Thursday, 15 May 2014

Do you remember where you were?

This morning I saw some of the live feed of the dedication of The National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York which will be opened to the public next week. As I watched President Obama so eloquently pay tribute to those who lost their lives that day, I couldn't help but think back  almost 13 years ago to the moment we heard and realized how horrific a tragedy it truly was.

I was working at a large hospital that had a trauma centre. I had wandered to the end of the ward where there was a TV on with the news - little did we all know how much our world would change that day. A doctor sat in the lounge, speechless. It took a bit of time for it to all sink in. And then the word spread. We were tasked with discharging all stable people to make room for mass casualties. Even though we were in Canada, it was thought in those early minutes (before we truly understood how terribly tragic the whole situation was) that we were close enough to New York that if their hospitals ran out of space, we would be able to assist. We were bracing ourselves to help but sadly, we were not called upon to do so. Little did we know that so many had died - and that hospital space across the border, would not be necessary.

I suppose, much like the day Kennedy died, September 11, 2001 has gone down as a day anyone alive that could comprehend the events of that day, will always remember.

I think we will always be amazed of stories of heroism and selflessness. With so many lost, to know the stories of each person and their families, seems an impossibility. Yet, perhaps this museum is the best way to memorialize them both individually and collectively. It gives the survivors a place to mourn & perhaps to heal. It gives others a place to remember, to learn, to never forget the evil that is in this world and to marvel at the importance and possibility of moving on and overcoming the impossible. Most fitting is a quote from Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "The stories are the proof that what we do and the choices we make affect each others' lives and the course of human history....this museum is a testament to the resilience, the courage and the compassion of the human spirit..."

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