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Respect For Those Who Protect And Serve

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Respect For Those Who Protect And Serve

   September 11th, 2001 what a terrible day. I mourned for all those innocent people killed. I cryed a lot for a long long time. I had to do something more than sit home and cry. In 2002 I traveled to Washington DC where I attended an anti war rally with thousands of others. After the rally was over I began a walk from DC to Ground Zero not to honor the civilian dead but rather to honor those who pledged to protect and serve and gave their precious lives to keep that pledge. The Police, the Firemen, the EMS personel and the National Guard who also had casualties.

   I had bum knees in those day and had to walk with two canes. It was a very slow and grinding process and I had many a tearful prayerfull day getting to Ground Zero.

   I got into Manhatten via the Broklyn Bridge and as I walked toward Ground Zera I passed quite a few closed Fire Stations. These stations were swamped with flowers and pictures of the brave men and women who gave their lives to save others. I was weeping all the time I was slowly making my way to Ground Zero.

   When I did make it I stood at a barrier that blocked off Ground Zero. All my senses told me that I had to set foot on Ground Zero to pray so I broke through the barrier fully expecting to be arrested and I made my way down to the ropes that defined Ground Zero. I set both my freet on Ground Zero and began to weep uncontrolably thinking about the sacrifice of so many good and brave people who died saving others. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked to my side to see a lady Police Officer. She was African American. She asked me if I was ok but through the tears I couldn't speak so I just nodded up and down.

   I guess I expected her to try to take me away. She said something into her little radio attached to her uniform and then she asked me if I needed some hot chocolate or perhaps a cup of coffee. Still not able to get words through my tears I shook my head no. She just stood next to me with her arm around me trying to console me. I can't really put into words what I felt about the Police, Fireman, Ems personel and the Guardsmen who made the supreme sacrifice but I can describe the weeping that I was doing as being totally uncontrolable.

   Suddenly someone in a Yellow HASMAT uniform walked out of the dust and dirt of Ground Zero and headed toward me and my lady friend. As he approached I saw he was wearing a helmet with FDNY on it and a name plate that said he was a Chaplin. He stood to my right and also put his arm around me and asked me if he might pray with me. I still couldn't speak so I just nodded up and down. He said some prayers and then we stood silently there each with our own prayers. My lady friend cop on one side and a FDNY Chaplin on the other. I suppose that we stood there in silence for at least 15 to 20 minutes and I was just about out of tears.

   My lady friend cop had to leave so it was just me and the Chaplin. I made an effort to talk to him and I got out these few words. "You must be a Chaplin with the New York Fire Department. Where you here on 911?" His reply was that the helmet was lent to him by the New York Fire Department and he was not here on 911. He related that he was the Chaplin of the Oklahoma City Fire Department and that he was just here trying to help out. Well this started another round of weeping as you could have guessed but thanks to his prayers and kind attention I was able to return to a point where I could talk to him. We spent another 45 minutes of so just talking and praying before he got a call and had to leave.

   To this very day tears well up a little when I pass Police and Fire stations. Just can't help it. Two things you never want to say to me are that New York City Police are not friendly and helpful and never never say anything bad about the Police, Fireman, EMS people and Guardsmen. NEVER!


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