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  1.    #21  
    Another part of my story:


    (This part is actually the beginning)...
    I was working for a very well-known telecommunications company back then. My co-worker and i had already started a routine morning in Brooklyn, and were driving to our next work location.

    While he was focused on the road, i noticed a tall plume of smoke high up in the distance. I pointed it out to him and we decided to drive towards it to see what it was coming from.

    It was coming from Tower One. We had almost reached a dead-end street at the East River to get a better look, when we saw the second plane purposely steer itself into the South Tower.

    Not believing our own eyes, and awestruck, we parked our work truck at the river and looked across the water at what appeared to be a movie set.
    It's just that it wasn't.

    There were so many emergency vehicles racing down the FDR Drive, that we were able to hear their sirens in addition to all the sirens coming from behind us.

    Before i realized it, a small crowd of people from ALL walks of life had crept up next to us. There were sanitation men, people in business suits, delivery guys, homeless people and even hookers... staring across, not saying even ONE word.

    Even though the South Tower got hit after the North Tower, it was burning so much quicker.

    I remember saying to myself one thing and then asking myself another.

    - "I can't believe i'm standing here quietly, watching what was sure to be thousands of my neighbors dying so horribly."
    - I asked myself; "How are they ever going to repair the towers after they put the infernos out?"

    And then the South Tower gave way to itself. I then knew the North Tower would follow and i decided i didn't want to see that.

    We then turned out of that street and began the task of trying to account for our family and friends.
    Last edited by dbdoinit; 07/28/2010 at 10:36 AM.
  2. #22  
    I worked about 40 blocks up from the WTC at the time. It was a beautiful day and got off the subway and looked down at the towers as I did every morning. I got into work and a few minutes later a coworker asked if I saw the low flying plane which I hadn't and I never though much of that comment till I got on a message board I frequented and someone had posted a picture of the North Tower after it had been hit by a plane.

    I immediately ran outside and joined a group of stunned onlookers who were discussing theories of what had happened. It was the first time I heard someone mention they though t we were being attacked although most people thought that it was just a tragic crash. I walked back to work as the second plane hit.

    The odd thing at my job(it was a color lab/printing company) was my boss kept trying to get people to ignore the events and keep working. One of my coworkers had a stroke as he was worried about his sister who worked in one of the buildings. Surprisingly an ambulance arrived quickly to get him to the hospital. No one could concentrate on pantones, clipping paths, and darkrooms. We were constantly bombarded with the sounds of sirens and screams from the sidewalk.

    I walked outside again and saw the first tower crumble before my eyes. I almost didn't realize what was happening as it was too much to take in at the time. I walked back to work shocked. The radio didn't help as it was full of unsubstantiated reports of unaccounted for planes, bombs at the state dept, etc. Then came the report of the Pentagon being hit and eventually the downed plane in Pennsylvania.

    I lived in Queens at the time and wanted nothing more to get out of Manhattan but we were constantly pressured to keep working. Subway service was stopped so the only way off was to walk across a bridge. I ended up staying there for the rest of the day as our boss started to become more threatening to everyone which only made the work environment that more stressful.As we tried to work, people kept walking by our windows covered in white dust of the fallen buildings. It was like a scene from Day of the Dead. It was a horrible day.

    9/12 was actually worse. The magnitude of what had happened was finally sinking in and there were estimates of 10,000 dead. I arrived at work and Manhattan was a ghost town. Most businesses never bothered opening. The wind had changed directions and the smell was permeating the air. I know someone earlier in thread mentioned the smoke lasted for a week. It actually lasted for months. I can't say the event changed me but it did effect me. I no longer hear sirens without some sense of fright. Planes in the air make me feel uncomfortable. I have nightmares about that day and occasionally have very real flashbacks from that day where I am full of the shock and numbness from what I saw not only that day but in the weeks after. I do not pay any attention to media on 9/11 as it is too hard to watch from a point of reliving the memories and to the overdramatic stance that is taken when discussing the events of that day.

    On an somewhat unrelated note, I think its sad that the 9/11 conspiracy thread was closed. While I understand that it can be a painful issue, I don't see why discussing such a topic is so taboo as long as people are respectful. The off topic threads do seem to be at the whims of the political persuasions of the moderators at times with closed threads and erased posts. Its just what I've seen as I've started to spend times in the nether regions of the precentral forum. Thats fine but I figured this was called off topic for a reason. I'm not trying to bring that debate to this thread.
    Last edited by Superjudge; 07/28/2010 at 02:41 PM.
  3.    #23  
    That was I who mentioned the smoke lasting a week.
    To clarify what i said, i meant that i was able to see the smoke from Ground Zero, all the way from my apartment- for a week.

    I lived in Queens too.
  4. #24  
    Quote Originally Posted by dbdoinit View Post
    That was I who mentioned the smoke lasting a week.
    To clarify what i said, i meant that i was able to see the smoke from Ground Zero, all the way from my apartment- for a week.

