September 11, 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the devastating attacks that forever changed the course of American history. Our members reflect on the impact that day had on them both personally and professionally. Ken Lyons is an Emergency Medical Service specialist in Washington, D.C. and president of AFGE Local 1721, whose members include some of the first responders to the Pentagon attack.
It was a beautiful day. For me it was pretty typical on the professional front. I had just taken a cardiac patient to the hospital. I was filling out paperwork and heard the television the background. When I heard on the news about the World Trade Center I turned my attention to the television – and saw the smoking plane in tower two. Right at that moment we got a call to go to a pregnant woman was in labor. We got her in the ambulance but ended up delivering the baby. On that day several of our AFGE EMS workers, part of a special unit trained for such occurrences, were dispatched to the Pentagon. The workers told me most of the survivors from the attack had “ghost eyes” – they were in total shock and surprise. I was proud of the AFGE members who served as first responders at the Pentagon. I will always carry the ironic memory of that beautiful, perfect day…a day I helped deliver a new life into the world – a world that for all of us was forever changed.