We each remember where we were on September 11, 2001. Ironically the numbers 911 used to summon emergency help came to life that day.
I was the Nurse Manager of a busy medical surgical unit at the VA Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. I was in my office when a nurse ran in and said, “Come quick.”
I jumped, thinking a patient had crashed. But she followed with, “Look at the tv in the break room.” I heard the horrifying news as many others had — by tv.
Hardly had I had enough time to process what was happening when I was called to the phone. My boss told me to operationalize the disaster plan.
The disaster plan was something we had rehearsed on a regular basis, but staff almost went to sleep during the mandatory reviews. After all, we never thought we would actually have to use it.
The other chilling reminder we got that day was that the VA was a backup to the military.
Since it was unclear what had happened or what was about to happen, we were told to prepare for any extra patients that might arrive … either fresh casualties or more stable patients moved from other parts of the country to decompress areas that needed room to treat mass casualties.
There were no cell phones then. We had to stay off the phones, so all communication channels could remain open.
Therefore, we were in a lockdown where we could not communicate with our families. Everyone quietly went about doing their assigned tasks, while periodically checking the tv and awaiting the next updates from my supervisor.
We did not receive casualties or extra patients from the outside, but there was a casualty from the inside.
When I returned to my office, one of the nurses was waiting. She was a wonderful nurse and a true team player, liked and respected by all. But that day, she was crying and shaking all over.
In the midst of carrying out her duties during this crisis, her life was threatened. Later she would find out her husband and children’s lives had also been threatened.
Why? Their skin tone, manner of dressing and slight accent revealed their heritage. They were originally from the Middle East.
In a matter of hours, they, who had nothing to do with the horrible crimes committed that day, became victims of what became a growing wave of hate.
Jesus understood. He saw some of the same people He had seen waving on Palm Sunday calling for His Death on Friday.
I will share the rest of the story in my part two post.