I wrote this two years ago on the 20th anniversary of The Day of Infamy and I think it bears repeating.
Today being the twentieth anniversary of a day of infamy, when our country was attacked, my mind has been concentrating on where I was and what I was doing at that time.
I was at work at VA Lakeside Medical Center in downtown Chicago taking care of veterans sent to me for testing. I distinctly remember one patient was waiting outside my laboratory watching a small television while I was setting up the equipment for his scheduled test. The door was open, and I heard the news that America had been attacked in New York City’s twin towers, the Pentagon, and flight 93. I quickly walked in to see the report as it unfolded. The rest of the floor was quiet where I was. I then immediately call the Assistant Chief of Medicine and told him. The hospital went on immediate lock-down with security and police being called. I remember that we were instructed NOT to use the elevators as we were not sure if Chicago would also be attacked. Those patients who could walk, were instructed to go down to the main floor using the stairs and wait there for further instructions. The rest of the staff stayed with patients who could not be moved. I remember that day as almost being surreal. So many veterans during their military service repeatedly had risked their lives to keep Americans safe and subsequently suffered bodily injury and emotional distress afterwards.
In the following years, PTSD symptoms became more common among some of the veterans being treated in VA hospitals, especially after witnessing that infamous attack on our soil.