Today marks the 17th anniversary since the horrific attack on our country on that fateful Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001. I was working in Washington, DC at the time as a senior executive at the American Hospital Association and was on my way over to a meeting with state hospital association executives from around the country, when we passed by the White House and saw staff members pouring out of the building after being told to evacuate for fear that hijacked United Flight 93 was headed to Washington.
The moments following 9/11 have left a searing image in the minds of Americans across this country. It was a day that changed everything. But it was also a day that reinforced so much of what is right and what is good.
The image below was taken outside of the emergency room at the Virginia Hospital Center, a community hospital in Arlington, Virginia where many of the victims of the plane crash from the Pentagon would have been taken. Unfortunately, those victims never came because so many perished when the plane flew into the Pentagon.
When thinking back to those fateful events of 9/11, this picture is such a powerful reminder of the important role hospitals have, and will continue to play, as institutions who are always there, ready to care for the patients and communities who depend on them. It really is a promise of hope, health and healing. And it’s one we see play out every day across New Hampshire and this country as hospitals stand ready to care for those in need.
Let us pause and pay our respects to those who lost their lives on September 11, but also to thank the women and men who stood ready to care on that day and who do so every day.
Steve Ahnen is the president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association