9/11: ‘Have Some Forgotten How It Felt That Day?’

By Stephen Owsinski

That title (more on that in a moment) would seem a ludicrous question for anyone who was born before September 11, 2001, but music sensation Darryl Worley scripted lyrics to compel minds to reconsider the fateful day when the heart of our beloved nation had a stake driven through it. Two, actually…the size of jumbo jets. Cops from the NYPD and Port Authority PD bum-rushed in as the Twin Towers were going down…and many heroes went down with the monumental edifices which mirrored each other like fraternal twins.

And here we are 19 years later, immersed in widespread anarchy inflicted by domestic terrorists who treat law enforcers like trivial bumper cars purposed to be pushed around and recklessly rammed left and right.

It is utterly disgusting. Just like 9/11 and the cowardice conflict no one conceived…until it was too late.

This time, the villainous behavior is coming from within, literally typifying the principle pledge of defending the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Indeed, our nation’s law-and-order professionals wearing varying police patches denoting their jurisdictional scope have their hands quite full. Not only are these courageous cops fighting against anarchy, they are perhaps more-so fighting for their lives since the not-so-subtle statement barked by combatants: “Abolish the police.”

The planned overthrow of the law enforcement institution is a coup against America itself.

It is astounding how far we’ve come as a nation, tremendously burdened by the need to heal inexplicable wounds. Many emotional wounds were felt by police officers who were physically present at Ground Zero. I had the distinct pleasure of working with several of them.

Among those sifting through the rubble were two NYPD cops who are dear friends of mine, both of whom were assigned to an area at Ground Zero, overseeing the chain of custody of human body parts collected from rubble. These policemen maintained watchful eyes over many durable plastic bins. In these bins were the body parts collected by search-and-rescue designees whose “finds” were situated for medical examiners and forensic folks to conduct DNA analyses at city labs; the hope was to positively identify “missing” people (casualties). Many of those “missing” were cops. Dreams were fulfilled and ended that same day.

Imagine doing that sort of work at a site successfully decimated by radicals in the most atrocious way?

These two cop buddies to whom I refer became friends of mine after they endured 9/11 and the grotesque assignment they were given. Talk about human strength and resiliency. Understandably needing a change in environs, both relocated to Florida where they joined my police department; one has since retired and the other still serves the citizens of Tampa, among many others just like him for whom he serves as a tried-and-true mentor.

Yet another law enforcement officer who joined our police force as a lateral from another Florida agency was significantly scarred by 9/11. As a field training officer (FTO) at the time, I was assigned to train this new hire. Beyond the meet and greet, I was informed he lost a loved one aboard United Airlines Flight 93.

Respecting anonymity and this police officer’s personal privacy, I can attest he performed admirably and without fail while working the midnight beat. After years of contiguous police service, he opted for a career change. He now serves as a flight attendant for the same airline for which his loved one worked. How’s that for human resiliency?

From such a tragic conflagration which felled the Twin Towers, bittersweet stories abound. Each year we are reminded of these poignant human experiences, some scorching the soul and others providing for a prideful tear or two, evincing human spirit amid abject horror. Public safety professionals never really leave “the job,” they carry it around day in and day out.

Actor Steve Buscemi was at one time a New York City firefighter, often working with NYPD cops. According to the Train Your Probie website, “After the events on September 11, 2001, Buscemi returned to his former Engine company and worked 12-hour shifts for several days alongside his fellow firefighters searching through the rubble for survivors,” again partnered with NYPD’s Finest.

I recall reading about instances whereby cops from all over the nation geared up and got to Ground Zero, lending their hands, hearts, and sheer determination to sort through a scene of unimaginable proportions.

I know those visiting LEOs didn’t forget a solitary thing. I know my fellow cops mentioned herein have crystal-clear memories they wish never happened. I also know that the bonds among cops and firefighters working together on 9/11 is no different than present day.

We know our beloved National Police Association audience didn’t forget either.

Sadly, though, it seems anarchists have an extremely short attention span (granting the benefit of the doubt they do not deserve).

How is it even remotely possible for anyone to dismiss the many profound heroic deeds of all first responders who perished that fateful day, or those who succumbed to 9/11-related cancer and other health-related afflictions attributed to the devilish demolition of the Twin Towers?

It confounds that some among our society find it worthy to vilify public safety practitioners, despite the wonderful array of work done by America’s law enforcement officers. To denigrate all because of a scant few is beyond the border of reasoned conviction.

Just as public safety professionals on 9/11 garnered utmost respect for virtually epitomizing self-sacrifice pledges spoken upon swearing-in ceremonies, so do today’s post-9/11 police officials who lace boots and strap duty belts to confront all of our free society’s evils…fully knowing the significant risk to themselves. If it were glorious, everyone would be doing it.

To the extent a circulating petition seeks to amass names to “restore respect for police” underscores the insidious cancer (hatred) hurled at LEOs, directly from the hands of those working to erase the policing profession. Just imagine Twin Towers survivor and retired Port Authority police Officer Will Jimeno, and what he must be feeling about today’s anti-cop climate.

One thing which stands out in my mind is how thousands of cops forged forward on September 11, 2001, fully cognizant they may not return home. Nineteen years later, today’s law enforcement officers harbor the same notion…compliments of domestic terrorists in locales like New York City, Portland, Seattle, D.C., and others…

How do some seem to forget how it felt that day…and the clogs of cops who bum-rushed in to provide salvation and hope?

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