Archive | September, 2017

9/11 + 16 years

11 Sep

Yesterday, we donated online to help victims of Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Later, we checked Facebook and email alerts to see how family, friends and colleagues in Florida were coping with Irma as it rode up the length of Florida. This morning, I checked my email first thing. I smiled, as I saw two of my first cousins and their families had checked in that they were “Safe” on Facebook.

The sun is setting now. Many Florida residents and my cousins are still breathing sighs of relief. The disaster is far to their north. They are already starting their recovery. For most, it could have been a lot worse. For others, recovery could take weeks, months, even years.

It could have been a total surprise. 9/11/2001 started off as a spectacularly beautiful day in Washington, DC. The sky was a beautiful blue with no clouds, The morning commute was easy. The temperature was optimal as I walked to my office on Red Cross Square.

I hadn’t been settled into my cube very long when Mary Etta called me from the Communications and Marketing office. Bruce, a plane just flew into the World Trade Center Building!

I walked over to my VP’s office and told him about the plane. We turned on his TV and watched the coverage. We started looking up how big the plane was and guesstimate how many passengers it had and how many people would be in a building of that size.

Then we watched live as the second plane flew into the second tower. Now we knew it was a terrorist attack, and that the American Red Cross and others would be very involved for a long time.

We worked in the American Red Cross national office of Volunteers, Youth and Nursing. We knew we had over 40,000 Disaster Reserve volunteers ready to deploy to supplement the efforts of the local chapters’ volunteers and employees.

The rest of our office and other offices were alerted, we started thinking through our checklists, somewhat dispassionately because the attack was in New York. Then the third plane flew into the Pentagon, just across the river. Now our city was under attack. The government offices surrounding us were evacuated. Civil servants flooded the streets.

Red Cross Square faces on the same park, the Ellipse, as the White House and the Old Executive Office Building. No one knew where the attack would come next!

The sun is setting now in Florida and other southern states. Thousands are being sheltered and cared for by the American Red Cross, by churches, and by municipalities.

I was very fortunate to work for the American Red Cross in volunteer engagement and capacity building for many years. I offer my sincere thanks to millions of people who donate time, blood and money each year to help America be prepared for the next big storm, emergency or surprise.

Thank you for all that you do. It makes a huge difference.

By Bruce Summers, former national lead for American Red Cross volunteer engagement.

See also:

September 11, 2014 started as a cloudy day

9/11 – Red Cross memories – 10 years later # 1

9/11 Memories – Red Cross Blood Drive – 10 Years later # 2

Did the American Red Cross collect too much Blood after 9/11?

9/11 Memories +15 years

 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: