As I sat in traffic in the city of Nashville this morning, I let the windows down and enjoyed the cool fall air and broken sunshine creeping through the clouds. I then caught myself looking around at the people in cars surrounding me. The middle aged woman eating a pop-tart while applying mascara, the landscaping crew puttering towards a job, the father inching along with his two kids in the back playing some sort of game that involved yelling and throwing things… I am reminded that it was a day remarkably similar to this one, 17 years ago, also on an early fall Tuesday that would change our lives forever.
I was just 13 years old when our second period math class was interrupted by a school-wide announcement. Everything else that day was a blur, but I remember one thing with complete clarity, an image of a firefighter, loaded down with gear walking toward a burning building and looking up with dismay. But he, and the group around him kept walking toward the fire, toward the building and whether they knew it or not, towards the last call for help they would ever answer.
That selflessness and determination to help others in the face of extreme adversity shaped my professional goals and paved the way for me to spend a decade as a first responder myself. We as a country may not all agree with some of the political decisions made since, but we owe it to all those who put politics aside that day to come together and take a moment to honor those who gave it all.
- 246 people that went to bed with bags packed for their flights the following day
- 2606 people who grabbed a cup of coffee on their way out the door for another day of work
- 343 firefighters who relieved the off-going crew saying “see you tomorrow”
- 8 paramedics who checked off their trucks for the final time
- 60 police officers who put on their badge and got in their car to Protect and Serve
And the countless men and women who did what needed to be done in the days, weeks and years since. During my career as a paramedic, I have seen just how lives can be changed in an instant. We owe it to them to be prepared and be ready. To not take a single moment for granted because we never know when it may be up to one of us to stand up and say “send me.”
We owe it to them to never forget.
Written by Blaire Czarniecki
Customer Service Director
Fact checked by Phillip Woods, BA, NREMT-P, FP-C
Blaire attended the University of Tennessee where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology- Child and Family Studies. She has been in the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) industry for over eight years and is the Director of Customer Service for Coro Medical. Blaire is also an American Red Cross-certified CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor, highly trained by each manufacturer on their specific AEDs, and knowledgeable regarding ALL State AED regulations and legislation.
“I know that every day I come to work, I am playing a part in saving someone’s life. I am passionate about these devices and am always looking for new and innovative ways to spread awareness and knowledge about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). I look forward to the day when everywhere I go, I will see an AED—when SCA will no longer take any lives.”
Last updated September 11, 2018