It’s that time of year again. Time to remember 9/11. I’m going to rant about it a bit here, and try not to sound ugly. But the truth is I’m tired of it, at least the way the Fire Service seems to want to remember it.
I was on duty that day. I watched along with the rest of the country. My thoughts were on the New York Fire Department who were entering those towers, and on the people who were trying to get out. And then they fell.
I did not know anyone in New York on that day. It was hard to “make a connection” with anyone working in the Towers that day. But the fire service is somewhat of a brotherhood (and sisterhood), and I felt a kinship to those brave souls who were running in instead of running out. 343 of FDNY’s finest lost their lives that day. I’ll always remember.
But other people died too. Police officers, EMS workers, Port Authority. But the largest group of people who died were none of those. They were citizens. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. They were secretaries, bosses, administrative assistants, janitors, and even unemployed. They numbered in the thousands.
Those deaths lead to a war we are still fighting. A war on a word; terror.
That day, America cried. That day we came together, firefighters and cops, men and women, Yankees and Rebels. We were all Americans on that day. We were united. We were all Americans.
I have said all that so I could tell you this:
My city, and the fire department are having a 9-11 memorial Thursday. There will be students from the local elementary school, city officials, and firefighters.
Who do you think they are remembering? If you said those that died in the towers, you would be wrong. For some reason, it’s only to remember the firefighters.
I have to ask “What about the police and EMS crews that died that day? What about the ‘civilians’*, and for that matter what about those soldiers who have died fighting the war since then?”
Why is it only about the firemen? If it’s about the firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty, why not remember those that have died since then, and those before? It seems to me that there are some in my department, and in the fire service in general, that are fixated on the FDNY. Why?
I mean no disrespect what so ever to those who lost their lives on 9-11-01. But we do all the others who died a disservice when we forget to mention them as well. And we show disrespect to all of the other firemen who have died since then when we say it is in remembrance of firemen and then forget those who died afterward in other parts of the country.
I want us all to remember what happened that day. But I want us to remember it the way we felt on that day.
Remember that it was America who was attacked.
I invite your comments on this.
*Civilians- I agree with the definition that those who are not members of the armed forces are civilians, including firemen and police. Many firefighters and police officers use the term to differentiate between emergency workers and citizens, and this is how I use it here.