Just Something I Had To Do

This is going to be my only post about 9-11. You may have thought it odd that I haven’t written anything up until now when everyone in internet-land has done nothing but write about that terrible day 10 years ago. Truth is, I don’t care if I ever see another image, hear another story or read another article about that day. I don’t need all of that to remember, reflect and honor all of those souls lost.  It still hurts and I don’t care to see it anymore. However, I want to tell a quick story that brought it into stark relief this morning. Bear with me.

My wife ran a half-marathon this morning, 13.1 miles. She has run a few in the past and one full marathon. What made todays race different than the others, besides the date, was the fact that she has been sick the last few days. Yesterday she was barely able to get off the couch. She couldn’t breathe, she was coughing and was totally wiped-out. Never in a million years did I think we’d be going to a race this morning. Yet, at 0530 the alarm went off, she got out of bed and got ready, loaded up on cold medicines (thank goodness there was no urine tests prior to the race), and we headed out the door. One hour and forty-nine minutes later she crossed the finish line. Not just crossed the finish line but was only one minute slower than her goal of one hour forty-eight, which would have been a personal best. We hugged and I congratulated her and told her how proud I was of her and that I thought she was one tough chick to run that good a race feeling as crappy as she did. She then began shaking, going hot and cold, getting nauseous and feeling like overall dog-shit. I piled her in the car and drove her home to bed. On the way I asked her why she pushed it. Why she had to run the race feeling the way she did. Her answer was simple, “I’m a runner. It’s something I just had to do.”

Ten years ago thousands of civilians, hundreds of firefighters, police officers and EMS personnel, hundreds of military personnel and air crew rolled out of bed and went to work as usual. Instead of coming home and going to bed sick they sacrificed their lives that day. Some voluntarily, some by no choice of their own. Either way, each of those people have since become a symbol and a force for an entire nation. Our 343 brothers that died that day, along with the NYPD and PAPD officers, did what they did that day because they were firefighters, police officers, EMT’s and Paramedics; It was just something they had to do. Something they were called to do by more than just their job title. It’s what they were.

May God bless each and every soul lost that day, may He comfort those left behind and may he always protect those of us left to carry on the calling.

Be safe.

Hallway Sledge

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