The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. The time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. The time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out, reports New York Magazine about the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Take a look at the numbers:
- 2,998 were killed in attacks.
- 6,291+ people were injured.
- 343 firefighters and paramedics lost their lives.
- 23 NYPD officers died.
- 37 Port Authority police officers were killed.
- 1,402 employees died in Tower One.
- 614 employees died in Tower Two.
- 1,609 people lost a spouse or partner.
- 3,051 children are believed to have lost a parent.
September 11 impacted and changed people's lives across the globe. And, many officers I know consider this day a time to reflect and honor the brothers they lost. Many of them even take this day off to honor the public safety workers who lost their lives in this tragedy, even if they didn't personally know any of them.
So, it was with a great deal of surprise when I read an article opposing that police officers in Peabody, Massachusetts, be given 9/11 as a paid holiday. A victim's brother reportedly stated he was shocked law enforcement officers would take advantage of the tragedy for their own gain.
While I can understand this family member's feelings, I believe declaring September 11 as a holiday isn't about money at all, but about respect.
September 11, 2001, is a significant day in American history. It should be memoralized as the greatest single day of sacrifice and loss in public safety history. In my mind, every department should take steps to make sure the heroes who fell in this tragedy are remembered with honor.
The numbers above don't lie. But it's up to us to make them mean something today, tomorrow and in the years to come.