Strangely, I find myself writing this in the very same hotel I was in when the attack on America occurred, 10 years ago. It wasn’t planned, it just happened this way. In fact, I was sitting at a table, waiting for a conference to begin; someone had just told me of the availability of Lisa Coscette and we were discussing the merits of my future long-term employee. Someone came in and told us of the first plane hitting the towers.
Standing in the lobby of the Melville Marriott,watching the TV, I called my wife, and while discussing the events, watched the second tower get hit. We both immediately responded to our ambulance squad, and spent the next several days on site, and returned again two weeks later. As a volunteer EMS provider and instructor for 30 years, I had trained more than 2000 responders, and lost a number of friends and acquaintances that day. We don’t speak of it often in public.
In ten years, an enormous amount has happened in our lives. We built a house, sold it, moved to SC and built another one. I have watched our two daughters grow and become terrific adults, and we are now grandparents. In 2007, we sold the servicing side of my business, and while we continue to work in NY the business in SC is thriving as well. We left EMS in 2009 after a combined 52 years of service; when we left my wife was Chief of Department and I was Chairman of the Board. Mary and I have visited Amelia Island, Atlanta, St Thomas, Nevis, Denver, Ireland, Rochester, Boston, Phoenix, and will be in Nashville later this year. Yet with all that has come to pass, somehow, this day will always be emblazoned in my memory – the sights, sounds, smells, emotions never will go away. I am traveling to Rochester this Sunday, and I am driving. Somehow flying just doesn’t seem right.
I ask simply that you keep in mind the meaning of 9/11, and the thousands of innocent people that died that day, and thousands more since then, defending our country. My thoughts will be with them the next several days.