Fifteen years ago today I remember sitting at my desk in the Local 1001 Union office which at the time was located in a high-rise building in downtown Chicago and watching the horrific and tragic events of 9/11/2001.
I can remember how at first we could not believe an airplane had hit the Twin Towers, and as we were all huddled in front of the television watching the second plane hit the building, it was surreal to say the least.
As the morning progressed we were told to evacuate the building and I remember them even telling us to not stay in the Loop because at the time they felt it was not safe. Our country was under attack and our lives would be changed forever.
Five days later as I walked into O’Hare Airport to catch one of the first flights out to attend the LiUNA Convention, I remember how eyrie it felt to be one of very few people at such a usually hectic and bustling place.
Arriving at the Convention the atmosphere was somber and I remember the faces of many of our brothers and sisters walking the halls of the Convention almost in a daze, still stunned by what had happened just days earlier.
As the Convention began our General President Terry O’Sullivan and the LiUNA Executive Board took the stage and made it clear to all the delegates who had made their way to the convention that LiUNA would be there in every way possible to help with the cleanup, rebuilding and whatever else it would take to get our country and our world back to normal.
Now more than ever being a member of a Union was important in our world to show not only as Americans but as Union members we would stand together and support all those who needed our assistance.
I remember walking out of the convention hall and standing in the middle of Las Vegas boulevard and there was not a car in site. A town that for the most part was alive and kicking 24/7 had been paralyzed but inside the LiUNA Convention that was not the case. Inside the hall that week men and women, brothers and sisters, came together to remember those who lost their lives and those who lost loved ones on 9/11 but we also left there knowing that Our Union was strong and nothing would ever stop LiUNA from its mission for Justice Honor and Strength for our members and for our country.
As we reach the 15 year mark of such a tragic event let us Never Forget the men and women who lost their lives that day and the men and women who stepped up and helped our country and our world get back what might have otherwise been lost that day.
To the first responders, to our military, to all those who helped in the clean up and rebuilding after 9/11 WE WILL NEVER FORGET.