FDNY Perspectives On 9/11

Ten years. It is hard to believe that a decade has passed since that horrible day. I’m thinking about it already; I can feel it every year about this time, that ramping up to face the damage.

I will probably repost this on the actual anniversary of 9/11, but I just came across it and wanted to post it now. I think, in fact, that I will post all of my 9/11 stories – Sean’s, mostly – for this anniversary. I think it deserves every bit of reverence and remembrance we can muster.

These were written by two friends I used to know from New York. I think it was for the fifth anniversary, I asked them to write their memories of that day for my blog. This was the result:

(John – FDNY)

The other day I am at a bar in Brooklyn, way down in Brooklyn, and I see a sign on the back of the bar with my friend’s name on it. It blew me away. I mean, my friend lived in Queens right near me. We went to the academy together. And he died downtown. And I saw his name behind some random bar in the middle of Brooklyn nowhere near where he worked or lived. I asked the bartender about it ‘cause it was ONLY my friend, not the other 342, and he said the owner was friends with him. I thought that was great. He had a street sign up over the bar and pictures of him.

(Kevin – FDNY)

I got there after the towers fell. I was too shocked at the time to be angry. Anger came later. I remember seeing it and just being stunned at seeing the devastation. Fires were still burning in most of the other WTC buildings. Smoke .. rubble … bodies .. dust … it wasn’t like you were in NYC .. It was like Bosnia or something. Not NYC.

I got there early wed morning and spent the whole day … and every day after that for weeks.
They wouldn’t let us go into the pit on Tuesday actually. They were turning us back. Someone told me there were bombs planted on the bridge crossings. Rumors were everywhere. They said the caught people on the Whitestone Bridge. I don’t think it turned out to be true. So we waited at this staging area all Tuesday, desperate for word. I had just come off a 24 hour shift and was exhausted. Tues night I passed out and got a few hours sleep. Wed morning they said they wanted us back in the staging area. So we jumped in our own cars, packed them with guys, and got down there to help. Then we were there for days. We got their early when we were still pulling out guys. No one alive of course. I remember my friend found a Cantor golfball. I didn’t even know Cantor had their own golfballs. And it was in perfect condition. He showed me.

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Comments

  1. Michael Giordani says:

    I remember… I was there with Hook&Ladder 25. We arrived at Tower 2 just as it was collapsing since all the roads were blocked. Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel was cramped up,every single road was covered with clouds of dust… I thought to myself “Please,let this just be a nightmare,or some horror”,I closed my eyes,but when I opened them again… It was real. As real as it can be…
    It was a havoc out there,the biggest 10-60 that Manhattan,and New York for that matter,had ever witnessed.
    And when it all settled down… The silence that ensued afterwards was frightening. And all the bodies we pulled out in the following days… Those images are still vivid now,12 years later,as in those days. I trully wish no one has to go through what we were going through then. I wouldn’t wish for something like that to happen even to our worst enemies. Because going through something like that is like bringing hell here on earth. And that never feels good. Oh,no,it trully feels like hell,seeing people you’ve seen at least once in your life just laying there,lifeless…
    I can relate to Kevin,as well as all the brave first responders and people who joined us in retrieving victims and giving the victims’ families some sense of closure.
    And,most important of all…
    WE WILL FOREVER REMEMBER!

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