This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of that fateful day when hospitals in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and western Pennsylvania received the call to prepare for victims of terrorist attacks. Nurses, doctors, emergency workers and others worked side by side, relying on teamwork and training to assist those who needed help. There is a picture I keep in my office taken on that clear blue day on Sept. 11, 2001 of doctors, nurses and administrators standing outside the ED of my local community hospital in Arlington, VA. It’s a reminder of the very special role we play in being always there and ready to care. With gurneys ready, the photo shows doctors, nurses, administrators and other caregivers waiting to treat victims of the attack at the Pentagon. In communities across America, the local hospital is a refuge. We saw it on 9/11 and we continue to see it in the face of man-made or natural disasters, or most in response to community violence. But preparedness is not a one-time investment. When Americans follow that blue and white “H” sign to their local hospital, they expect and deserve the best health care in the world, provided by skilled, caring people. By investing in its hospitals’ preparedness, and by strengthening its local and national health care infrastructure, America can help us keep that promise.  

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