Good afternoon and welcome to our Weekend Update.
Yesterday, we paused to observe the 20th anniversary of the tragedies of 9/11, and Shelley and I want to join you in prayer and remembrance for the individuals we lost that tragic day. We remember and pray for the families of those we lost. We thank and recognize the countless first responders who bravely rushed into burning buildings to save lives and those who dug through debris and rubble desperately trying to save lives. We also pay tribute to the brave American soldiers who put their lives on the line, some paying the ultimate price in defense of our nation.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I, like you, remember it was a gorgeous morning. I kissed my wife and three-year-old daughter, Jacqueline, goodbye. I drove my seven-year-old daughter, Caroline, to school. I recall arriving at work, and within minutes was informed a plane hit a World Trade Center tower. Joined by a group in my office, we watched the horrific scenes unfold. We closed down Pride Mobility at noon and encouraged our people to go home to their families. That night, I finally connected with a good lifelong friend, New York police officer Tom Lowney, and discussed what I could do to help. He called me the next day and asked if we could bring some of our scooters to Ground Zero for use. The next day, I drove a truck filled with about twelve scooters into Manhattan.
At the time, I never asked why they needed them; I just acted. I later found that the Pride scooters were not required for the injured, as they weren't recovering injured. Instead, these scooters were for the firefighters and police supervisors to make the rounds at Ground Zero. Many of these supervisors were on the job 24 hours a day.
When we made it down to the site, it was the worst scene imaginable. There was an awful stench and soot in the air. I'll never forget. However, what sticks out in my memory, even more were the large crowds lining the street leading to Ground Zero. The crowds were cheering the first responders, firefighters, police, and volunteers going back and forth. These patriotic Americans were there in the mornings through 11 p.m. when we left. The flags, banners, blessings, thanks, and encouraging voices were so inspiring. Americans, and undoubtedly many others from around the world, from every walk of life, stood together UNITED behind our nation. They had confidence our country would make it through this tragedy.