9.11.2014

n i n e - e l e v e n

September 11, 2001  - probably the most emotional day in history and to remember for any American. Although this day marks much animosity, hurt, distrust, confusion, anger, and I'll even say hate - it is also a day to remember our heroes.  The fallen heroes of that day in history. 
September 11, 2001, was the deadliest day in history for New York City firefighters: 343 were killed.  
I often forget the gravity of my husbands job.  What is expected of him.  What he is held accountable for.  Responsibilities, ideas, and respect for his line of work.  He's run into burning buildings more times than he can count.  Been on the front end of the nozzle fighting the heat away from his melting face-mask, been on the back of the truck controlling the water feed to the guys fighting inside, drives the ambulance (he's also a medic), commands fire scenes, runs accident triage..and yes, has rescued a cat or two from a tree (<-- not kidding).
This job isn't a 9-5, thats for sure.

I'll never forget that morning of 9/11/01.  I was getting ready for school, doing my hair actually, listening to Kidd Kraddick on the radio.  They were in the middle of the humorous bit, when silence came over the radio and the words: 'the towers have been hit by a plane.'  I thought it was a joke, but they kept saying it over and over again.  I walked into the living room to see my mom and brother glued to the television.
My dad was there.  In New York.  He had left the day before on business, hosting meetings just a few blocks from the Twin Towers.  He said later that when the towers were hit that it brought everyone standing to their knees.  
Literally.

This has always been an emotional day for me.  It brings me to tears just thinking about the events, the city, the victims, and the people that served.  When Jordan came to me to tell me he was able to snag a spot in the Dallas 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, I was elated.  This was a huge deal.

It is not a race, but rather a tribute honoring the sacrifices of fallen heroes -  fulfilling a promise to "NEVER FORGET" their brothers and sisters who have died in the line of duty that day.  Slots for the event are open to 343 firefighters, 70 law enforcement officers and 9 EMTs (the number of firefighters/law enforcement/EMTs that were killed at Ground Zero with the collapse of the Twin Towers) and those 400+ service men and women climb 110 floors (the height of the former World Trade Center Twin Towers).

   Last weekend we loaded the truck up bright and early with our sleepy bears, and headed out to Dallas (about a 45 minutes trip).  When we arrived, the scene of participants was already overwhelming me with emotions.  I never thought myself to be so super emotional about this date in history and what it means - I can't even say that I cried in 2001, although I'm sure there were tears.  

But today, I am.  
headwraps / ruby blue inc.

 Seeing Jordan 'bunk out' in his gear nearly put me over the edge, and the climb was still a couple hours away from starting.  
Look at him.  How can you not be proud?  He's my husband, father to my girls, and serviceman to thousands. Look what he does.
His accomplishments are a mile long.
Halfway through these pictures I realized that Parker and Jolie has never actually seen their daddy in his uniform. Sure, they've seen the official blue work pants, black boots, and navy polo - but never full fire gear.  They couldn't take his eyes off him.  The curiosity of a 21 month old is off the charts when they see their daddy with the most amazing hat on his head. 

 Being on the fire department is a family affair for these Massey men.  Jordan's dad is also a fireman - has over 35 years of service with the Irving Fire Department.  He's now is in the Alarm Office, which is run by the department in Irving, so if you happen to call 911, Jordan's dad just might be the one to answer.  
He climbed on this morning, too.
 ...and Josh.  Jordan's cousin.  Also a firefighter in Irving. 
 Probably the best family photo to date.  I absolutely love everything about this picture.  
Our heroes.
 The Renaissance Tower in downtown Dallas.  This building is only 55 stories (only).  The Twin Towers were double at 110 - if that gives you any perspective on the trials of the climb that day in 2001.  The climbers climb the 55 stories, take the elevator down to the bottom, and do it again. 
 Leading up to the actual climb was about an hour's worth of commencement ceremonies, moments of silence, and chilling speeches and music in remembrance of what this climb symbolizes. 
 I'll say it again - more than proud of this guy.  I bawled all day long.  I couldn't help myself.  
It's about that time..Leaving us for just a couple hours, but only with a promised return at the end.  I was choked up just thinking about those individuals that made panic phone calls that morning to their loved ones to tell them goodbye. 
All climbers wear the name and picture of the hero they are climbing for. 
Jordan climbed for Captain Walter Hynes of Ladder Co. 13. 
 The firefighters participating in this event reenacted those men and women that climbed the stairs of the 110 story buildings in their forty to sixty pounds of personal protective gear (bunker gear) PLUS twenty to thirty pounds of additional firefighting equipment.  

 Keeping it in the family.
Right to Left: Roy (Jordan's dad), Brian (cousin), Jordan, and Josh (cousin)
Such a power house of a picture.  These guys.  My heart swells to know them.
 Prior to walking into the tower to ascend the climb, each of the climbers shook the hands of actually servicemen and women that were there that day.  
 There was also a piece of steel (rubble) from Ground Zero.  Walking past this memorial gave me chills as if to have seen a ghost.
josh | roy | brian

