On September 11, 2011 it will be 10 years since our country was viciously attacked by terrorists and thousands of innocent people were killed in New York City, Washington D.C. and a vacant field in Pennsylvania. There will be memorial services during that weekend honoring those that perished, highlighted by the dedication of a museum and monument in New York City where the twin towers once proudly stood. I can only hope that these events will offer some closure for the families of the victims.
I can recall vividly where I was that fateful day, September 11, 2001. I was a supervisor in the Narcotics Bureau, assigned to a Federal anti-Money Laundering Task Force. My squad was on surveillance in Miramar when the news began filtering through on the radio of the attacks. We all gathered around our vehicles parked in a shopping center listening to the radio reports in stunned silence. I and another officer walked over to a Checkers Drive-In Restaurant which had an American flag flying from a thirty foot high pole. We lowered it to half-mast. I knew instinctively that America, as I knew it, would be changed forever. I also had a sense of foreboding as well. I realized my son, a Captain in the Army at the time, would be going to war, something every parent who have children in the military dreads.
A few weeks after 9-11, I was part of a contingent of Miami-Dade and Miami P.D. officers who traveled to New York City to provide assistance in the recovery efforts at “Ground Zero” We spent 8 days, volunteering our own time, to give aid to our fellow NYPD and FDNY brothers. Being there was indescribable. I had seen the news reports and video, but actually being on site was overwhelming and humbling. We spent time both at the WTC and the land fill where tons of debris was deposited. To this day I often remember the images of people we encountered and the family members we talked with. It was an extremely tough and emotional time working along side officers and firefighters who had lost family and friends. Although this was a tragedy of the highest magnitude, it brought out some of the greatest display of teamwork, loyalty, and friendship among our group I ever encountered in my 35 plus years in law enforcement. As I close, let us NEVER forget what happened that fateful day ten years ago. I proudly salute my fellow officers who made the trip with me and humbly remember my brethren with the NYPD and the FDNY, God Bless America!!
By Sgt. William J. Turner, Miami-Dade P.D. (Retired)
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