To My Hero,
I am writing today to say thank you. Thank you for being there on that fateful day, 15 years ago. Thank you for your selfless sacrifice. Thank you for being brave when you were young and scared. Thank you for being courageous, and marching in, when I am sure you wanted to turn around and run back to your loved ones. Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.
Thank you for marching into the unknown and putting your life on the line. I will never know firsthand, what Ground Zero was like on September 11, 2001. You my friend, cannot escape the horror. Thank you for enduring it for me. Thank you for your unyielding dedication to find survivors and sifting through the rubble, in the many months of aftermath that you suffered. Because of you, America had hope in one of our bleakest hours. You and your brothers gave that to the rest of America. While we sat safe in our homes, physically unaffected, looking at pictures in magazines of the red zone.
I cannot imagine what you have had to endure personally, at the hands of the terrorists. Logging more red zone hours than allowed because there was no one else. Forging ahead, even though it would be life threatening to your health in the future. Going down into the red zone when the masks and supplies ran out, you persevered. You had a job to do, and you did it. Your search for survivors, grimly turned into recovery of the dead. You put aside the possible ramifications to your health and psyche, and marched in when America needed you. That is self sacrifice. You breathed in the unimaginable, and dug through the dangerous, finding dead bodies and rubble, to save just one, to find just one. You were the terrorist clean up detail. You gave deeper of yourself than anyone of us civilian Americans can imagine. It has not gone unnoticed.
Thank you for surviving the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder you have had to endure because of the horrors emblazoned on your brain. Many of the brave did not survive it. Thank you for enduring the yearly tests and scans for Cancer and other diseases caused by your bravery and sacrifice of spending too many hours in the Red Zone. Many have been lost due to the things they were exposed to physically and emotionally. For some , the horrors were too much to bear. You are always in our prayers.
I wish there was something I could do for you. I wish I could make your employers see that there is no expiration date on PTSD. I wish I could make them understand that if it is something you suffer from, as most do, it was because of your sacrifice and bravery, not a weakness. I wish you would not have to sneak and see a therapist, for fear of losing your job if the fact that you still have PTSD is discovered. I wish you did not feel like you have an expiration date on your life, and a target on your back. I wish that I could change the sad fact that you feel, as do all of your brothers, that it is only a matter of time until you die young from all of the things you endured and were exposed to. You, America's bravest heroes, from September 11, 2001 are silently suffering. Few of us know your pain, I cannot even imagine the horror of it, but I want you to know my heart is with you. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you, I am proud of you, and am proud to say that America has heroes like you among us. You give us all hope. You were the only light in the dark days on and after September 11, 2001. YOU, pulled America through. I, for one, would be honored to say I know even one of you, let alone all of the faces I have met through the news media and press over the last twelve years. There is something I can do, I can say thank you. I cannot say it enough.
To all the men and women of the NYPD, NYFD, NY Emergency Services, and all of the many other police, fire, Port Authority, government agencies, service men and women, and volunteers that endured the horrors of September 11, 2001 and it's aftermath, on the front lines, Thank You! Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.
A Grateful Citizen