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Always Remember, Never Forget

April 28, 2016
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

I have spent the last 15 years trying to disassociate myself from the emotions I felt that day. There's not a day that passes that I don't think about what happened, I just refused to deal with the rush of powerful emotions that flooded through me.

It's not the way I should have dealt with it. My training as an EMT and a Firefighter told me to talk about it with others; however, being a person that has never talked a lot about her feelings, I kept it buried inside. Like so many Americans on that fateful day in September, I too felt the emotions of fear, sadness and anger but as the days turned into weeks and months, I felt proud to be an American and rejoiced that so many had come together in our country's hour of greatest need.

So when the 9/11 Mobile Exhibit came to the Wild Rose in Emmetsburg, I felt a sense of honor to be able to take pictures and tell a story that some didn't bear witness to and others would never forget. I thought was ready, I thought I was prepared, I thought I could do it, I thought the emotions were buried deep enough that I would be strong enough; but, in one brief moment all the emotions of those days, weeks, months and years have come flooding back.

September 11, 2001 my life as well as every citizen in American changed forever as we watched in fear and horror as we were attacked on our own soil. The atrocities of that day evoked an abundance of overwhelming emotions that spread like wild fires across the country and around the world. The diversity of my emotions that day, still pulls me in different directions all at the same time, making it difficult for me to put into words just how much of an impact 9/11 has had on my life.

Two things haunt me daily: How could one man plan all that destruction and how a few men pulled it off? Some say the signs were there but overlooked. I really don't know. What I do know is that I have been forever left with an emptiness deep within. A sadness for my brothers, the 343 firefighters that gave their lives so others survived, although I didn't know anyone personally, there is a special comradery among firefighters: We feel for each other and families.

I felt so isolated when the planes were grounded. Never in my lifetime had I not been able to look up into the sky and see the evidence of a plane flying overhead. I felt a hatred for those who had committed this act of terror and I felt let down by our government for not stopping it.

These are simply words, what so many of us felt that day and since cannot be put into words. We each have dealt with this infamous day in our history as best we can. Was I ready to go through the 9/11 Exhibit I thought so. In reality, I could not go through it. I was in it to take a few pictures but I could not breathe and I had goose bumps. I was not prepared for the overwhelming flood of emotions that came rushing back and I do not know if I will ever be able to go to the site of the original World Trade Towers, even though I would like to someday.

Each of us deal with tragedy in our own ways and someday, maybe, I will be able to deal with this tragedy in our history, but who knows.



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