Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

People are always surprised to find out that I spent a short time in my life working as a police officer. A real life beat cop on the street. It was a very interesting time in my life filled with crazy stories that I will never forget. But I fondly remember one day in particular...

I was still in training at the time, and as a part of training, I rotated through all the shifts to be exposed to as much as possible. This day I was working the day shift, starting bright and early at 6am. I remember walking into briefing and seeing the TVs on with scenes of a smoking building. The early word was that some crazy person flew into the World Trade center. I remember seeing on TV images of the building with smoke pouring out on one side. It was surreal, but we had no idea the severity of it at the time. The sergeant who ran the briefing agreed to leave the TVs on in mute while we conducted our business. I didn't know what to think. I was out of the academy for about 2 months. Was this sort of thing what I was to be dealing with now? We all paid attention the best we could, and as we wrapped up briefing and starting to walk out, the first building started to come down. We all watched for a minute in silence. I don't think we really were able to processed what was happening, so we went out on duty like we were suppose to quietly.

Since I was in training, so I rode with a training officer. I remember we didn't really know what to do with ourselves. Word had started to come out that this was some terrorist act and there was another plane that had crashed by the Pentagon. We didn't really know if we would be seeing any activity near us. I didn't exactly work in a small city. It was somewhat conceivable, at least at the time, that San Jose would be as likely of a target as anywhere else. Having that kind of violence brought to our soil, made it seem like it could've happened anywhere. We were the only ones to think that, of course, and we started to get called about "suspicious" activities everywhere. People were freaked out, and honestly, so was I.

I think what calmed me down the most was what helped a lot of people that day. I called Britt at home after a couple hours of craziness to see if she was ok. Britt asked me why I was so worked up. She was at home watching PBS cartoons with an almost two year old Hannah. She had no idea what was going on and I appreciated the calm that was at home. I told her to change the channel to see what was going on, but she probably had no idea how much she brought me back to focus that morning. A morning of confusion and panic, and I had a calm, peaceful home, still waiting for me.

Not a lot really happened for the rest of the day. We tried to stay ready and available in case anything did happen. Safe to say the car thieves and drug dealers got a break from us that day. For as long as we remember and commemorate this day, I will always be grateful that I had a unique perspective on it all. A lot of brave and courageous people work everyday to keep the rest of us safe. People who have their lives and families who constantly remind them why they do what they do. I am honored that I was a part of that for a while, and I can honest say that I will never forget the events of 9/11/2001.