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5/30/11

Memorial Day and Heroism: A Moment of Thanks

Happy Memorial Day.

This week's prompt at Studio 30 Plus is "Heroism," and what a perfect day to do this.  Today the US celebrates Memorial Day, where we remember and honor our fallen heroes.

I read an Associated Press article Sunday which said a recent study found 8 out of 10 people don't understand the true meaning of Memorial Day.  For those in the 80%, please click this link to learn.

Today is a day to honor fallen heroes, but I would like to spend some time talking about the heroes that are still with us.

And to share something not a lot of people know about me:  I was once called a hero.

I started working at a call center as a 411 operator in 2000.  It was a boring job, but it was a job.  I'd be on the phone for 8 hours, saying "City and State, please" about 125-175 times an hour, until my ears bled.  I didn't like the job, but I was good at it, so I was there for a couple of years.

Fast forward a bit, to September 11, 2001.  I had been married for 2 weeks, and my wife and I were freshly back from our honeymoon.  Today was my 2nd or 3rd day back at work.  I woke up, drove to work, and came in to absolute chaos.  I learned about the Twin Towers attack once I got there, and most 911 services in the Manhattan area were flooded.  People who couldn't get through with 911 called 411.

It was going to be a long day.  Turned out to be a 36 hour day.  When in crisis mode, you forget about time, and a lot of people stayed and worked extra shifts until the panic subsided.  During that shift, I helped countless firemen and policemen, disaster units, EMTs and normal citizens.  One fire chief from Massachusetts had me on the phone for over 2 hours, making sure he could route his brigade through Manhattan (we had maps showing traffic, closures, etc.  this was before GPS).

After I finally went home, I slept for days.  Call traffic dwindled back down to normal after time, and in November we received a 'thank you' letter from rescuers.  I was one of three mentioned by name, and called a hero for my efforts.  I will remember that day, and that letter for the rest of my life.

I'm not saying this to stroke my ego, or to get my 15 minutes of fame.  I'm merely illustrating the heroes that work behind the scenes every day in times of need.  There are heroes right now in Joplin, Mo.  There are heroes in northeast Idaho and in Montana, helping homes and families with flood damage.

More importantly, there are heroes like Policemen, Firemen, Teachers, Doctors and volunteers.  There are heroes that put others before themselves on a daily basis.



To you, and to all other heroes out there:  Thank you.  Happy Memorial Day.
Please Share it! :)

22 witty retorts:

Plixx said...

Great post, and awesome story! But.. you're a few hours early. Idaho's not on the east coast...

Lady Estrogen said...

That truly is awesome.
You should add this to the Studio30+ this week too, ehhh? Heroism, yo.
Or, it could be heroin, I'll have to go back and double check.

Colin Biano said...

i'm only 6 minutes in to memorial day

Ally said...

What a great post! I was actually living in Manhattan during 9/11. I was working for America Online at the time and they were kind enough to let us all work from home that week. I had escaped to my childhood home on LI out of fear and just needed the comfort of my close friend and family. My job was basically a city guide for entertainment on our NJ and Long Island channels. They asked us to pitch in and host AOL chats allowing users to vent and ask questions. It was so interesting. I had never been on the official host end. We were allowed a way to screen and repost things people were saying and respond with canned answers and helpful info. Thanks for putting in the time and being there to help others and not even blinking an eye or thinking twice about staying late.

FourthGradeNothing.com

Astronomy Pirate said...

Great post, I've always known the purpose of memorial day, growing up on navy bases and the such. There are a lot of people who do a lot of good in this world. It's sad that more people know the day as a mattress sales event.

Moobeat said...

great post

Bart said...

so do u guys get drunk and shoot fireworks today, or dance in public and get arrested for it?

Jay Reid said...

You should be proud :)

The Minute Man's Wife said...

What an awesome post! One of your best! Loved it!

duffboi said...

A Wonderful post. Happy Memorial day to you too.

Rumiko said...

Damn, I live in Norway and I don't relate to the day. Until now (well, too late). Thanks for increasing my understanding on the topic.

Autumnforest said...

So true! There are heroes in support of heroes.

Rob said...

I love this holiday, I get some grilled burgers, get my drink on. I love it.

A Beer for the Shower said...

^ I typically celebrate the way Rob does, as I have no desire to go into the service. Those who do definitely deserve the recognition for what they do. And yeah, that's a very cool story about helping all of those people. Again, I have to reiterate, I'm almost completely useless.

Fragrant Liar said...

You are so right! Behind the scenes, there are so many heroes. I honor them all, including you!

ThePeachy1 said...

Today someone on twitter said to me, yeah but how many people just don't celebrate today "right". I responded with , I think today is the perfect example of the hundreds of thousands of Americans that have died so that there is NO "right" way to celebrate, it's America, we are free, that means we are doing it right that's what they fought for. I lost 50 followers, I can totally live with that. Cook the burgers boys and make a toast to the ones that didn't make it back. Great post spud !

Alice X said...

Inspiring post! I think we often take for granted the little things that ordinary people do in times of need or crisis, it doesn't matter how small or big.

The Wired said...

inspiring post! and the blogger above me is right, we take for granted a lot in this country. and we rarely look back and reflect upon those who lost everything for us. Here's to the fallen, unsung heroes

Skankin_Pete said...

A fond thank you to all the true heroes =)

KrowOne said...

Awesome story! Made my day! Keep up the good work!

Zombie said...

a great memorial day indeed! :D

Kristof Unpronounceable said...

not being from the states, i appreciate all you guys do thanks.

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