I like to reflect each year on this tragic anniversary on what life was like before, during and after the attacks.
I was driving to work at about 6:00 in the morning, listening to the radio when I heard the report of the first plane flying in to the World Trade Center. I remember thinking it was a small plane like a Cessna and saying to myself, “some moron flew into a building.” I even called my wife and said so.
I then heard the reports about the second plane, then the third plane at the Pentagon and the fourth in Pennsylvania while I was at work. About that time I realized this was something big. I could not get on to any news websites and could not get any information or pictures of what was happening. And, my father was flying home that day too.
I had injured my back a few days before and was having a lot of pain and difficulty walking. That night when I got home I watched the footage of the planes crashing and the towers collapsing over and over and over. I was numb. I was angry. I was sad. I was proud to be an American.
The next day I was watching the footage again. There was a story about a Port Authority Officer, whose office was in the basement of the World Trade Center, and his dog never made it out. That set me over the edge and I broke down crying. When my wife came home, found me lying on the floor, unable to walk and crying hysterically, I lied to her and told her I was in pain from my back, when I really was overcome by emotion over what I was witnessing.
Witnessing the end of life as I had known it. Witnessing a new world and a new way of life. Witnessing the depravity of what some humans will do when they hate. Witnessing the death of heros.
I knew from that day that I had made the right decision to become a nurse. If I could use my abilities to help another person in a time when they need it, I could hold my head high. I may never be a hero like those firefighters who ran up those buildings when they were falling in on them, but I can be the one who helps save the life they pull out of the destruction.
Thank you to all the firefighters, police, EMS, physicians and especially nurses who are all heroes to me. I will be thinking of all you on Saturday.
God bless America!
Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed.
Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university.
Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.
By Rob Cameron