The IAEI Northwestern Section Annual meeting was in progress on September 11, 2001, when the attack on America occurred. That date will remain imprinted on our minds, and the mental images of the crash of the airliners into the World Trade Center and the subsequent collapse of the two buildings are still vivid. The initial shock and the following realization of what had actually occurred in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, and in a rural area of Pennsylvania, had an immediate impact on the feelings of those attending the section meeting. Recognizing that foreign terrorists had actually attacked the United States and seeing the destruction of those buildings brought stark reality into focus. The somber mood that followed drained many of the desire to continue the meeting, but the strength and resolve of those present overcame the shock and with that came the recognition that in order for America to maintain its freedom and its quality of life, we must continue to move forward.
Meeting planners had worked hard to prepare for the meeting. Many attended to participate in training sessions in order to earn continuing education credits. Others were there to assist in providing valuable information for those attending. Canceling the meeting based on the terrorist attack on the United States would have been a disservice to those who had made the effort to attend.
The IAEI Western Section meeting followed the Northwestern Section meeting and those attendees were also deeply affected by the attack. While some were not able to attend the Western Section meeting, many made other travel arrangements in order to attend even though their scheduled flights were canceled. This resulted in some having to travel long distances over a short period of time but this was just a demonstration of the American will to persevere during severe trials. Clearly, this nation must not let those who want to destroy it win by giving up on what we know must and should be done.
Electrical inspectors are dedicated to saving lives and they recognize and honor the dedication and conduct of firefighters, police officers, and others who placed the importance of saving other people above the risk to their own lives.
The death of firefighters, police officers, medical personnel, and others who perished in the collapsed buildings is a loss that is difficult to accept, but one cannot help but be filled with pride in this country and its people.
The United States has survived many tragedies and it is primarily because brave and honorable individuals have put their lives on the line to fight for the principles upon which this country stands.
It is heartening to hear and see the reaction of people from other countries in their expression of sorrow for the victims and of support for the United States. This was evident during the IAEI Canadian Section meeting in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Not only was it a voiced support but it was also one of action. The Ontario Chapter elected to make a donation to one of the relief funds established following the disaster. In addition, the chapter challenged other organizations represented at the Canadian Section meeting to follow its example and also give to aid those affected.
Deep feelings for victims of the terrorist attack and those affected by it were common with the people in the three section meetings. Heartfelt prayers were offered for those who perished or were injured, for their families and friends, for the President, and for all others directly or indirectly affected by the tragedy.
The response of citizens of the United States to the terrible incident of September 11, 2001, should make us all proud to be Americans. U.S. citizens should also appreciate others who are standing with us as well as we enter this war against terrorism. This tragedy has brought about a re-examination of the extensive freedoms enjoyed by people in North America and the quality of life we enjoy and have sometimes taken for granted. Let us join in working together to maintain those great benefits made possible by those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Let us also be diligent to support those who are presently involved in ensuring the freedom and protection of all Americans.