To be completely honest, I debated whether or not I was going to write about 9/11. For many of us, this day holds some very deep and extremely painful memories and my memories are no different.
Twelve years ago today, like many of you, I was at work with no access to television or radio. Iphones weren't big yet, so getting info and pictures of the events on the East Coast was limited to second and third hand reporting from my customers.
After we heard that the second plane crashed into the South Tower, I made a quick call home and told my then wife to throw a tape into the VHS player and start recording and don't stop. I told her if we had to record over a Disney movie just to do it.
Packed away in a box, I still have those tapes, 24+ hours of coverage from NBC. I also collected every newspaper for the next week I could get my hands on. Someday, I thought, maybe my kids will want to use something from that day for a school report or just read and watch what was happening in real time.
The pain of watching those videos for me is as fresh as it was twelve years ago. Watching the people fall to their deaths. Watching the structures collapse into dust. The voice of my 5 year old burns in my ears hearing her ask, "Why are you crying Daddy?" It's still too fresh for my emotional being to handle.
Add on top that very human element the fact that I was once a fire fighter and paramedic. 343 FDNY firemen, 23 NYPD officers, and 37 Port Authority policemen gave everything they had on that day. As anyone that has ever served in uniform for their community, whether as a fire fighter, police officer or in a emergency medical capacity, you know that even when you leave that field, it never leaves you.
If any of the events of that day had occurred in Chicago, I wouldn't have cared if my employer had fired me, I would have left and gone to help in anyway I could.
I still cry anytime I talk or write about the brothers and sisters I lost that day. I still cry thinking of their families and the children left behind. The emotions run raw through my entire being as the pictures and videos are replayed online and on television.
So on this day, a day where we stop and reflect on the events, the lives lost, the lives changed forever - I want to share with you the faces of the FDNY that gave their all and the faces I hope never to forget.
If you would like to read how other ChicagoNow bloggers are remembering this day, you can find all the links to their blogs here.