Walking through Times Square I stumbled upon six or seven buses on both sides of the Marriott Marquis Hotel. I thought it was strange because I knew it couldn't be tourists (the area is still deserted) or a trip to Atlantic City. And then it dawned on me. These were the buses taking our heroes home. Nurses and hospital workers who came to our aid when we needed them most. They were modest as they boarded buses for parts unknown.
The Mayor was nowhere in sight. Neither was the governor. Just a handful of people holding up signs covered with hearts that read, "Thank You," "Grateful," and "U R Warriors." They were not about to let them leave without a full-throttled salute.
It reminded us of a similar scene not too long ago when we encountered another group of health professionals in Times Square who were being honored by their peers, posing for photos with police and firemen. I snapped a few pictures that day, even though I could tell they didn't want the attention. But the nearby fire trucks and police cars with their sirens blaring and lights flashing made sure that was not going to happen.
And in both cases, they were gone. Like soldiers heading home after battle. I don't know any of their names but I'm sure I speak for all New Yorkers when I say Thank You! You helped us in our darkest hours and your bravery will never be forgotten!
- Thomas Rafael