I feel like being honest today, not that I’m not usually honest, but I feel like being raw, it’s that kind of day and with 6 followers, what have I got to lose? 6 followers, please don’t leave me!
I met my husband 16 years ago, a little over a month before 9/11. He dreamt of being a firefighter like his dad and I dreamt of being a writer. It wasn’t until we started dating long distance and I started to fall in love that I told him that I wasn’t interested in making a life with a firefighter. I wanted a nice predictable, tidy life, with a bow on it, perhaps. A life opposite of the one I grew up in. I didn’t want the uncertainty of being the wife of a firefighter, a life that I knew nothing about except…the risk, the danger, the… possibility of being killed in the line of duty… death. I was scared of death, everything about it, even talking about it, I couldn’t do it. My husband and I dated for 5 years before we got married and the two things that had the potential to break us up were our long distance relationship and his dream of being a firefighter.
In 2004 hubby and I graduated with our Bachelors, him with a degree in criminal justice and me with a degree in communications and English. He got a job In a retirement community as a security officer and I got a job in a daycare, neither one of us living our dreams. My hubby works so hard at everything he does that he moved up rather quickly in his job. His job as a security officer got him his EMS license, and from there he got his EMT. I knew he wanted more, there was something missing, even after we got married and had our first son, something was missing. He started talking about the fire exam more and discussing paramedic school. My heart about the whole issue was changing. Now we were married and I wanted my husband to live his dream. I remember when I told him to go for it. He jumped in, 100% and I finally let go and supported him. Blood, sweat, and tears marked the years of paramedic school, the call to the fire exam, the physical training, the fire academy, the pregnancies, the potty training, etc, but we survived, and on the day he graduated from the fire academy, I was ginormously pregnant with our third son, and beaming with pride for my husband.
9/11 brings back different memories for everyone. We all remember where we were when we heard the planes crashed into the twin towers. I lived in NY at the time, working in a daycare on the bottom floor of a 7 story building. People on the top floor could see the crash. It was an unbelievably scary day. We put babies in cribs and evacuated the building, waiting for parents to come pick up their children. I called my mom, over and over again, wondering if she got out of the city. She worked across the street from the twin towers. I couldn’t breathe easy until I finally got the call that she was safe, on a ferry to Staten Island. But she was scared and covered in debris.
My friends and I, brand new high school graduates watched the news in unbelief. That day began the countdown for me, I was scared to be in NY and ready to leave. As if it was New York’s fault that terrorists attacked the twin towers. As if it was New York’s fault that so many people died that day. Truth is we live in a broken and fallen world and there are bad people out there. The bible says that the devil comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. The comfort in tragic events like 9/11 or the Boston marathon bombing is the good that comes out of them, because good always triumphs over evil. Good always triumphs over evil, ALWAYS. Hard to believe that when we are too scared to watch the news because it is bombarding us with every bad thing that has happened in the last 24 hours. There is good out there, so why do we focus on the bad? It’s like gossip, bad news always spreads faster than good news. But good always wins, because when bad things happen, people band together, they forget about politics and choosing sides. Thank God for all of those first responders who ran into those towers when everyone was running out. Thank God for those people on that flight that banded together against the terrorists ruining their original plot. Thank God for the emergency workers, who are away from their families responding to hurricane relief in Houston.
For the longest time, I couldn’t watch anything 9/11 related. Even when I left NY, the fear gripped me and brought me back to that day. And then, my husband became a firefighter. While the memories of that day will never change, the meaning of the day impacted me differently. You see it wasn’t so much about remembering the fear, it was now about remembering the civilians, honoring the fallen fire fighters and police officers, knowing that the final alarm can come at any time. So now on 9/11 I take my boys to the ceremony that my small town puts together to support my fireman and his brothers, no matter how it makes me feel, no matter how choked up I get when I hear those bagpipes, and no matter how my eyes sting when I hear the Fireman’s prayer.
Almost a year ago my guys and I got to visit my family in Colorado for Thanksgiving. It was amazing to be with my family for a holiday, the first one in 7 years, we hadn’t celebrated together since 2009 when my mom passed away. While we were visiting we had the opportunity to go the Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Colorado Springs. The name of every firefighter who died in the line of duty was engraved in this beautiful memorial site. And as I’m walking through the rows, quietly observing and paying my respects, my oldest son says, “wow, a lot of firefighters died on that day.” I told him to check the date. “September 11, 2001,” he replied. I looked at him, and he understood.