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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Laying low today

It is Sept. 11, 2014, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and what would have been a devastating hit on the U.S. Capitol Building had it not been for the courageous passengers aboard who sent the plane catapulting into the countryside in Pennsylvania.

These anniversaries are necessary. I always watch TV specials about the attacks year by year, and I come away with the feeling that they just happened. I remember where I was, what I was doing, what I proceeded to do. I was working as a healthcare chaplain in a large hospital. I watched the second plane fly into the World Trade Center, as it happened. Later the chaplains gathered to watch the unfolding events.

We were as shocked and stunned as anyone. But we had a job to do. We had to get out there and comfort the sick and their families. We had to project a feeling of calm. Many patients were afraid of having their surgeries that day due to the uncertainty. But in the end all of them had their procedures done.

It was an exhausting day, to say the least. As a psychiatric chaplain I had the main responsibility for tending to psychiatric patients in our in-house facility, as well as our outpatient facility. As I led the group that day it was clear the patients wanted to talk about the attacks. Some were visibly terrified. So, we dealt with it by talking it through.

I remember all of this so clearly that it is as if it just happened today. I went home and reclined on the couch, totally spent emotionally and physically.

I have written about these events in much greater detail many times through the years. This year, other than what I already said, I will lay low. I don't want to be out and about on this day. I am keeping my own counsel, and I am keeping my thoughts close to the vest. But I have every intention of providing a remembrance of this horrific event for as long as I live. I will not spend one second talking who did it or what I think about them. I've done that many times. But for this year's remembrance I will only focus on the pain inflicted on our nation, on many of our citizens, and on me.

So, will I write an Examiner article today? I have no idea. If I do, it will have to be later on, and I will need to become aware of some vital news that must be reported. In that event, I will be back. If not, then I will remain silent.      

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