Since this is the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11/2001, its a bigger deal than in previous years. There have been a ton of shows on TV about it. Usually, they play the same programs year after year. I always watch them, even though I've seen them. Every time I see that second plane crash into the tower, it shocks me. I always try to remember the shock that came that day when you didn't know that second plane was coming. This year, they had some new shows and I'll admit, I was obsessed. I could not get enough of the personal stories about 9/11.
I think its easier to not know the specifics of what went on in those towers after the attacks. It is too hard to wrap your mind around what those people actually went through. To think of being in that hell, of trying to get out, of not knowing that those building would crumble. Or worse yet, to be in those buildings and realize that you were not getting out. To be on one of those planes and realize that you were going to die that day. To be a spouse who gets a phone call from your husband or wife, calling to say goodbye because they are on a plane that has been hijacked or because they are on the 100th floor and have realized there is no way out.
There was one show that we watched that I cannot get out of my head. It was called "Hereos of the 88th floor". It was a story of what happened on and around the 88th floor of the first tower hit. There were two men who took charge and helped get many people out of the building. They worked on the 88th floor. Sadly, they died that day, but they saved tens of people.
There was one story that stuck with me. I can't get it out of my mind and it actually makes me angry. The people from the 88th floor were telling their story. They talked about a secretary who worked with them. She was quite overweight and she had asthma. As everyone started to make their way down the 88 flights of stairs, she was really having a hard time. Several of her coworkers stayed with her, helping her down the stairs. According to them, she was having a hard time breathing and kept sitting down and telling everyone to go ahead without her.
The stories continued of the struggle to get out of the building, the crowding of the stair way, the swaying of the tower when the other tower fell (they didn't know that's what it was), the firefighters going up the stairs. Eventually, there was only one man left with the secretary. He said that she was drenched in sweat, he kept telling her that he'd stay with her, not to worry and to keep moving. He said she kept sitting down and telling him to go on without her. There were somewhere around the 10th floor, maybe below, I don't remember exactly. He said that 5 firefighters came down the stairs and told him they would carry her out and he should go ahead. He said "no, I told her I would stay with her". One of the firefighters grabbed him and said "this building is coming down and if you don't go, I will throw you down the stairs".
He ran and he made it out alive. The secretary did not. Neither did those five firefighters. You can talk about bravery and heroism all you want, but there are 5 families who have a hole now because of this woman. Not to mention her family. And what about the people who stayed with her, trying to help her and then eventually went on to save themselves. What type of guilt do those people live with? It makes me angry because her disregard for her health resulted in her death and the death of others who were willing to die to save her. Some people have disabilities or diseases that cannot be prevented, that cannot be cured and there is nothing to be done. Obesity is not one of those. If you are going to work on the 88th floor, you damn well better be able to walk down 88 flights of stairs. If you can't, you are putting your life and the life of others at risk. Everyone deserves to live, but why should someone risk their life to save you when you won't save yourself? Our of all the tragedy that day, this one really sticks with me. This may be the most senseless of deaths. I don't think we even realize how our choices could possible affect others. Probably not the lesson most people took from that show, but I believe it is an important one. Someday, your health my be all you've got. Take care of it. You never know when you'll need to run for your life.
We'll never forget. Impossible to believe its been 10 years.