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.
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.