September 11, 2001 Remember the Fallen
Today is Patriot Day, 2005, the anniversary of the World Trade Center Attack, 2001. Thousands of innocent civilians died that day in a terror act that has gone down in history. Hundreds of our EMS brothers and sisters- paramedics, EMT’s, firefighters, police officers, rescue workers- made the ultimate sacrifice for our coutrymen and died in the line of duty that day, while trying to save the lives of others. They no doubt died doing a job they loved, knowing that the risk of losing their own lives in the process was forever omnipresent in their chosen calling.
This post is dedicated to our rescue brothers and sisters who died in the World Trade Center Attack, September 11, 2001.
What compells a rescue worker to that line of work? Money? No, emergency workers are notoriously vastly underpaid, especially considering the hazards that come hand in hand with their duties. Glory? No, emergency workers are commonly heavily criticized in the media, by their own administration (who are supposed to support them) and even the patients they are helping, when they are doing the absolute best they can with the scant resources they are given. Glamor? No, emergency workers commonly have old blood/bodily fluid/toxic medication stains on their clothing; because they’re underpaid, they have little disposable income to spend on frivolous items like designer clothing, expensive dinners. Excellent working conditions? No, emergency workers work in some of the worst environments going to crime scenes, scenes of gang violence, into peoples’ homes, rescuing someone half dead from the path of oncoming cars, being exposed to infectious bodily fluids, being threatened- sometimes even killed- with weapons, constantly living with the looming threat of legal action and losing their livelihoods and all they’ve worked for. Great hours? No, emergency workers usually work 12, 14, 16, 24-hours or even longer Often, they are forced to work mandatory overtime, even on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Weekends, Holidays, during their childrens’ dance recitals. While you are safe at home sleeping at night, an emergency worker pulls a midnight shift doing public service.
With all they have to put up with, why do most emergency workers do their jobs? They love people. They love bringing a lost child safely home to his/her mother. They love helping an emphysema patient in a crisis breathe again. They love saving the lives of people they who are virtual strangers simply to do good in the world. They love helping the abused child, the crime victim, the lost alzheimers elder.
On January 31, 2003, my friend Paramedic/Firefighter Danny Viliaros died while saving a life. He, Paramedic Mandy Shiraki and Pilot Ron Laubacher, were working for the Hawaii Air Ambulance, en route to the Big Island of Hawaii for a critical patient air transport in the middle of the night. They never made it to their destination, as their plane had apparently crashed into rural mountains. They died doing the work that they loved.
September 11 is a day to remember all of our fallen heroes. Today, I remember my friend and hero Danny… Please take a few moments today to remember all of our unsung american heroes.
When I am called to duty, God, where ever flames may rage
Give me the strength to save some life, whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child before it is too late;
Or save an older person from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert, and hear the weakest shout,
And quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me;
To guard my every neighbor and protect his property
And if, according to your will I have to give my life;
Please bless with your protecting hand my children and my wife.
- Author Unknown