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?