Jump to content

An Annual Reminder of September 11 amidst a pandemic and an election.

Recommended Posts


A Tribute to the Memory of Sept 11, 2001


by Bob Blumm, MA, PA-C, DFAAPA - September 10, 2020


There are certain situations that have left an indelible memory, which forever changed us, our attitudes and our destinies. Those that are baby boomers, born in my generation, will never forget the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. We remember where we were, what we were doing and remember the faces of frozen grief and horror on those we encountered at the moment the news was released and throughout the following few days. This senseless killing brought America to tears and forever changed the lives and plans of many of the young people in the United States. Our response to this American tragedy was to grieve as a nation, to embrace each other and for some, to develop a spirit of courage like the fallen leader. Many joined the Armed Forces of the United States out of a spirit of patriotism. I remember because I was one of the many. Our destination would now be Southeast Asia in a small country called the Republic of Vietnam and our mission to stop the aggression of communism. We lost many lives because of that war and the names of the fallen heroes are forever inscribed on the wall of honor in our nation’s capital as an enduring tribute.

On September 11, 2001, our country once again staggered under the tremendous loss of lives: the attack on the World Trade Center. Many unsuspecting parents, husbands and wives and children said goodbye that morning, blew a kiss and walked toward their transportation for a date with tragedy and their destiny. Once again, we remember the day, what we were doing, where we were standing and, again, we saw the horror unfold before us on national television as the two buildings that represented the strength of this nation were attacked by separate planes and crumpled to the ground in an inferno of heat and melting steel. I was operating when the first plane hit Tower 1 and then heard that Tower 2 was hit. As our case was complete, we went to the surgeon’s lounge and watched this catastrophe and thought of those whom we know, some who were members of our family, who were working there that morning. Surgery that was elective was canceled as our hospitals went into a red alert and standby mode to prepare for casualties that never came. I remember this also because I went to the site of Ground Zero the following morning to lend my support to the rescue efforts.

Once again, I saw faces frozen in grief, tears falling from the eyes of the bravest; other eyes were dry from shock. The people involved in the rescue efforts were America’s bravest; they were police and firemen, medical personnel, clergymen and women, steel workers and construction workers, truck drivers and soldiers, even specially trained dogs. The politicians came; the Mayor and Police Commissioner were there. Fire commissioners and assistant commissioners lost their lives alongside their men as they were in the command centers at the base of the building before it collapsed. Some of these people escaped with their lives and still awake to the horror of the day, feeling guilty that they, too, were not among the missing and the dead. Many of my colleagues who are reading this article lost loved ones and they, too, will not forget.

What happened in New York City also happened in a field in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon in Washington, DC with the same senseless loss of life and the same nightmare that creates PTSD and forever changes a person’s future and outlook. Some of those that were most injured psychologically are the children of the lost, along with the parents who grieve this anniversary. Today, my son, his wife and their two young children live in Battery Park City across the street from the tragedy. I can vividly remember the night that I returned from ground zero covered in ash and dirt on my scrubs. My wife would not launder these as she said that the scrubs contained the ashes of those that died and she buried them in a special area in our garden.

These incidents affected America and Americans in the same manner—they created unity from tragedy and pride in the flag instead of separation. There was an appreciation for all those that lost loved ones and especially for the fallen heroes who gave their lives so that others could be saved. I wrote a special editorial in Advance for Physician Assistants that month that described what I saw and experienced and was meant to share the intimacy of life and death with you, my colleagues.  We take the time this September 11 to remember and hopefully recapture the dream of unity that builds a nation and a people rather than the pettiness that separates the aisles of congress and interferes with the aspects of living in a democracy where there is liberty and justice for all. Perhaps from the ashes of this Phoenix, we will arise again with a spirit of cooperation and rebuilding our infrastructure, discovering jobs for those that are unemployed, creating programs that place people on a road of recovery and on the road to healing. It takes bipartisanship, this requires us to unclench hands that are presently a fist and are being used against each other and our leaders. It is a time to remember and a time to build new bridges that will create prosperity and health for this nation founded under God. We can be a part of the effort if we remember and are willing to change and create a new dream for America.

Bob Blumm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More