The drive to any crime scene is one filled with endless scenarios cascading across a responders mind. It is the practice of the well-trained law enforcement professional.
The who, the what, the when, the where and most assuredly the why. All of these questions filter through the responder’s mind, sequentially, in pursuit of the call.
This kaleidoscope of self-imposed interrogatories is the preceding mindset to any incident. These thoughts portray themselves. Cry out for the appropriate conclusion prior to the arrival on scene. In the time it takes to move from point A to the final destination, a practiced mechanism begins and the silence does fall.
The event with its story, the people, the place and the timing – all merge together in the responder’s mind. The conclusions yet drawn under the practice of it all.
But, what happens to the responder once the investigation is complete? Especially, when the event is of such magnitude like that of 9-11.
In the days following the atrocities of that blue – skied September day, each of us has heard the stories of the fallen heroes who answered their call. The all too many police officers, firefighters, emergency service personnel and the innumerable victims who fell prey to the senseless act of terrorism.
We have listened with heaving hearts and tears in our eyes to the surviving family members as they shared personal insights of their loved ones who perished at the three sites of despair. We have been attentive to those public figures whose rhetoric mirrored our own thoughts following the horrific events and in the times of post recovery.
But, we have seldom heard the stories of those responders who survived. Those who arrived at each of the sites and served in the name of their fellow man.
In the initial moments, these brave men and women tried to rescue those fallen. And, in the prevailing days, weeks and months that came, they worked to recover the fallen with great care and in locating the all important pieces of evidence as well.
Yet, what to the men and women who served and answered the call? Or, of all the thousands who responded and worked in the best interest of us all? What of those who counseled the inconsolable. Or, those who prayed and gave the comfort to the grieving and dying?
Are they ill? Are their minds flooded with tainted memories? Did they leave a piece of themselves on the hallowed grounds of destruction.
For me, there was no significant debriefing to aid or make sense of the scene, or reveal what lay hidden from one and from all. The silence crept in and overcame my entire being. As time passed, the recollections became so congested I could not sift through them all.
So, this blog poses a few questions to those who served on that fateful September day.
Who are you?
Where are you?
And, most importantly, how are you?
Do you suffer any lasting effects?
Do you experience flashbacks?
Are your dreams still haunted by stilled pictures?
If you read this, please share. For, I know I do not stand alone in my sorrow and pain. Which sometimes, still rains down on me in muted refrain.
So, I seek the counsel of others who were affected from their time of response. I ask for the opportunity to listen and hear the words of others who understand all to well. Because my emotions not yet professed, still lie unresolved deep inside of me and remain as part of the silent response.
All continue to overwhelm me. And hinder my recovery. Both then…and yet now.