Saturday, September 09, 2006

Freedom Walk 2006


I had a great night out last night. We went to Buca di Peppo last night with Lloyd and Teri for Kerry's birthday. Had lots of food burned some of it off this morning at the Freedom Walk. Essentially, Las Vegas' mayor Oscar Goodman and city councilman Larry Brown sponsored a walk at a northwest Las Vegas park in memory of the lives lost as well as the police and firefighters that responded to the events on 9/11. It wasn't a long walk but I'm pretty tired. I feel like I actually participated in something worthwhile. Talked to Oscar before and Larry after the walk while receiving some nifty items (the shirt and wristband pictured above.)

It is pretty odd thinking about the fact that it will be 5 years since then. I was actually called into work on my day off due to a major convention coming into the hotel. As we stood around waiting for the guests to arrive, I went into the break room to watch the news. About 15 minutes into the news, they broke away for a "special report" showing the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I stood there stunned. I yelled for the other guys (about 40 on staff that day) to come see what was going on. Then the second plane hit.

As stunned as we were, it took awhile for it to sink in that those guests coming for the convention weren't going to arrive. Flights canceled nationwide and people were trying to find any way to leave the city that they could. Our hotel sent people home as there wasn't any business and later cut the staff over 30%. Most of these co-workers lost their jobs for quite awhile and had to consider other means to support their families during this time. I was rather lucky. I was around #16 in seniority so they only changed my shift a little. Yet, I still remember taking up a collection for several of the other guys and even joining some that offered to cut back to 30 hours a week so no one would have to lose their job. Not everyone felt that way.

Las Vegas recovered rather quickly but it did wake me up to how vulnerable our city was. Confidence in travel safety and the economy do control our leisure dollar. In no way did this overshadow the lives lost in the air and in New York. It's sad to see that many of those responding to the call of such an emergency still suffering from lung ailments. But, I worry that someone will in retrospect say that it was the wrong decision to send recovery teams in there to save lives at the expense of their own. Thank you for putting your lives on the line for people you may not have even known. 5 years really isn't that long is it?

9 comments:

Vegas Princess said...

I can not believe it has been five years either. I wish I could have done the walk today, but we are going to the Palms Mortuary flag memorial on Monday. I thought that would be an appropriate way to remember that day. I have been thinking a lot about what happened and the events I went through (nothing like in NY but you understand). It really is amazing how all out lives could be changed in just over and hour and half.

LoraLoo said...

I was stunned to hear about all the emergency staff who responded yet survived, only to become ill and even dying. It does make sense, doesn't it? All those harmful materials floating in the air - but they were all acting on instinct, doing their job to save lives. I know none of us will ever be the same - but all those in NYC have been through something the rest of us can't even fathom.

The impact on Las Vegas fiscally was hard. Without gaming revenue, the state doesn't make money, and government services suffer. We lost quite a few jobs and are just now beginning to recover. I, too, was lucky in my seniority status. But I was sweating it for awhile.

Teri said...

Isn't strange how we always seem to remember where we were when tragic events happen? I was visitng my best friend in LA and my sister called to tell me to turn on the news. I saw my best friend the day before and was going back to see her that day but because of the flights being grounded I was worried about getting back to Vegas, so we just drove home. I didn't visit her on 9/11 and she passed away on 9/12. I am thankful that I at least got to see her on the 10th. It is such a sad day in our history, one that I feel for the nation and the people of New York and one I feel for my own personal loss.

barbara said...

Its a sobering thing to think about...hard to believe its been five years. I did a tribute on my blog, it was much more emotional for me than I imagined.

Fred said...

I was in Vegas shortly after 9/11 for my regular semi-annual visit. I remember how eerily quit it was. The dealers all told me of people losing their jobs just before I got there, some were still afraid that they would also be let go.

Flying there was even stranger. The plane was empty.

Ken said...

I have lots of little memories about that time. I was working at the Hughes Airport Center at the time and drove past the airport on my way too and from work. It was weird not to see planes taking off and landing with all the aircraft on the tarmac. I had a client in town that day (I originally heard the news from the dude at the Krispy Kreme drive-thru) and we went to dinner at the Monte Carlo - the joint was a ghost town. Finally, I had to go to Albuquerque the following Monday - the airport was kind of spooky with how empty it was.

Lucy Stern said...

I was on a plane two weeks after 9/11 and it was the scarest flight I ever took. There were three middle eastern men on the plane and One sat in the front, one in the middle, and one in the back. The door to the cockpit was locked and even the stewardess was not allowed in. The plane had only about 1/4th full and everyone on the plane stared at those three men. I almost didn't take that flight, but somthing inside of me said it was OK.

My daughter worked for the Wyndham Hotel chain here in Houston and the hotel and travel business was off for quiet a while after that fateful day. She was in management and her job was safe, but many of her friends lost there jobs.

Hopefully none of us forget where we were that day and the shock we felt over the tradegy. WE must never forget.

Tubby said...

It was uplifting to read about what Las Vegas did in memory of those who died on 9/11 and the men and women who responded to the attack.

A lot of people suffered awfully on 9/11. I see also that Las Vegas suffered economically as a result. That suffering of course doesn't amount to that of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and their close relatives and friends, but it was still serious.

BeckEye said...

I didn't watch TV at all on 9/11. But it was definitely strange being here in NY on the anniversary. So many family and friends around Ground Zero...it was sad. As I was walking in to the WTC PATH train station, I passed the beams of light that were on to represent the Twin Towers. I looked up and they were going directly into a bright, white cloud. Pretty eerie, but it actually made me smile for a second. I don't know why...I guess I felt like it was a symbol of something.