I often ask probationary firefighters one question when they have desires of joining the department.
Where were you on September 11, 2001?
With the opening of the 911 Museum, I've found myself looking at old videos and tapes of that day. Not only the events that unfolded in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania, but in our response area.
September 11th for our department opened with a cool foggy morning that started off on Lens Creek Road in Hernshaw. The roadway is known as one of the worst in the state, and has a history of producing serious incidents and causing hundreds of fatalities.
Our morning started with a coal truck vs a pick-up truck head on. Both drivers were able to walk away unhurt.
At the time, there was an Exxon station in the area. Due to the amount of time on scene, we grabbed everyone some refreshments and coffee. While in the store, the TV was on with the news of a plane that just hit the World Trade Center.
Wasn't sure what was going on, but I knew it didn't feel good.
I remember going back to my crew sick to my stomach and having this numb feeling that I couldn't explain. Maybe you felt the same.
We cleared the scene and returned to the fire house and watched like many of you. The crew never took their gear off and stayed glued to the TV.
The second plane hit and it was clear what was going on. Soon after the second plane hit, we had another response for a head-on incident that sent 2 to the hospital.
At the same time, County Management put all county fire department on stand-by due to the aircraft that turned and circled back over West Virginia.
We cleared the scene and I'll never forget the feeling of the crew. There was anger, but there was a sadness I had never seen before.
We knew this was the greatest attack ever on American soil with thousands lost, and in the end, 343 of the bravest.
We spent the rest of the day and evening watching in disbelief.
So when people ask me where I was on September 11th... I was working a vehicle incident then joined the rest of the nation for the many days to come.
Where were you on 9/11?