As we reflect on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the memories of that day comes rushing back. I can remember hearing the initial report that a small plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, it was an odd report but things happen and I continued to work. Shortly after, the hustling and bustling intensified as people began to share out loudly that another plane hit the other tower at the World Trade Center. By this time, I realized that something whatever it is - is happening and it wasn't good.
The chaos that ensued after was frightening. The attack on the Pentagon, the towers burning, communication was completely compromised with the cell phones and some land lines not working, rumors spreading throughout the building and more. I wanted to get to my children. I needed to get them and go home where we can all be together to figure out what's going on.
I can tell you that I was in a state of shock for quite a while. The families looking for their loved ones, the volunteers from all over the country who came to help in the rescue and search efforts, the crowds gathering along the West Side and along the side roads to Ground Zero cheering on the first responders as they travel to the site - it was a heart warming yet staggering moment of reality.
The post traumatic stress disorder cases were relatively high. Various agencies offered free counseling services to anyone affected by the attacks. In addition, those who worked closely and daily at Ground Zero were not only affected by the trauma of recovering body parts and having to work in a war torn area, began to develop cancer - including rare forms of cancers. In honor of all who perished and those who worked tirelessly to reclaim the area for the families and our country, we acknowledge the heavy price they have taken on their health.
While each journey is unique, we all share a common theme - cancer changes our lives forever.