In Memory of 9-11
Wow...it seems so long ago, and yet ....not, that the day which shook all of America and many in other parts of the world occurred. The day innocent lives were lost because of evil. This is my memory of that day.....
The year was 2001. I was a single working mother of 4. As was my routine every morning when I worked full time at the American Red Cross, I turned on my bedroom tv to catch the local news for traffic updates. The morning of September 11th the difference in the sound and sights that came from my little tv in my bedroom was immediately different. With a towel on my head (from my morning shower) and makeup bag in hand I sat entranced on the side of my bed. Trying to get my mind to understand what was being said and shown. It was Matt Lauer speaking and there the one of the WTC Towers was on fire. Then suddenly there was a quick glimpse of something across the screen and then a huge explosion on the other tower. The second plane had hit. I felt frozen in time. None of it seemed real....realizing this was happening in America my country.....
I finished getting ready and was of course running a few minutes late. Got the two little ones dropped off at daycare and the other two to school. Driving into work I would usually pray and sing but I tuned in the radio. I heard them speaking of the Pentagon, another plane in the air, airports being shut down and then.....did I really hear them say one of the towers collapsed? That could not be possible. I didn't believe it even. My mind was reeling.
I walked into work and it seemed a little quieter than normal but it didn't take long for the entire place to erupt into chaos. TV's were on in the donor waiting area and the Pheresis department. Talk started about how donors would be coming in and we needed to prepare. My boss made it clear to me and the others in my department if we were not 'donor' trained then we were to carry on business as usual. Business as usual? This was a national tragedy...nothing usual about it. As I delivered documents I saw coworkers running and scrambling around trying to get the donor room set up in the atrium (a much larger area) not all collections staff had arrived to work yet. As I rounded the corner....what I saw i couldn't believe. A line of people going out the door of our facility....my poor coworkers were overwhelmed. It was pretty chaotic. I put the documents back on my desk and decided "I will do what I NEED to do and if I get fired then God has other plans for me..." So I went to the Atrium and started helping to set up the Canteen area. Moving, lifting, organizing...it was truly remarkable. The donors were lined up out the door and around the corner of the street. Some where nurses coming forward to ask if they could help draw donors (which they could not due to regulations) and the phones were ringing off the hook. The American public wanted to help. They wanted to do something in the darkness of that catastrophic day....and we as Red Cross Employees did too! We wanted to help our wounded country. We wanted to save lives. We worked for hours processing donors, passing out cookies and water and magazines and just lending a listening ear to those who wanted to talk about what they saw that morning. I could only work my 8 hours but MANY of the collections staff, facilities staff, and supervisors worked well into the evening. The lines lessened each day but still there was an outpouring of loving hearts wanting to give. SADLY...in the days and weeks after, Red Cross received a huge bad wrap. We were accused of throwing away blood, taking blood when we didn't need it...and so and so on the stories went. It broke our hearts. We were only responding to a tragedy. We were responding much like the nation.
We could only store so much blood and only for so long in order for it to be safe and usable...... and we were overwhelmed. Our facilities were overwhelmed, our testing labs were overwhelmed, our staff did a great job. Sadly as we came to learn, there were not many survivors needing blood transfusions....but who could have known, who of us could have imagined. It was a frightening day, it was a day of such sorrow, it was a day of such love, it was a day of being proud to be an American....and even today 8 years later.......it still possesses the same feelings......the same feelings to me! I was very proud to have worked for the Red Cross and I was and am to proud to be an American.
That is my memory of that day....I no longer work for Red Cross, instead I work at home raising my kids and raising those kids who were born to others but have now been born of my heart. This day I will pray for those left behind, who's family members and friends were taken. I will pray for our soldiers who need to come home NOW. I will pray for our country, that we will turn back to God. Cheesy but very true....God Bless America!