The day dawned bright and sunny. A perfect day to be outside. Too bad I was stuck inside at work. I worked in a small ER in southern Indiana, where pick-up trucks ruled and hunting was taught at birth. The first plane had just hit the WTC when we got the call.
A man, out hunting with his buddy, had just been shot. He had buckshot from neck to knees and was in pretty bad shape. They were bringing him to us, hoping against hope that the injuries weren't as severe as they appeared.
Unfortunately for the man, the injuries were quite severe. I placed a tube in his chest to reinflate a lung collapsed by the shotgun blast. I told the man we were going to get him to a trauma center as soon as possible, and to hang in there.
We called for the chopper. By this time, the second plane had hit the tower, and the pentagon was in flames. Nothing could fly. Not even a medical helicopter all the way out in Indiana.
We sent the man by ambulance, but the ride took over an hour. By the time he got trauma center, he was already infected with bacteria from the wounds in his abdomen. Three days later he was gone.
Why do I tell you this story? Because 9/11 didn't just hit NYC, DC, and Pennsylvania. It hit all of us. Some of us were affected in big ways, others in small, but it profoundly changed the lives of all Americans forever.
I will forever remember the man I resuscitated on September 11, 2001. I will always add another number to the accounting of dead from that day.
Take a moment today and remember those who are gone forever.