Tuesday, September 11, 2001. A friend called and awakened me with the news—a plane had just crashed into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Hours later, after finally waking up, I absorbed the images on the television of the twin towers crumbling to the ground, the plane crash in the field of Pennsylvania, and the devastation that occurred at the Pentagon. Living in Virginia at the time, I became quite frightened as to what laid ahead in the near future and how this would forever impact our country.
Three years passed, and I just completed my first internship in hospital chaplaincy and was preparing to do another one. Furthermore, during my first unit of hospital chaplaincy training, I learned about and fell in love with CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) training as well as working in codes and the trauma bay. Where else could I experience the thrill of the intensity of working with various individuals in the crisis moment? Suddenly, I came across the book God @ Ground Zero written by Ray Giunta. In this non-fiction account, “Chaplain Ray” shares his journey of various encounters at the Ground Zero site and how he ministers to the victims, families, and responders. After reading this book, Ray’s testimony inspired me to further develop my crisis intervention skills and to apply them in areas outside the hospital.
Where were you on 9/11? How did this incident impact you personally? How did it change your skills or personae as a caregiver?
May we take some time over the next few days to reflect on the events that unfolded ten years ago and all the victims, families, and responders involved. Whether directly or indirectly impacted, we will always remember how September 11th has forever changed our lives.