Two weekends ago, I took my LSAT. By the way, I think I did pretty well on it. Anyways, after my exam was done, I went out with my senior friends to the city to "hangout." It was a much needed day out to let out all my LSAT stress. I didn't get back to my room until 3am in the morning. I got back to my dorm only to shower and get ready again to head back into the city with my team to volunteer. Throughout the season, my coaching staff arranges community service events for my team and I to get involved in. It's mandatory--not that I mind. However, this one sucked a little just because I was running on empty since I hadn't slept in over 24 hours. Even with the lack of sleep, I found a way to have a positive attitude going back into the city. I treated that Sunday morning just like any other morning. I made my bed, put a smile on, and kept an open mind. I knew what we were volunteering for was extraordinary because we had done the same thing last year. The event was called Tunnel to Towers...and it sure was a memorable day.
Here's a little background information about Tunnel to Towers. On September 11, 2001, Stephen Siller, a 34 year old man, had just ended a late shift at Squad 1, Park Slope, Brooklyn. He was on his way home to play golf with his brothers when he saw on his scanner that the first Tower had been hit by a plane. Mr. Siller called his wife and told her to tell his brothers that he would meet up with them later, and turned around to go get his gear. On his way to the city, he attempted to take the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel but it had closed. He made a decision to leave his car in the tunnel and strapped on 60 lbs. of gear to his back. He rushed on foot through traffic only to lose his life while saving others. On his road to legacy, he left behind a great wife, five wonderful children, a beautiful family and friends. As a result of his courageous journey to save lives, the Tunnel to Towers was created in his honor. Tunnel to Towers is a 5k run or walk in honor of Stephen Siller and the other hundreds of brave men and women who lost their lives that day.
That Sunday morning, we arrived at the volunteer station around 6am. They gave us long sleeves and tags that noted that we were volunteers. They stationed us near Battery Park, where the Twin Towers once stood. It was also the finish line for the race. I couldn't have dreamed of a better place to have been positioned. It was extremely touching. My team and I were in a straight horizontal line waving our flags and cheering on the participants. We saw everything! Those who participated varied from veterans of war, families of those who lost someone on 9/11 or throughout the War on Terror; friends of families who had lost someone; people who supported the cause; children to army cadets. To see so many different people there warmed my heart. People came from all over the country to either participate in the race or cheer the participants on. Days like that reassures me that our country is truly a great place. In comparison to what is going on nationwide, experiencing something like that is such a cathartic feeling.
My favorite part of the whole event was the army cadets. These people were my age, a little bit younger and a little bit older. They were hundreds upon hundreds of them. They were running, singing, chanting, and smiling. Never in my life have I ever seen a group of people who were so proud to be an American. That moment instilled something in me that day. I don't know how to explain the moment in words, but I think about those army cadets everyday. These army cadets have made the decision to serve their country--fully aware of what the consequences may be. They were so young, yet so bold. They were so fervent about their purpose. Granted, even though you are in the army doesn't mean you are automatically in great shape. Those who were struggling to keep up with their fellow cadets were not forgotten. I would constantly see one cadet pulling another to stay with them. Or, I would constantly see two cadets running but one's arm was wrapped around the other as if he/she was holding on to dear life. Although the other cadet was tired himself and the extra weight did not alleviate the exhaustion. However, the cadet assisted the other cadet as if that was his own blood. Whether they knew each other is beyond me. Viewing such deeds put a lot things in perspective for me. It changed my mind sight on a lot of things. I'm sure if you saw what we saw, you would say the same thing.
My season is fast approaching. Tip off is November 14th! It couldn't have been a better experience for my team to have witnessed. It showed strength. It showed toughness. It showed family. It showed collaboration. It showed everything. In that one day, I learned so much. I was so fortunate to have gone. People think you get inspired solely through readings and meeting inspirational people. Not really. You can get inspired anywhere by anything. It could be a picture. It could be an animal. It could be the sky. That's why it is important to keep an open mind! You can find something in anything when your mind is willing to be receptive to everything you are exposed to.