9/11 Tribute - "Never Forget"

9/11 is still very vivid in my memory. I still remember sitting and watching the TV in awe as the Twin Towers burned and collapsed. I was working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) on an ambulance that morning. I walked into the station in Lynwood, Ca. to the off going crew who was sitting around the TV watching the event unfold. I quickly joined in on the fixation as the trauma played out with dramatic images of huge plumes of smoke rising from Manhattan and the replays of the second plane crashing into the second tower over and over again. A terrorist attack or not, it was an infamous scene that drew us in. A slow morning in the 911 world (at least for the Los Angeles area) allowed me to watch hours of the footage. It seemed eerily quiet on the West coast as everyone was glued to their TV's as well. I remember the communal gasp as we watched the towers collapse. No one had to say what we were all thinking - a collapse like that meant massive casualties, even among the rescuers. My heart sank when I comprehended that some time later.

Quint 147, Structure Fire, Compton, Ca.

I also remember responding to 911 calls later that day and thinking how mysterious it was to look up and see no planes in the sky (we were beneath the landing path to LAX).

This is an image that I took from a structure fire that I responded to two or three years later. FDNY tributes like these could be found on every fire apparatus across the country. This is something that still is fresh in my head - the bringing of us together. I personally attached a mini American flag to our ambulance's antenna by using some medical tape. It quickly became a standard for emergency vehicles from all over. Most apparatus drove to 911 calls with American flags flapping in the wind behind them. It brought a humbling unity to all of us I think.

Sometimes when I see the "never forget" propaganda I hope to myself that (instead of never forgetting the "terrorists") we are never forgetting "Us"; the unity that we all experienced after that; the unity that we can still choose to experience at anytime. After all, that is who we are. We are One.

Never Forget.