On this 8th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, across America people will stop and reflect on where they were, what they were doing and how their lives changed because of the events of that tragic day. As someone who has had the privilege of watching up close America’s response to the events of that day, I know we are much safer as a Nation than we were then – and I know that we are still highly vulnerable. That is a reality that we may never be able to change, try as we might.
Whenever that next “bad day” event occurs, it is NOT the US Department of Homeland Security that will be the first to arrive at the scene. It will be the local first responders – police, fire, emergency medical and rescue personnel – who will be there first.
While there is a whole lot more rhetoric about these brave men and women than there is in-person expressions of appreciation, in some community churches, civic organizations, school children and ordinary citizens are taking action today to say “thanks.” They have decided that a good way to express their gratitude is to “Adopt-A-Station” and deliver a home-made meal (comfort food in every sense of that term) to their local fire and police stations. What a wonderful idea!
I first heard about this from a church group in Birmingham, Alabama – far from the sites of the terrorist attacks – but a community that cares deeply about the values that define America to the world. For several years this Baptist church, located in the appropriately named Liberty Park community, has delivered home-made casseroles, salads, desserts and freshly-cooked vegetables to those who make their community safer.
But they are not alone. In Northern Virginia, the West Springfield High School Interact Club (a Rotary sponsored organization) has adopted the police and fire station a block away from their school. And I am aware there is strong interest in Southern California where the recent wildfires have stretched to the limit the abilities of local firefighters.
Whatever we do at the local community level to express our appreciation for the readiness and willingness of first responders to go into the midst of the attack zone will likely be appreciated by them. They deserve our recognition and respect.
Adopt-A-Station is an outstanding way to say “thanks.” Let’s hope the idea catches on and that next year on this day every fire and police station in America has a tangible expression of gratitude from the people in the communities they serve.