I wrote this while working in New York at Ground Zero after September 11, 2001
What is a Hero?
This is a question that has been going through my mind ever since I arrived here in New York. My friends email me and say ‘You are my hero’. I read it and laugh… I am no hero. I am a Red Cross Disaster Relief Nurse that is taking care of people, sometimes just Band-Aids, sometimes just cold medicine, sometimes just talking. It is a very small part in a much larger picture. It is insignificant. My real heroes are those that have died such a terrible death, the ones trapped inside the World Trade Towers, the victims in the airplanes that were hijacked, the victims at the Pentagon, the families, trying to cope with such a loss, the city of New York and their wonderful people that are trying to cope, the city of Washington DC and their wonderful people that are trying to cope, those that are working after their duty hours at their regular jobs to come to volunteer, those firemen, iron and steel workers, policemen, OSHA, FEMA, National Guard, truck drivers, crane operators, bulldozer operators, and the list goes on and on. They are exhausted, they are sick, they are overwhelmed, but yet they are out there day in and day out trying to make sense of such a terrible tragedy.
Every day working is different and I find new heroes creeping into my life. We are all part of a circle… without one of us, the circle doesn’t seem to be complete. My part may feel insignificant, but when it is put together with all of the parts, it becomes very significant. My fellow Red Cross workers, all doing different jobs to create that bond.
I meet several heroes every day. The other day, a Red Cross volunteer touched my heart. He was working in the Trade Towers on the 54th floor when the planes hit. He got out of the building in time and now does not want to leave the area. He feels he needs to help in any way he can. He calls it his ‘penance’. He serves food in the kitchen for the workers.