The Value Of Tragedy

by | Sep 11, 2014 | Emergency Preparedness

9-11Today marks the 13th anniversary of the September 11th Terrorist attacks on the twin towers.  Similar to many tragic events, many of us can remember where we were and what we were doing when the news broke.  It was a day when business stopped, air travel was grounded and strangers cried for those they never knew. The whole country mourned as one for the unfathomable loss of life that was void of prejudice.  So many innocent people went to work that morning and never came home again.  Children were born without fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and friends. Families lost children, and spouses learned to raise a family alone.  With the exception of Pearl Harbor, we have never experienced such a great and unexpected loss of life.  It was the day where time once again stood still and the nation mourned together as the death toll climbed until the final count stopped at 2,992 dead.

We watched for weeks as hundreds of firefighters and police, healthcare workers and volunteers of all kinds worked for days without sleep as they treated the injured, coordinated donations and dug through rubble for survivors and victims alike. Our televisions were filled 24 hours a day with footage replays of the planes crashing into the twin towers, buildings crumbling to the ground in a plume of smoke and fire, taking with them thousands of innocent lives.  We witnessed bystanders on the ground covered in soot which eliminated race, nationality and gender.  During this time, the American people stood as one.  We truly became The United States of America in every sense of the title.

There was a mass outpouring of support and love that extended beyond the borders of New York City which ebbed and flowed across our great nation like the tide lapping against the shore, each wave trying to wash away a little more of the hurt.  We became more charitable and less selfish about our time, money and resources because we were outraged at an act of terrorism that we were not prepared for and unfortunately never expected.

As we witnessed our great and now humbled nation pulling together with donations, emergency supplies, disaster funds and relief efforts, did this have to happen?  Could we have been better prepared?  Did we let our guard down under the premise that we are the mighty United States, invincible and untouchable?  Did we forget about Pearl Harbor and was it just too long ago for us to stay on our toes?  Was that someone else’s problem from another time?  Maybe.

It always seems to be that tragic events cause us to think about protecting ourselves.  In the aftermath of tragedy is when we consider our own mortality and safety the most.  When we are frightened, we as a people take action and prepare for the unknown dangers we may face in order to feel safer. The problem is that we rarely plan for these disasters in advance.  Tragedy and disaster are not the time to think about what we should have already had in place to protect ourselves.

Could this happen again?  My answer is yes. The answer is yes because it happened in 1941, it happened in 2001, and if we as a society take respite under the cover of complacency, it most undoubtedly will happen again. On the anniversary of this horrific event, I urge you to hug your loved ones a little closer, remember the fallen, and take some time to improve your own preparedness for the unexpected.


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