I don’t make it a secret that I’m a history buff. I was one of those people in school who ruined the grading curve for everyone else in history class. It’s a subject that has always fascinated me and I never get tired of learning more.
This weekend, the television was on and I realized that I’ve lived through a moment in history. September 11 is a date that most Americans, and probably a lot of other people around the world, are very familiar with. I think most people who were alive during the events of September 11, 2001 remember vividly what they were doing that day when they first heard that the airplanes had hit the Twin Towers in New York City. At the time when it happened, I knew that it had changed our country, and the world, but I didn’t realize how deeply and profoundly that change would happen. The way that people travel alone has been completely altered from the events of that day.
Since I teach young children, it wasn’t long before I started having kids in class who had never lived in a world where the Twin Towers still stood and people didn’t have to worry about terrorists on airplanes. Now, most teachers have classes of students who don’t remember the events of that day first hand. For them, it’s a day in history that’s hard to comprehend in the way that those of us who witnessed it and lived through that time do. It’s much like Pearl Harbor Day, which my grandparents often spoke about with a certain somber tone that I didn’t understand as a child. I understood that it was the reason our country entered the stage of World War II, but I didn’t appreciate the horror and cost of human life that happened at the time.
Fortunately for my grandparents, the world was a different place back then. They had news to watch and listen to, certainly, but I don’t think the horrors of the event were played over and over for them the way 9/11 was for us in modern times. News was distributed differently then. I admit that it is still difficult for me to watch a lot of the footage from the terror attacks of 9/11, but I think that’s also proof that I’m still human and not hardened by the cruelties of the world.
September 11 was a change in history for us personally, too. My husband was fascinated by the search and rescue dogs working the scene of the Twin Towers as they looked for survivors and victims to bring closure to families who knew their loved ones had been there that day. Another thing that’s hard to believe is that none of the dogs who became known through that day are still with us. The two guide dogs who led their owners out of one tower to safety have passed away. A bomb sniffing dog on duty died when the towers collapsed. And the youngest of the search dogs who worked the scene is no longer with us, either, after passing away from old age. It’s another era of the disaster that is closed, but hopefully not forgotten.
I recall a lot of stories about Roselle, the Yellow Lab who led her owner to safety through the stairwells of Tower 1 and I wonder if, years from now, people will write history posts about Roselle or Salty for people who may have forgotten a lot of the details of the day. Bretagne, a Golden Retriever with the distinction of being the last surviving SAR dog from that day might also be remembered later on.
The events of that day are what led Mr. Taleteller to look for a K9 partner to work with and brought Küster into our lives. Even though he was born years after the events of that day, he wouldn’t be in our lives if it hadn’t happened. Before that, my husband had dreamed of working as a police officer with a K9 partner, but hadn’t had luck being hired by a police department. His job that pays the bills is still in the field of law enforcement, but it’s not one where he would have the opportunity to work with a dog. I know he finds a lot of fulfillment in working with Küster and I am proud of both of them for following their calling.
Even though 9/11 was a sad event for our country, I look back on it and realize that a lot of good came from it. I think we became more patriotic as a nation after that day. For all the horrible things that happened from a few deranged people, so many other people stood up and showed their best as they found ways to help and heal our country. There were also a lot of dogs who did their best for us and I hope that we never forget what they did for us. We are incredibly lucky that dogs love us the way they do and show that they will give their best for us, and that sometimes we get to see it in action. There will be other infamous days in history, and I hope that they continue to bring out the best in humans and dogs.