Saturday, September 17, 2011

10th Anniversary of 9/11 Memorial For Firemen and Heroes

My Captain, Steve Lazenby Station 81 B Shift
It's so hard to go to a memorial... as this is today. Our memorial was for the fire fighters, but the heroes of 9/11 were many and were included in the service. It's Sunday, so we went to Church first and then over to the Ventura Government Center for the memorial. Earlier, one was at our Station 81 and then there was another in Ventura at a later time of the day. My Steve dressed in his full dress uniform as did my daughter's husband,  Steve is a peace officer. They both looked so nice. I wish the departments would do more pictures of them in their dress uniforms, it seems lately that the only time I see the very formal wear is during a sad occasion.

Steve In His Formal Uniform
The day of 9/11 I recall just like everyone else, such shock after the one explosion and then seeing the other happen, as it happened. I cried when I saw the firemen walking together as a squad into the smoke and people running away. Tressa called crying and said, "See those guys? Those firemen?" I said, "Yeah, I do." She said, "Mom they're not coming out." and I returned, "I know." She hung-up the phone. Her husband's also a peace officer.

The towers fell and the firemen and peace officers that responded were gone to dust. I believe that's why this memorial is so important. The firefighters always know that any call could be their last. They have faith and know if protection is needed Heavenly Father will be there to provide it. If Heavenly Father wills otherwise, it's always their hope, that at the time, they "go" while in the service of others.

Sept. 15th 2011
Today Steve went under a big tractor that was used for loading huge, heavy equipment. The trailer had collapsed  on a young man and the real risk in this is ... that the heaviest part went across the young man's chest. An old-time heavy equipment operator and owner was on scene and he climbed into a large crane and lifted the trailer up just enough for the firefighters to rescue the victim. When there was just enough room for my skinny Norwegian captain to get under the trailer, he slid to be beside the young man. Steve wanted to tell me how it seemed his injuries were very severe, but he was talking to him. The young man didn't bleed-out when he was carefully taken-out from under the trailer, and he was speaking to the ambulance crew, too. I said, "Don't you think that's probably not a good place for you to talk to him, right under the trailer?" I didn't understand what my husband was thinking! He said to me he needed to be beside him, he needed information, even if it was only a whisper. If it was the moment of his last breath, he wanted him to know that he had someone there with him and reassure him as he leaves this earth. I asked him, "You could have been crushed if the trailer had slipped, just like the young man that was trapped." He said in a very matter-of-fact and serious tone, "I didn't think of that, I was just doing what we do." That was it, he didn't want to talk of the accident anymore. I could tell the conversation was over, but still wanted to know. "Did you know him?" "No." I asked, "Did he live?" and he added that he was okay and and I don't remember the terms he used but, like critical and stable, and yes, he now he knows who he is. Steve told me that the victim was talking to the hospital staff and doctors, but was really busted-up and that is interpreted as a lot of big.broken bones. "You think you'll talk to him, again?" Steve just gave me the look.

I don't know any firefighter's personal fears or thoughts, but I do know some of my husband's. My firefighter has lost piece by piece parts of him that can't be replaced. First are the images of things he can't ever tell me or show me. The physical parts have been taken by the service to in behalf of the fire department are measured by the chunks, and some of them I recognize easily. What I can share is his hearing loss, his knees, one at a time ... first as an engineer jumping out on one side, and then the other knee, as he has jumped, repeatedly out to help others, as a captain on the other side of the engine. He has a terrible back because he has fallen so many times from wet mud on a mountains,  yanks from another firefighte that has pulled him down, or even the wind as he was trying to close the door to the engine compartment during the Moorpark Fire. He landed flat on his back and then the door had blown-off. My husband has even laid unconscious on the floor of the engine bay, when someone had polished the step to fine that his feet slipped. Steve's legs when under from the top step and he landed on his head and back at about 2:00 AM. Other things just as hard to bear is his gut has been torn, and hernias developed ... when he first started pulling hose lines. There are obvious marks on his face, arms, and feet... all have pre-cancerous patches from the repeated burns. I know his lungs are black from the smoke he's eaten over all the years. I'm grateful everyday that he's still here with me and amazed at his insistence to still go to work, even when his body aches. Every shift is a prayer.

