Thursday, September 10, 2009

In Memory Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9

On the afternoon of September 10, 2001, I drove to the airport to purchase myself a plane ticket for a trip I was going to take in November to visit my cousin in Pennsylvania. We had talked about this trip for quite awhile...planned it all in advance. She was going to take me to New York City for the weekend for fine food, broadway and entertainment. I was so excited about this trip...bought the plane ticket and headed back to work. Done deal.

The next morning I was at work in my office when I heard a supervisor in his office yell out for all to come see(he kept a television in his office so we all figured some ridiculous show was on he wanted us to come see). As we walked into his office, we couldn't believe what we were hearing. A plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers in NY...continuing to watch the news....another crash. It was like watching a isn't really the news, it's a movie right??
As the days and weeks passed, discussion of whether or not I was going to take my trip to NY was in the air. After much discussion with my cousin and her husband, we decided to go. It wasn't going to be for a few months...we'd just change our itinerary. During this time, I was a mentor for a kids' group and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get them involved in understanding for what happened that day. We organized a day event of food and fun and then we settled into the project for the day: A memorial and cards for a firestation who lost 17 men that day. I researched on line and found the fire station after reading many stories. I had previously cut out the pictures I found off the internet of all of the firemen with their names, pasted and glued them onto a poster, decorated it and had it laminated. As I discussed with the kids about 9-11 and what the men had did to try and save those in the towers, I held up the poster and named the men one by one. I barely could get through naming them as I was tearing up as my voice broke. One of the kids raised his hand and asked "Miss Donna, did you know them?" I replied that I did not. He then asked "Why are you crying then?" I attempted to explain to them how it touched my heart and how tragic it was that so many had died that day and I hoped that we could help the firehouse by showing how much we appreciated the guys. So card making commenced!! I have to say we had a slew of kids and adults and we made dozens and dozens of cards. All thanking the firemen for what they do, saying how sorry we were for their loss and lots of art work as well.

Many of the other adult mentors helped out by giving various items to bring, such as, cajun spices and fresh peppers. I had a huge suitcase with a bag that carried it all.

The plane trip up there was a long one....just anxious about going to NY. Once we got there, we headed over to the firestation. I began by taking some photographs of which I need to scan and save on my computer but they are put away in a box for now. After taking photos, I kept waiting for an opportunity for a firefighter to come out...finally one did and I approached him explaining who I was and why I was there. I showed him the bag and explained about the spices and peppers inside. He seemed genuinely excited about it saying "They're just about to cook lunch so I'll go run these into them...thanks Ma'am...thanks alot!" He turned and left. My cousin was shocked I didn't want to try to go in and meet them all...but I was not on a mission to meet men that day. I just wanted to show thanks and give respect to those who died. While I took a few more photographs, I realized I had forgotten that the kids all had begged for me to get a picture with a firefighter. It was getting late but just as we were getting ready to leave, another firefighter came out and I made a bee line to him. I approached him explaining I was the one who had just brought in the big blue bag of which he got all excited and said "Oh yeah...they were cutting up the peppers and putting them in the shrimp they were about to cook!!" That made me smile big. I explained about the kids and all and they wanted a picture to which he said "heck Yah...come on in...let's get next to the truck and all" I WISH I had these pictures to show ya on today. Perhaps I need to get those down.

I did find these pictures on line and wanted to share....I kept my laminated poster as a reminder. I never wanted to forget how that day and that visit impacted me. Within weeks, I made huge decisions that shifted my world into another paradigm. Life is short and Time should not be wasted. My cousin and I have discussed a visit next year to NY visit the memorial that was created. But I want to return to the firestation to bring my pictures, to show thanks and perhaps to bring them some more haberno peppers. Maybe this trip, I'll pay attention to the cute firemen there ;)

Live happy.


HorshamScouse said...

Great post Tex. You must find those pics.

Ted D said...

Tex, this was awesome. And I agree with John; you gotta find those pictures.

Trot's Hat said...

What a wonderful thing you did for those kids, Donna. I bet it will mean as much to them as it did to the firefighters as they go on in life.

Tex said...

Thanks all. I know it sounds cliche but after 9-11 occurred and I already had this trip planned...I had to do something. I have no medical skills and probably would suck at grief counseling. I had to just give. I hope to return next year and show my thanks once more.

kimberly said...
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