You Are Among The Elite!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remember September 12th, 2001?

September 11, 2001 will be one of those days in history that grandchildren will ask you "What were you doing on 9/11?" Much Like the JFK assassination and Pearl Harbor. I was a bomb dog handler for my sheriff's department. I had been a cop for about 7 years at that point, and was going to grad school at night and working the best shift that a cop can get - 600 am to 200 pm. The exception to that shift was K9 training day each week, and we went in at 800 am. So, on September 11, 2001 I was in my car headed to train with Nero, and the talk station I had on at the time interrupted with the news. At that moment, there was confusion. Small plane, large plane, suicide, terrorist attack, accident....Who knew? About the time I pulled up to the training area, the second plane had struck. We left the training area, went to a local establishment to "brainstorm" our training, and watched with horror as the towers fell and the Pentagon was struck. I had this suspicion that my work load was about to increase geometrically. You see, after a successful Columbine incident or something similar, two things happen. One is the emergence of copycats. Wackos who want to imitate a successful tragedy. The other thing is the wackos who want to capitalize on the event but not really do anything, so they call in false threats. For example, after Columbine, for about 6 months I spent virtually every day searching a school or courthouse because of one of the above factors. With only seven bomb dog in the entire state of Alabama at that time, we were stretched thin sometimes.

Remember 9/12/01? After 24 hours of absorbing what had happened, the American public responded. Police officers and firefighters - the people who run toward danger so that you can run away - flooded NYC to help. People were nice. People did nice things for each other. People realized that the world is crazy and they clung to their families and loved ones. People went to church again, or more, or even for the first time. People gave money when they had none to give, and watched the news when they had not done so in years. People became angry, and resolved. But you know what?

The phone at the sheriff's office was silent. No wackos. No false threats. For the next three months I had no work to be done. NONE. My partner and I had the slowest time of our careers. Apparently those planes struck so hard that even the crazies were impacted.

Many blogs are silent today, some participating in the recognition of WTC victims, some posting their own thoughts. My thoughts are about what this country was like on 9/12, which is the true indicator of character and integrity. How did we respond? Did we sit back and wait for the next bomb to drop? I say no. We didn't. We responded as Americans have always responded to adversity. We bowed up, picked up our heavy load, and headed to the front lines, whether they were in Afghanistan or Kansas City, New York City or Washington, D.C., Boise, Idaho or Montgomery, Alabama.

I encourage you to do two things today. First, reflect on 9/12 and what the country was like. Second, make an effort to live like that daily. (Please, no partisan comments about Bush or Iraq or anything. Whether you might be right or wrong, the day deserves better)

6 Posts From Readers:

Laurie said...

Robert, I remember that day, and I remember that time--humanity must have reached its greatest peak at that point in memorable history. But unfortunately, human nature takes over, and the trend subsides. It's like Robin Williams said: At first it was like, "Hey, you okay?" and now it's back to, "Have a nice day, asshole." Incredible that we need mass murder to bring us all together.

Obob said...

I spent it explaining the cold facts of the day and then describing the Islamic terrorists who attacked us to my middle school students

The Beltway B@stard said...

Well put Robert, and Laurie got it right.

I remember everyone being extra nice, even driving a little slower for a good two months- while slowly, the status-quo reasserted itself, and everyone went back to the me, me, me way of life.

Laurie said...

Beltway, that about sums it up, I think: For a short time, no one cared about him or herself; it was all about helping other people. Then, we became selfish and self-involved all over again. Is it impossible to indefinitely suspend the "me, me, me way of life"?

The Beltway B!tch said...

I will forever remember driving into work the next day and coming over the Key Bridge. Immediatley you could see the smoke still rising from the Pentagon.
Everything changed for me that day. It was one thing to see on tv - and quite another to see and smell first hand what had happened.
My reaction was near hysterical crying that morning of the 12th - I could not even imagine the site of the WTC that day.

Ellie said...

beltway bitch, the site at the WTC was horrible. there was so much smoke i just remember it filling the air. i live about a half hour away from manhattan non-rush hour traffic so i'm pretty close and the smoke was visible where I live. It wasn't as think as it was in the city, but it was there.

I remember coming in from long island on september 12th and seeing the new york city skyline. there was a big hole where the towers had once stood and there was lots of smoke where they had been. it took a while to get used to that hole and the smoke cleared up in a few days.

people in New York were incredibly nice to each other on 9/11 and on the days that followed. but new yorkers, I find at least, are pretty nice. we were voted the most courteous city or something like that. the survey disregarded honking, cell phones, and littering (our major offences). I guess it depends on what part of New York you're in but most people will say have a nice day with sincerity, help with directions, etc. Although 9/11 brought us together even more than usual, we're not as bad as everyone seems to think.

Other Stuff