The day that changed us – 10 years after 9/11

An American Red Cross Family Service Center Near Ground Zero, Photo Taken October 2001

By Laureen Martinez, American Red Cross Mid-Florida Region Communicator

Like so many of us, I vividly remember the morning of September 11, 2001. My phone rang, my mother said “turn on the TV” and I spent about 2 minutes staring at the screen before I jumped out of bed, quickly got dressed and ran out the door to go to work. At the time I was a local television journalist and I knew this would be a day like no other – even thousands of miles away from the Twin Towers. I would eventually travel to New York City three weeks after the attack to document the work of local responders helping the city recover. I interviewed police from my city as well as American Red Cross volunteers. I worked out of the NBC studios which later meant I had to get tested at the hospital because of  the Anthrax scare.

I learned a lot of lessons that year.  September 11 taught us all that disasters can happen at any time  – shocking us beyond the realm of reality.  They come in all forms from earthquakes (even where they are not supposed to happen) to hurricanes to terrorist attacks.  The only way we can better handle what comes our way is to prepare.

Fittingly, September is National Preparedness Month which gives us all the opportunity  to both remember the victims of 9/11 and honor those who responded, and to make a renewed commitment to being better prepared for the future. We can all certainly do better and it’s easy if you follow these simple steps: build a kit, make a plan, and be informed.

 The American Red Cross can help everyone with information on exactly how to do that . Just go to www.midfloridaredcrosss.org.

No one can predict where or when the next large disaster will strike, but preparedness steps taken today can save lives and livelihoods tomorrow. So no matter when an emergency happens (you be awakened from a sound sleep or you may be at school or at work) you’ll have a better sense of what to do.

Addtional information: Remembering 9/11 and Preparing for Future Disasters.

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