On 9/11/2001, I was sitting in a classroom in the eighth grade at Boyne Falls School.[private]
My teacher, Angela King, was teaching another exciting lesson in sentence structure – subjects and predicates – when Bill Aten, the principal walked in.
I can’t recall most of what he said regarding the attack, with the exception of one phrase – “You will never forget where you were this day.”
Mr. Aten was correct in his prediction.
As years passed on, the tragedy of 9/11 led to the War on Terror – those whom President George W. Bush referred to as ‘faceless cowards,’ and eventually Operation Iraqi Freedom.
We, the United States of America, embarked on a journey that day that has changed countless lives.
The realization of how many lives 9/11 changed didn’t really set in until 2008.
On 9/11/2008, I was sitting inside a local fire station next to my partner.
It was only my second month as a Paramedic with this service, and I was learning the ropes.
The medic next to me was (and still is) a talented provider, but also a proud firefighter and fire instructor.
We were working the night shift on a slow night, and as we sat in our chairs, the news channel aired footage from 2001, and a reporter looked at the camera, asking everyone to think of where they were today.
I was surprised by what I heard.
“I was in the unemployment line,” said my partner.
My partner went on to tell me the story of how he became a firefighter, and the role the tragedies of that year played in his decision, which quickly altered and shaped his career path.
It made me realize how many lives can be changed, even by the most horrible of events.
It also made me as proud as ever to be a Paramedic, especially after so many gave their lives.
As an American, I am proud of how our country handled such a tragedy.
I am proud of the firefighters, medical personnel, soldiers, chaplains, and emergency workers.
I am also proud of the teachers who explained to delicate 10-year-old minds what had taken place, and parents who held their children closer that night.
As I sit here and write this column, one more group comes to mind – one which makes me especially proud.
To all of the broadcast, tv, and newspaper reporters who stared at their screens and thought, “What am I supposed to do now,” you make me proud of my profession. [/private]
Chris Faulknor is the Editor of The Boyne City Gazette, and a long-time Boyne City native. His column can be seen in The Boyne City Gazette each week.