(Mr. Hinkle was representing NENA in Washington, DC on that day in the Hart Senate Building while attending the “9-1-1 Report Card to America” press conference.)
As another September 11 approaches, we still contemplate the destruction and senseless loss of so many lives. True to the human spirit, we continue to look for glimmers of meaning to help us find something positive in an otherwise horrific day.
There was something almost symbolic in the fact that this act of terrorism occurred on national 9-1-1 Emergency Number Day – a day that symbolizes a nation’s commitment to protecting people. Are there any two more contrasting events? One symbolizes people dedicated to destroying life; the other honors those who have dedicated their hearts to helping to save lives. Perhaps even more prophetic was that September 11, 2001 had been selected for a press conference held in Washington, DC to celebrate National 9-1-1 Day and the publication of the first comprehensive report on the health of America’s
I am struck by the contrasting symbolism of that day. That day was meant to be a testament to how we as a nation exemplify our commitment to human values through our on-going efforts to improve the availability and reliability of the 9-1-1 system – a system specifically designed for the sole purpose of helping people and saving lives. We felt a heavy blanket of sadness spread across the country that day as we realized this was not an accident. What is so truly American is that almost immediately we began hearing about the heroic actions of our first responders. We heard of the compassionate voices of our 9-1-1 call-takers receiving and processing thousands of emergency calls.
Like most Americans, I knew in an instant that our way of life would be forever altered. As a 9-1-1 center manager, I also felt the comfort and security of knowing that all across the country our 9-1-1 centers were standing by to answer our calls for help. Reflecting on that day, I also remember how proud I was of being part of this noble profession. I still think about the dedicated men and women, who at this very moment, are staffing our 9-1-1 centers all across America, poised and ready to serve our nation.
It is with this heightened sense of pride that I remember September 11, 2001 as a “Day of Contradictions”, celebrating how the American spirit triumphed over those that would seek to destroy our way of life.