bravest, and best are seeing rough budget cuts nationwide. Does this mean that people have forgotten the courageous acts of 9.11? No, of course not. Its like a deep flesh wound. At first it was an open gash that hurt every-time the wind blew. Now its become a scar, slowly healed over, and a reminder of the pain–still hurts if you push on it.

On this tenth anniversary of the day that 42 EMS workers, 50 police officers, and 343 firefighters lost their lives doing what they loved, lets also remember the day after. Lets remember how we came together as Americans. Lets remember how we looked at our heros. We grieve 9.11, lets celebrate 9.12. There’s no other place I’d rather be than this great country, and no flag I’d rather fly. God Bless America!


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por Diário de um Bombeiro às 11:34

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