 Lined up and ready.  Let me just tell you - it was sweltering hot and humid.  I can't imagine what it was like for those guys carrying and wearing their gear.
 In between all this, there were potty breaks.  About 847 of them and zero accidents.  Parker will actually go in the big potty..Jolie will not.  So, we brought the little potty for her.  I'll spare you a picture of that:)  
 During the climb we were able to watch video of the participants in real time as they made their way up to the 54th floor (they started in the basement).  There is a glare on the photo, but that is Jordan leaning over the stairs on the top right of the screen.
 He was taking this picture of his Dad and his cousin right behind him.  These guys climbed the entire way together.  When one stopped, the other three stopped as well.  When one couldn't carry their air packs, they carried it for him. 
Brotherhood defined.
Jordan sent me a few pictures here and there to keep me posted on what flight they were on, and especially to let me know he and his dad were still okay up there.  Roy fell off a latter a couple months ago - breaking his back and first rib, and well as tearing his rotator cuff.  He is still recovering from the injuries and has yet to have surgery on his shoulder.  
Meanwhile - the carnival of activities across the street were much appreciate by Parker and Jolie.  The balloons and pink plastic fire hats were a favorite.
 shorts / curly q's counter // moccasins / freshly picked
 It was a long morning.  It felt like 3pm when really it was just after 10:30am.. the emotions and events and the very early morning made the day seem much longer than it actually was.  The girls were real troopers through the entire thing.  Never once complained, fussed, or whined.  But they were exhausted and napped for the last hour or so.
 Thankful for Aunt Sherrye (Roy's sister) to help with the baby load.
 Finally I got word these guys were coming out.  It was 11:36am
 2.5 hours into the climb
 2 generations of heroes right there.

 Every firefighter that walked out before them, Parker and Jolie shook their feet in excitement, only to realize it wasn't daddy and Poppa.
This time, it was.
 Of course there were the after climb photo-ops.  DRENCHED in sweat (and a few tears) - these guys finished with smiles.
 Whew.  Ya'll.  MY man.



After the climb was the annual Brotherhood Bash- and of course we were ALL starving.  I got minimal pictures of the event.. I was emotionally spent and exhausted (and I can't imagine how Jordan and his dad felt), and ready to focus on my food.
BUT this sweet one was putting her face on for all to swoon.
There was a photo booth, and we almost didnt take part.  BUT - hello.  I am so glad we did.
 Raising our glass to not only the 343 fallen firefighters, but also the 70 law enforcement officers and 9 medical technicians that served our country that morning. 

What an emotional day.  I am still reveling in everything that the day represented and stood for.
In appreciation of the climb, we opened a donation page in honor - and all proceeds go to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Donate HERE

KLTY is a local Christian radio station here in the Dallas metroplex - located in Irving - and they interviewed Jordan among other climbers on that morning of the climb.  After speaking to Jordan, they secretly decided to show appreciation to Jordan and his guys at the fire station earlier this week, and it was captured all on video.
THANK you Frank for making this guy so excited.  We love ya'll!

I also want to thank you.  Thank you for the love and support you showed my family on Saturday.  It is a strange thing, that social media, but I am so thankful.

Always remember 9.11.01  


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15 comments:

The Yarbrough's said...

Great post!!! Very sweet. Thanks for sharing.

Sooo thankful for heros like your husband and his dad.

southernlyeverafter said...

Rarely does a blog post move me to tears, but I cried the whole time reading this! Thank you to your husband for his service and to you and your family for being the support behind them.

Also - love the pic of Jolie raising her cup with everyone! Priceless!

Liz/ said...

This post was so, so great and gave me chills throughout the entire thing! Thank You for sharing and thank your husband for what he does....such an Amazing tribute!

Kelly Kitchens said...

Amber, what Liz said...wow....this post gave me chills. I'm SO glad Jordan and his family were able to get spots in this climb. I did a similar climb in Austin TX this past Sunday alongside firemen/women in their gear. I was in my cute workout clothes and drenched in sweat - I can't imagine what they were experiencing with all the gear on, too. What a great cause and great reminder. Thanks for sharing your experience with us :)

Kara said...

So so cool! I had no idea they did these types of things but what a way to honor the fallen. Thanks to your husband and dad and cousins for serving in this way!

Dana said...

Awesome post. Thank you for sharing and to your husband for what he does for so many.

Jen V. said...

Best.post.ever! Hats off to your hubby and father-in-law! Thank God for our firefighters!

Blair Smith said...

Tears are flowing. My dad is a city firefighter for Williamsport, PA and my husband is a Paramedic. The whole time I read this I thought of them. Thanks so much for sharing. God bless <3

Kristy @ Rejoice and Repeat said...

As the wife of a firefighter I shared the same sentiments. I'm so blessed and I try to never take for granted everyday the Lord returns him safely to me.

Ms. Rhodes said...

Amber, you don't know me, but I taught Jordan when he was in middle school. He was precious then, and he's precious now. I'm so thankful for your blog. It makes me so proud to see what a good man he is, although I had no doubt he would turn out like this. He loves the Lord, he loves you and he loves those adorable little girls you have. I get to see him from time to time when he comes to my school to do fire drills and it makes my heart happy to know that I was blessed to know the Massey family. Thank you for your blog. What a sweet family you have!

Caitlin Comfort said...

What an awesome event! God bless you and your family :)

Nicole Conte said...

I was in tears reading this. I am also the insanely proud wife of a firefighter and I also at times forget just how big his career really is. Everything takes on a whole new meaning now that our girls are here with us. I can't wait to show them what a hero their Daddy is. God Bless you guys!

Lara said...

Thank you for sharing these moments with us. We are truly blessed to have people like your husband to serve in those roles.

Leslie Lukens Martin said...

Wow! What an incredible post...I had tears in my eyes as I read, so I can't begin to fathom the emotions you must have been feeling that day. Thank you for sharing this post...a true tribute to the lives lost on 9/11/2001 as well as all current firefighters/police officers selflessly protecting others!

And those precious girls...absolutely A-DOR-able!

joe fanning said...

Capt. Hynes is my brother-in-law. Thank you so much for remembering him and all the other victims of that terrible day. My families love to you and your family.

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