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Reliving 9.11.01

Editor’s note: It’s with pleasure that I introduce to you an old friend of mine… and a new author here at BitsBlog… Maribeth Achim.

Maribeth has always been a creative sort, and so when I told her about this website and explained it’s thrust… that I consider that our politics should be reflective of our life values,  and she seemed intrigued by the notion,  I  invited her to write some ‘slice of life’ stuff for BitsBlog.. to write about some of the thought processes that happen underneath what you and I consider overtly political,  I’ was most pleased when she accepted the invitation. This is what she came up with as a first effort.

I hope that you are as touched by the  story as I was. Welcome, Maribeth!   -Eric

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It’s a new year, and a new decade. I guess it’s normal to look back at such times, at all the things that have happened in the past decade, and how they’ve impacted my life.

The one day that comes to mind almost immediately is 9/11, a day I will remember well.

I decided to sleep in late that day, only to be awakened by a phone call from my husband, telling me to turn on the news. Stumbling into the living room and scrounging around for the remote, I finally tuned up on CNN.

What I saw horrified me. I sat and watched with tears in my eyes, wondering who could do something like that. Continuing to watch, I saw the second tower hit, and both fall. Reports that the Pentagon had been hit and a stray plane went down in rural Pennsylvania. No one knew if there were more planes or where the next target will be.

My next call was to my daughter’s school to find out what their policy was on situations such as this. I was told they were in the process of deciding on what to do. At that, I said that I was coming to the school and picking her up. No way was I going to sit and worry if there were more planes heading to rural America to wreak havoc.

You can imagine, I made it to the school in record time. Other parents apparently had exactly the same thought in mind because on arrival, there were lines of parents waiting to sign their kids out of school.

Eventually, the school saw the way things were going, and decided to release the students early.

Now, at the time, my daughter was only seven years old. She had some idea of the severity of what was happening, but still couldn’t totally grasp it.

From the school I headed to the closest Red Cross facility to my home, which was about 25 miles or so away. With the amount of people that were involved with this tragedy, I knew they were going to need blood. Since my blood type… A+…. is the most common blood type, I knew I would be welcomed. As we pulled into the Red Cross parking lot and I unloaded my wheelchair, I noticed that as with the parents at the school, many others had the same idea as I… The place was a zoo.

Volunteers were scrambling to get things in order, take names, find out what blood type you were, and if you’ve ever donated before. Needless to say, there were many that had never donated before. At most, they were looking for folks that were O+ and O-, universal donors. All were welcomed, at that time, no one was being turned away. The wait was fairly substantial with all the people, though.

I waited my turn in line to give my name, blood type, and other vital info. As we waited, I tried to explain to my daughter what was going on, and why we were here. When we finally got to the counter and
I gave my name, my daughter piped up that she wanted to make a donation too. They informed her that she was too small to give blood.

Well, she informed them that she didn’t want to give blood, she wanted to donate her heart so that someone else’s Mommy or Daddy would live.

You can well imagine, heads turned at that. The woman in line next to me, gushed tears, as well as a few other folks who heard her comment.  She said that I had raised that child right. How many kids would have thought of something like that?

They had arranged people by numbers. O + and O – were given first priority. Because I was A+, I was higher ranked than some of the other types. As I say, though, the the crowds created waiting lines for donations that were hours long.

Red Cross had TV’s and radios going so that the info everyone had was current.

A local restaurant knew that there were man people waiting in line to donate, and likely wouldn’t get a chance to eat, and decided that they were going to feed all of the donors and the volunteers. What they set out was unbelievable. It wasn’t just slapped together…. It ended up being a virtual feast; all were welcome to help themselves.

A local radio station had set up a remote at the Red Cross to keep people informed. They wanted to interview a few folks, asking how we felt about the current situation, and what we felt should be done. They gathered us in a room, waiting for their prompt to begin t [1]he interview.

I was chosen… Possibly because I was the only one in a wheelchair. They were curious as to the reasons I came down. My daughter was excited at the prospect of being on the radio, again, she piped up and stated that she wanted to donate her heart. When explained that if she gave hers up, she wouldn’t live anymore… and at that, came a somewhat disappointed illumination at last.

After several hours of waiting, Red Cross came and told all potential donors, that unless you were either O+ or O-, that we were being told thanks for our time, they needed to focus on universal donors.

It was dark by the time we left, and the drive home was long and somber. My husband was home by the time I got home. I gave him and my daughter a big hug, thankful they were alive and safe from the days events. He sat down and watched the evening news, as I worked on dinner.