I remember waking up on Sept. 11, 2001.
It was 5:30 a.m. My husband was leaving for work, and I was having my coffee. He turned on the TV to see the Monday Night Football highlights. One plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
I remember it as if it were yesterday. The visions have never left my thoughts. I remember that afternoon when my mom called me and said my brother, an LAFD captain, was on a bus to go to March Air Force Base to fly out and be a part of the rescue effort. He was heading to what the firefighters in New York at the time called "The Pile." It wasn’t Ground Zero those first few weeks; it was a pile of buildings, furniture, dust, dirt, walls and bodies.
I always worried when my brother was at work. I love him, he is my family and he sometimes does dangerous work. This event was scary—take-your-breath-away scary—and you could tell when you talked to him on the phone when he was in N.Y. that he was scared and exhausted, and emotional. It could have happened in Los Angeles; it could have been 343 LAFD firefighters who lost their lives because 19 monsters decided to hijack airplanes and kill Americans.
My brother, whose wife was pregnant with their third child when he left, did not die on 9/11 or from terrorism. But he did ingest some kind of toxin from the rubble at The Pile that hurt his heart, and at 34 he suffered a heart attack and now has a pacemaker because his heart does not work properly. It was fine until 9/11. He was in NYC last week for some business and sent pictures from Ground Zero. He said it made him very emotional.
So when CNN ran this atrocious story that Mayor Michael Bloomberg basically excluded the heroes of the greatest tragedy our country has ever known, I was upset.
Bloomberg says he will try to have a ceremony at a different time to accommodate first responders. That's like celebrating New Year's Eve on Jan. 3.
The fact that billionaire Bloomberg got away with excluding first responders is sad and atrocious. He made this National Day of Service a travesty, a political who’s who invitational event. It’s all about them and no longer about the Americans who lost their lives. It's a blatant sign of disrespect to those wonderful service people who volunteered and bravely ran upstairs into the burning buildings. It makes me wonder, with his putrid choice, are we now going to turn this National Day of Service into another reason for retail outlets to have a white sale?