Posted by Jeff Gallagher
That is the inevitable question asked around my workplace each year. Most of my coworkers (yes, I have a day job) are younger than me and haven’t worked for the county as long as I have. They weren’t there that fateful day in September, ten years ago, when our lives changed forever.
It’s a common question, though. Usually, on the anniversary of some momentous occasion, people ask each other where they were. I can tell you where I was and what I was doing when John Kennedy and his brother Bobby were assassinated, that I was standing in the receptionist lobby at work when the Challenger blew up and that I watched live as Columbia disintegrated before my eyes.
I remember watching with excitement the first moon landing with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong and the 3 days of terror for every American as we all rode back to earth with the crew of Apollo 13 hoping, praying for the safe return of Lovell, Swigert and Haise as they gambled their lives in what amounted to a crazy cowboy move by mission control to slingshot around the moon to get them home safely.
And, I remember exactly where I was that fateful day 10 years ago when America displayed her vulnerability to the world. I was just getting ready to start my shift and was standing in the locker area putting on my gear. The TV was on and we watched as Tower #1 burned. It had been hit on my way into work. We knew only that an aircraft had crashed into the tower and that people were being evacuated. As we listened to the drone of the newscast team talking about what we already knew, we continued to get ready for our shift.
Suddenly, without warning, we saw a blip come from the left and Tower #2 exploded before our eyes. Most of California was just waking up as the drama unfolded. We were wide awake and not quite comprehending what we just saw. As we headed out into the institution to work, further events of that fateful day would unfold. Events that would change the life of every American forever. We were no longer safe, even on our own turf. The wars that we fought only on foreign soil since Pearl Harbor, had finally come crashing down on our front door.
Regardless of where you were or what you were doing that day, please take a moment out of your Sunday to give thanks to your Higher Power (or your inner self) that we still live in the relative safety of our borders. And remember, that safety came at a high price of 3000 civilian lives, 344 firefighters and 60 police officers, each one an American Hero. The price continues to be paid each day by the members of our Armed Forces stationed throughout the world in remote places such as Afghanistan, Europe and Korea.
Our Town Tustin (not my blog) will hold a commemoration on Sunday, 8:30 am, at Cedar Grove Park. A tree will be planted and new trees will be dedicated to the memory of those who died that fateful day. Also, the Orange County Fire Authority will hold a brief ceremony at each fire station beginning at 8:47 am. Or, do something good for you and your family. Whatever you do, be well and be thankful we live in the United States of America.