By Nicole Henry, Contributing Writer
September 11, 2001 is the date that changed America forever.
People all around the United States woke up to what they thought would be a regular day; a regular day of getting their kids ready for school, making their coffee, and heading off to work. There was no thought in their minds that their life would change in a matter of seconds. Even the little ones, whose innocent minds never even thought of tragedy ever unfolding before their eyes, but in seconds that all changed.
From the oldest to the youngest, one could remember exactly where they were and what they were doing at the time the two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center. Terrorists known as al-Qaeda hijacked four planes and destroyed the city of New York. Not only did they destroy the towers in New York City, but a plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C and another crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. The results of this attack were devastating. According to history.com, “Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than 400 police officers and firefighters. September 11, 2001, was the deadliest day in history of New York City firefighters”. 125 military personnel and civilians were killed in the Pentagon, along with all 64 people aboard the airliner. Due to this tragedy, there needed to be people that could help counsel those who have witnessed these events. One of those counselors was our very own West Liberty University Professor Sheli Bernstein-Goff.
On the day of 9/11 Bernstein-Goff was awakened by a phone call from her sister asking, “Have you seen what happened in New York?” She then turned on the television and Bernstein-Goff’s reaction was, “I knew there was a massive problem.” Her job was in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), which are first responders to counsel after a major tragedy. Later on one of her agencies called her in to counsel and her first response was no. Not because she did not want to, but after finding out about the Pentagon, she wanted to make sure she found her sons. Both of her sons worked near the vicinity of the Pentagon. Luckily, one of the sons stayed home sick that day and the other one, who saw everything that happened, was safe from harm. After she found her sons, the next day she packed up and headed to New York to be a counselor. “My job is CISM, which are first responders that counsel civilians and survivors to keep them as functional as possible, and help them transform back to a normal state,” said Bernstein-Goff. Bernstein-Goff was in New York counseling for a month. She was amazed at the people who had to deal with this tragedy. “I don’t think what I did was amazing because I was able to go home afterwards, but those people had to live everyday with what happened,” said Bernstein-Goff.
It has been over a decade since this tragedy has taken place and now there is life and hope back in the city of New York. Even though we cannot bring those innocent lives back, we can have a memoir of them.
There is a 9/11 Memorial in remembrance of the men and women killed in the attacks on September 11th. The memorial consists of two pools of water with waterfalls within them. These pools sit on the ground where the twin towers once stood. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools as an unforgettable reminder of the largest loss of life stemming from foreign attacks on American soil and the greatest loss of rescue personnel in American history. We should always remember and honor this day in history because with honor comes appreciation. Even though these people are gone, their names and heroic spirit will be forever in our hearts.