On September 11,2001, the world as we knew it changed forever.
The world watched in horror as first one plane, then another flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City. Terrorism had come to the shores of North America.
I was just beginning my EMS journey when the towers came down. I was at home in Canada as well, when I watched helplessly with the world. That event did push me in my career to help others.
It also caused me some challenges as it was also around the time that my mental health issues emerged to the point I was hospitalized for the first time, and diagnosed for the first time with mental illness.
When I found out about the 343 members of the FDNY were killed that fateful day, I felt a sense of loss, not because I knew any of the fallen, but because I considered them brothers because of my chosen career.
Since 9/11 the world has changed. I’ve had a career that I’m no longer able to carry on with, and have now found another. The support for our first-responders, once so apparent has been quickly forgotten.
Our emergency services members world wide never know what type of call they are walking into, whether it is an ambush, or whether it is genuine. The people still working emergency services, whether they are EMS, Fire, or Police, go to work knowing there is a significant chance they won’t go home at the end of the day.
They deserve respect and compassion because they do a job that shows them the worst humanity can throw it them. Even with my turbulent mental health issues, EMS was a career I was passionate about. I still am, even though I am off the job.
I got chewed up and spit out with post traumatic stress disorder from my job, a condition I was apparently predisposed to due my other mental health issues, but also an issue many first responders deal with.
Please seek help if you are dealing with PTSD. Please be aware of your surroundings on scene. Any first responder funeral is one too many, it doesn’t matter the reason.
And if you are called to make the ultimate sacrifice, know that you will not be forgotten.