Five years ago, like most Americans, I watched with mixed emotions as terrorist attacks were carried out against America. Like most Americans, the emotions I felt that day went from confusion, to sorrow, to anger.
Five years ago, unlike most Americans, I did not watch the drama of that day play out on television. Five years ago, I was still a paramedic. Even though I was in IT, I still worked for the same company I was employed as a paramedic; I was still a certified paramedic. I was asked by the Director of Operations to report to a local municipal airport to coordinate a staging area which was to be used to get survivors from the World Trade Center attack to hospitals far from 'Ground Zero'.
I was responsible for coordinating about 100 people from numerous EMS agencies, fire departments and police departments. During the day, news would trickle in to the command center. We were unable to watch any live coverage since the airport did not have cable, and the only TV on site had poor reception from its rabbit ear antennae. All we could do is wait. Wait for the survivors we all hoped would soon be brought to us. Wait for the survivors that never came.
Even though the airport was in the middle of New Jersey, we could see the smoke that billowed out of lower Manhattan. I remember looking at the smoke often and wondering if my family and friends who worked in or near the World Trade Center were safe.
In the days that followed the attacks, I was part of the rescue operation at 'Ground Zero'. Like most Americans, I will never forget where I was when I heard of the attacks. I will never forget the images of the towers collapsing. I will never forget, seeing first hand, the devastation at 'Ground Zero'.
Five years later, I still feel the same emotions whenever I think of the events of that day.