What does it mean to us â€¦ as a community, as a nation?
Do you recall where you were when the news of the attacks on America started to seize the airwaves?
What did you feel when you learned that the lives of thousands of people were extinguished by the heinous acts of terrorism, or, war on our society?
Sadly, many of us were frozen in our tracks as we saw replay after replay of those horrific events that unfolded before our very eyes.
The thoughts of â€œwhat’s nextâ€ continued to take over our daily thoughts.
Many people displayed American flags, drove with their headlights on, held vigils to make us one community, one nation, standing together, shoulder to shoulder to fight this enemy that we may have not seen before … or heard of.
Where are we today, in 2010? Do we remember?
Do we realize that we are still in a fight to protect those very freedoms still yet today?
My deployment to the World Trade Center Attacks in 2001 changed me dramatically from who or what I was on Sept. 10, 2001 â€¦ or did it?
I served the World Trade Center Task force for over 100 days, deployed by the U.S. Department of Justice to the FDNY (Fire Department New York). The unit I was in has now transitioned over to the newly formed (in 2003) Department of Homeland Security.
The sights, the people, the folks I worked with are now indelibly implanted in my mind on a daily basis, and changed the focus of my work for the America I serve.
I grew up here in the Fox Valley; this is my home, and I have been all over the world in the last several years.
As my deployments to the Mideast over the last 36 months have shown, there is no place like home.
Do we remember the higher state of security back in 2001 and 2002?The countless hours our police, fire, emergency medical personnel, our emergency management, our public health teams have prepared for to protect us, the citizens in the event of another event?
All of that training has propelled us into a higher state of readiness for all risksâ€”all hazards, be it natural or man made events.
The Fox Valley is not unique; we have villages, township’s, cities and counties that have all enhanced their planning over the years.
But we need your help too.
As you have heard the public officials telling people to be prepared, we ask that you do the same as well.
Food, medicine, clothing, flashlights, records, etc. all need to be readied for the â€œNext Event.â€
It could be a fire, flood, tornado, ice storm or man-made event that would overtax the public safety and service agencies.
Be prepared, make a plan, and get ready.
Take the responsibility for your own safety in your hands, and be prepared to help others. Take a first aid and CPR class; get your emergency supplies ready. We have friends, family and neighbors who have special needs; be prepared to help care for them as well.
We can not do this alone. Let’s help each other as we did in 2001 and 2002.
It’s the way of one nation, one community, one team, one fight.
Michael J. Fagel