Can we all come together today as Americans? Like you, I’ll never forget where I was on 9/11. That morning, I was preparing for a live show at the TV station where I worked; my desk in the newsroom had a clear view to the on air monitors. I remember seeing the video of the first plane that hit the World Trade Center. It seemed like a freak accident… until the second plane hit. Like the rest of country, I knew instantly this was no accident, and it sent a chill up my spine.
I was the executive producer and host of a lifestyle show that was about real issues, people and yes, the fun things that make life interesting. Reporting was always my passion, and I begged my news director to be sent to Washington to cover the story.
If you recall, all flights in the United States were grounded after the attacks. After reaching out to a few contacts, our crew was on one of the first flights out of San Antonio to Baltimore, once air flights resumed. You could have heard a pin drop on that plane—the mood was somber and yes, anxiety was rampant.
Within minutes of landing at the Baltimore airport, my cell was exploding with calls about anthrax scares at the Capitol, one of the destinations on our trip. Welcome to post 9/11.
I’ll never forget that assignment. With the realization of what had happened on 9/11, seeing the damage at the Pentagon was disturbing, the burnt smell of the wreckage on the Pentagon lawn was sickening.
What was uplifting were the incredible, awe inspiring stories of the survivors. These folks that sacrificed their safety to rescue co-workers trapped in the destruction. Sadly, a number of them didn’t survive.
That Pentagon trip led to an overseas voyage to Bahrain and a stay on the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian sea during Operation Enduring Freedom. Fighter jets were taking off and landing on that flight deck 24/7. Sleep was scarce. Everyone was focused on doing their job, completing their mission.
I’m fighting back tears as I write this remembering the amazing young men and women we met on that journey. They were sacrificing so much for the freedoms we all hold so dear. I met young women who left babies and children behind to do their job, to serve this country. Can you imagine leaving your 4 month old?! I met a young lady who did. Young enlisted men and career officers who left their families to defend our freedom. Not one single soul complained. All were proud to be there defending our nation.
I salute our military and our first responders on this day and every day for the sacrifices you all make for our country, our towns and our neighborhoods. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!