September 11, 2011
I don’t know which is harder to believe. That 9/11 actually happened here on American soil. Or that it’s been 10 years since it did. Neither seem possible. The images, the memories, the emotions are all still so fresh. The horror. The shock. The disbelief. The enviable, unquenchable American Spirit. I remember how our country came together as one; we were truly undivided in those days, the weeks that followed. American flags were on homes, cars, firetrucks; it was ‘okay’ to talk about God and to pray. People seemed to genuinely care more.
On September 11, 2001, I had been working on a pre-dawn photo shoot near DFW when the attacks happened. I did not yet know; my innocence had not yet been shattered. The one thing we did notice was how extra busy the DFW airport seemed to be. The sky was full of planes, much more so than usual. We didn’t know of the attacks; and we did not know all planes were under mandate to land. I left the set to run some prop errands and my photographer called to see if I was listening to the news. I turned on the car radio just in time to hear the news that the Pentagon had been hit – the third of such attacks. I went to a nearby Walmart to buy a portable radio so we could keep up with what was happening while we worked. There in the WM media dept, I watched in horror with the rest of the world the first World Trade building collapsed.
Looking back, it’s crazy that my small crew was required to continue working; our country was under attack, pockets of DFW businesses were were closing and evacuating and most people had gone home. Much of America had stopped. When I finally arrived home late that evening, I held my beagle Maggie Mae as I watched the news and tried to make sense of all that was happening.
Working near DFW airport, and living near Addison airport, the empty skies in the days following 9/11 were some of the most haunting days I’ve experienced. The world finally felt ‘right’ when the planes returned to the skies. Even today, I am thankful when I see or hear a plane fly over. It says to me “America is strong and in control once again.”
The following videos of 9/11 remind me of the unquenchable American Spirit. That although it’s always darkest before dawn, darkness can not overtake light. We see a lot of darkness in animal rescue … abandonment, cruelty …, but like 9/11, the good of Man saving animals will prevail.
I remember this soul stirring song … how it brought comfort and peace in the midst of the pain and confusion.
The stories of the search and rescue dogs, how they bravely went into the debris where humans could not go, touched me deeply. How the dogs mourned that they did not find more people alive broke my heart. Instead, they found bodies and body parts. How tragic – yet that difficult work brought comfort to the families of those lost.
I remember the seeing eye dog that led his master safely out of one of the World Trade Center towers. The bomb detection dog, Sirius a yellow lab, that lost his life in a tower collapse; his human partner, Officer Lim survived. Sirus received full Police Honors when his body was recovered in the rubble several months later. Sirius is the only dog known to have died in the attack at the World Trade Center.
Here are more photos and stories of the Search and Rescue Dogs of 9/11; click here to see. The search and rescue dogs still living are seniors now, graying muzzles, tired bodies, but they have left their pawprint on history.
This video is of four dogs receiving Great Britain’s recognition for their bravery and service on 9-11.
This commercial is just beautiful … a simple tribute to America and 9/11.
Today, we look back. We remember. And we celebrate the American Spirit.