I can't think of anything but sorrow for the families that lost loved ones in 9/11 and have gone ahead to Heaven earlier than expected. The memorial prompted little Presslee, my grand daughter to ask me, "Who died?" Kenna leaned-in to try and find-out why everyone was crying. I'm thinking, "Oh no...How's there a simple answer to this event and of all it represents?" There was a speaker at the podium, and really, how could I whisper? She asked me the same question again; I was taking too long to answer. I told them both quietly and respectfully and that this all happened before they were born.

Following The Memorial, Some of my Grandchildren
Behind is a Piece of the Twin Towers, Physical
Reminder that all of what was said today, really happened.
We as a people, have spent a decade not showing the tragedy of 9/11 on television (for my daughter's that wouldn't even be possible, because they don't receive a signal even from an antenna, they only have wii and videos) I know there was a very important purpose as to why to not show the whole thing over and over in our living rooms. First, it was to the dismay to our enemies who sought to cause more and more pain in the aftermath. And even more importantly it was also for thousands of family members that lost someone there at the Pentagon, the Pennsylvania field, and The Towers, It was out of respect and honor that it wasn't shown. The repetition of it all only would hurt their tender hearts.

Everyone Sang With The Military Band
We all had our Hands on our Hearts. We All Cried
    Flags Were Raised And Then Lowered To Half-mast
The firetrucks though-out the country all carry flags on their engines and trucks. All of the equipment carry the stickers of 9/11 and all of them say that they "will never forget". All the firemen wear their 9/11 tee shirts.

I see a whole generation from about the age of thirteen and fourteen down to little Presslee's age, that now know to ask. This children don't know. My grandchildren do not have a clue to what happened that day, all sixteen of them.  Still, how many children were able to see it, if they didn't have television or the parents didn't turn on the television when they had come home from school. There wasn't the crowd that I had expected at the memorial. Only four visitors came to the memorial in Santa Paula and only two had no family involved in the fire and police service. Two people and it was a well-published event and welcomed all to join in the memorial. Two. There were people standing at the Ventura memorial, but it wasn't crowded.

Steve, second from the Left
I thought the study of history is to remind us of past mistakes and how "man" can lower themselves to do terrible tragedies on others, and not inflict the same horrible disastrous effect that brought so many such extreme sorrow. We are setting ourselves up for forgetting and the circle will repeat itself again. Our media news channels seem to be bent on exaggerating weather extremes and what the new "Reality TV" is going to bring to us this television season. This isn't real and given to us for entertainment. It's on the news, as news.

I don't know what age is appropriate for children to start learning about all this, but I know at some point there needs to be a time to show them. The children need to learn about sacrifice, service, faith, liberty, and freedom. They need to learn about courage and love of fellow beings of the earth and to help everyone. People need to appreciate, to be grateful, and thankful for what we all have in the United States. All of these ideals should be taught in the home and the teachings gently provided and with the guidance of the Spirit.

The Book of Mormon teaches us graphically about war and terrible things that happen when hate, pride, and evil thoughts take hold of a people, and the dreadful results of those intentions. We are taught about the circle of forgetting, the repenting and returning to the blessings of that which comes with the teachings of the Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that to have the Spirit with us we need a remembrance of the teachings of the Book  of Mormon, The Bible, and all other scriptures that we have been blessed to study and learn from earnestly and with the desire to make ourselves more like Jesus Christ.

The memorial was good because it made me think a lot about sacrifice and teaching. It helped me to remember to write down today. I hope if my grandchildren or children forget these things, that this journal will be another "tap on the shoulder" to remember what they need to know. Children stay humble, charitable, and always trying to sacrifice for the good of others. Please never say, "hate" as one of the four-letter, ugly words and replace it with the one that is always perfect ... and that is, love.

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