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TSA Remembers 9/11: Stories From Our Workforce

Posted by Blogger Bob, TSA

Each individual employee’s personal story is priceless to our legacy. It’s important for an agency to know how far they’ve come and who has helped pave the way. TSA’s Historian Project realized the importance of this and built an online tool called StoryLine to capture these stories. StoryLine allows our employees to share their stories via an internal page viewable by all TSA and DHS employees. The first installment of StoryLine stories are centered on 9/11 and how the day inspired people to make the decision to work for TSA.

The stories posted were so good that we wanted to share some of them with our readers. Here are few excerpts:
“I mostly remember the flags that clear bright September day. I know that sounds odd, and I should have remembered something more striking or sacred, or feelings of vengeance perhaps, but the flags spoke and expressed my feelings in a way I could not.” (Read the entire story)
“Grey concrete dust was thick, covering every surface including the trees and sound was muffled by the virtual insulation which was maybe six inches deep. The scene was surreal.” (Read the entire story)
“We asked the photographers to help us dig. To their credit they put their cameras down and helped us. We went to an NYPD emergency truck that was blown sideways like a toy. We grabbed some shovels and pickaxes and dug frantically until we realized the futility of it.” (Read the entire story)
“When the first tower collapsed it was so surreal. This wasn't happening, I had to leave and go home. When the second tower collapsed I felt emptiness, a disconnection from my husband. I waited by the phone to hear from my husband.... The only communication was from our cable TV. Friends and neighbor would stop by, hoping that my husband would call.” (Read the entire story)
“Being an Army-trained Combat Lifesaver, I immediately ran toward the destruction – as so many of us did. Rendering emergency first aid, carrying casualties, everything and anything to help in this disaster is what we did.  For 22 straight hours, we did whatever we could on that HeliPad.” (Read the entire story)
“Germany became hauntingly quiet. A despondency swept the nation. German nationals stopped Americans on the street to shake their hands and offer condolences… often without words. Yet language differences did not inhibit understanding.” (Read the entire story)
“We were assigned a photography mission to further document the devastation. I nearly became fixated while circling in a steep bank to allow a State Police photographer to document the core of the destruction. The sight was, at once, exhilarating, mesmerizing and woeful. To know what had been there, and to now see into the bowels of the Trade Center’s core was overwhelming. I had to fight myself back into reality and remember I was piloting a helicopter in extreme conditions at low level!!”  (Read the entire story)

We selected a total of 28 stories to share from all across the US and surrounding territories. You can read the rest of the stories here. I could go on about how these stories are examples of the patriotism and  dedication our employees share for TSA’s mission, but I think the stories will speak for themselves.

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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