Sunday, September 10, 2006

In Remembrance of 9/11

My apartment badly vibrated when the first tower fell on 9/11. And I heard a noise equivalent to the distant roar of a train: grrrrrrrrrrgrrrrrrrr. The sound and vibration didn't last very long, perhaps 15 seconds, but they were powerful. I live several miles upriver. What could it have been like in downtown Manhattan? Here are the voices of some who were there:

Jody Bell -- E.M.T. (E.M.S.) ... You start to hear this rumble. You hear this rumble. Everything is shaking. Now I'm like, what the hell could that be. I'm thinking we're going to get bombed. This is an air raid. You hear this thunder, this rumbling. Then you see the building start to come down. Everybody's like, "Run for your lives! The building is coming down!"
Nicholas Borrillo -- Firefighter (F.D.N.Y.) On the 23rd floor of North Tower: Then we heard a rumble. We heard it and we felt the whole building shake. It was like being on a train, being in an earthquake. A train is more like it, because with the train you hear the rumbling, and it kind of like moved you around in the hall. Then it just stopped after eight or ten seconds, about the time it took for the building to come down.
Timothy Julian -- Firefighter (F.D.N.Y.) [Ladder 118] . . . it sounded like a freight train, rumbling and picking up speed, and I remember I looked up, and I saw it coming down . . . It was the loudest rumbling I ever heard. The ground shook, and I got thrown down, and I remember it just got black, and I got knocked down. I remember geing buried.

The force of the South Tower's collapse had created a vibration along the riverbed that was literally equivalent to the strength of a small earthquake, measurable by Lamont-Doherty Earthquake Observatory of Columbia University.

Rushing to a window, I saw that all of the birds in the park below had flown upward and out of the trees. There were hundreds of them. Then all went quiet again and the birds slowly returned to their perches. The entire episode repeated itself at 10:28 when the second tower fell.

After several hours a triage unit was constructed in the park below, and an endless stream of ambulances arrived from states as far away as Massachusetts, Ohio, Delaware, Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, parking themselves on the grass in a large circle of emergency equipment.

I went to the park to see if I could help in some way. Doctors and medical personnel were there and stayed all night and the next day, waiting. A small crowd of the locals formed to watch and wait for the injured to arrive as well.

But no one ever arrived. Downtown city hospitals were able to handle the mobile injured and the less mobile. Their numbers were very small in comparison to what was expected. The rest? They were gone. Gone were 2,819 lives with the senseless destruction and collapse of the towers of the World Trade Center. Such a waste of human life. Such a needless act.

Today I remember and honor those who died on September 11, 2001. I will not forget those lost. Every single plane that flies just a little too low, every single vibration felt in this building, reminds me of them all.


Anonymous jane said...

wow. just wow. great stuff, zed.
i also look up at the sound of loud airplane engines and low flying planes. and if a plane seems off course to the standard flight patterns around here, i panic.

millions were damaged by the events of that day, millions; those who lost family and friends and those who did not. it really pi$$es me off.

Sep 10, 2006, 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

Very well done, Zed. Excellent post.

Sep 11, 2006, 7:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A powerful remembrance. Thank you.

Sep 11, 2006, 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Marzi said...

Such a horrific day. I was glued to the tv until it stopped working and then we went downtown to see what we could see. There was chaos and smoke and we couldn't get very close. My mother called on the cell to say my cousin was missing and weeks and weekss later we found out he died. What a horrific day/

Sep 11, 2006, 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful tribute, ms zed. I felt the ground shake as well and I'm about 15 miles upriver.

Sep 11, 2006, 6:31:00 PM  
Blogger SushiBoy said...

It was a hard day. Probably the worst day I can remember our nation having. The worst part about it is the acts were (and terrorism continues to be) senless. What a waste.

Sep 12, 2006, 4:30:00 AM  

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