Today marks the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that brought fear and terror to the shores of America.
On that day, we witnessed the tragic deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent lives and saw the destruction of two iconic towers that defined the Manhattan skyline.
Included in all that loss of life, 343 firefighters, 60 police officers between two departments and paramedics from a combination of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and private emergency medical service providers at the site all perished doing their jobs, trying to save as many people as possible.
In light of the anniversary arriving, I felt it was important to remind everyone of the importance of our first responders. The men who sacrificed it all that day deserve our never-ending love and support, and it is up to us to carry on their legacy through education and remembrance.
While perhaps not in the same magnitude, first responders all around us put themselves in harm’s way every day protecting us and our world. While maybe it’s not running into a burning skyscraper, firefighters still run into burning houses and businesses to save those in danger and work together to ensure the said fire does not spread and become more of a safety hazard.
While police officers may not always be stopping a burglar or drug operation, they remain the ones we call on for support services such as walking an elderly lady across the street or directing traffic – perhaps initially thought of as mundane acts but valuable to society at-large if thought about critically.
To many young children, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, one of the go-to responses is to be a firefighter or a police officer.
When asked why, it’s because they see them as heroes and appreciate, even at such a young age, the extraordinary acts of courage they undertake and dream of playing that role in the world.
As we remember the lives that were lost on that tragic day, let us also remember the incredible sacrifices that were made by brave men and women who, in the face of danger, did not shy from duty and service; instead, they took on a task that was almost impossible, but nonetheless attempted to fulfill.
If you are walking down the street and happen to pass a firefighter or police officer, take a moment and say thank you.
Thank them for what they do, thank them for being there for you and thank them for being amazing, dedicated and humble warriors.
During a time of remembrance, it will mean the world to them and remind them of why they do what they do.