    I lived in Queens too.
    Cool. You still out in NYC?
  5.    #25  
    Quote Originally Posted by Superjudge View Post
    Cool. You still out in NYC?
    My mind is still in NY, but i moved here to Atlanta three years ago.
  6. #26  
    Quote Originally Posted by dbdoinit View Post
    My mind is still in NY, but i moved here to Atlanta three years ago.
    I fully understand your feelings. I left in 2002 to move to California and eventually Indiana. My mind has never left.
  7.    #27  
    It's definitely true, what they say.

    You can take the New Yorker outta New York, but you can't take the New York out of the New Yorker.
  8. Micael's Avatar
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    #28  
    Quote Originally Posted by Superjudge View Post
    On an somewhat unrelated note, I think its sad that the 9/11 conspiracy thread was closed. While I understand that it can be a painful issue, I don't see why discussing such a topic is so taboo as long as people are respectful. The off topic threads do seem to be at the whims of the political persuasions of the moderators at times with closed threads and erased posts. Its just what I've seen as I've started to spend times in the nether regions of the precentral forum. Thats fine but I figured this was called off topic for a reason. I'm not trying to bring that debate to this thread.
    I agree - "as long as people are respectful". However, the 'erased posts' in question were removed because they were reported to the mods as flames - people were calling other people idiots, etc. I don't want to second guess the mod who closed the thread, but I assume it's because we had a slew of flames starting up within it. You're right that this is an off topic forum - that does not mean it's the wild west and anything goes.

    Sometimes the best way to avoid a gunfight in the corner is to close down the saloon....
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  9. #29  
    Quote Originally Posted by Micael View Post
    I agree - "as long as people are respectful". However, the 'erased posts' in question were removed because they were reported to the mods as flames - people were calling other people idiots, etc. I don't want to second guess the mod who closed the thread, but I assume it's because we had a slew of flames starting up within it. You're right that this is an off topic forum - that does not mean it's the wild west and anything goes.

    Sometimes the best way to avoid a gunfight in the corner is to close down the saloon....

    Fair enough. Thanks for the response.
  10. #30  
    Pt.2 NYC, the dead zone...

    It was like Mardi Gras.

    People were singing -- laughing, hugging each other -- men and women, men and men.

    I could not buy a drink -- several times I tried to pay for it myself -- but each time someone adamantly insisted that drinks were on them -- that it had to be that way.

    Beautiful girls: beautiful girl lawyers, investment brokers -- were at the bar, asking if I was a fireman -- a police officer...

    It was the happiest place I’d ever been...



    I was in NYC a week after 9/11 on already scheduled business. As usual I had my bike with me -- I really try to bring it no matter where I go. In NYC I park my vehicle on arrival, and then get about with the bike (its rare that I ever use public transportation or taxis -- even in Paris, Bangkok, or Taipei).

    By late afternoon I was finished with my business, and decided to try to see ground zero. Downtown below Canal St. was completely blocked by the police -- access was absolutely restricted to those working on the site, and those few people who continued to live in that cut off part of lower Manhattan. I was able though, to get in.

    Crossing into that zone was entering into another world -- mostly bereft of people, it seemed at first to be completely desolate. No stores were open, few apartments had lights on, and no cars unassociated with the recovery work moved on the almost entirely empty streets. There was this strange unnatural quiet and darkness -- as many of the street lights were off.

    I biked to the WTC site. The huge expanse of mangled steel was appalling. Seemingly everywhere were welder's sparks and the grind of metal being cut. Smoke still rose and hung in the air. In contrast to the rest of the zone, activity here was continuous. Though it was night, bright orange lighting made the scene seem like a movie set. I watched transfixed for maybe an hour from across the street. No one hassled or challenged me.

    All around everywhere were xeroxed pictures and messages pleading for information, any information -- about someone loved who had gone missing.

    Mothers, sons, dads, daughters -- pages upon pages upon pages --- stapled to trees, taped on buildings, store fronts, on the sides of commissary trucks -- the anguish fluttered in the breeze as these forlorn poignant pleas went unanswered...

    The details in these messages, the descriptions, the last clothes they were wearing, identifying physical scars and marks, talking about them as people who were loved and missed -- it was wrenching. Its still wrenching even now.

    Moving away from the site I gradually started to discover the few people who continued to live in this dead zone.

    Everyone was extraordinarily friendly and welcoming. Genuine generosity was common place. Beautiful girls -- super models (literally) were eager to make your acquaintance, enthusiastic to talk and flirt with you.

    People were sharing canned goods, news, friendship. So many had left, power was not back on everywhere.

    A Korean girl. a student, invited me back to her tiny apartment. We sat close together talking for awhile, but sadly I did not find her attractive, and so didn’t want to take advantage of her yearning. Sensing I was bored, she told me about this bar, a bar that never closed -- one the few places still open in the zone -- and invited me to come with her for some drinks.

    It was loud crowded raucous. There firemen still in partial uniform, police officers, rescue workers -- singing, getting sauced. It must have been well past midnight. I was immediately made to feel welcome, and asked what I wanted to have. The scene was so absurd so cinematic, that I wanted desperately to take out my video camera. Out of politeness and respect I asked the happy fellow buying me drinks if he'd mind if I shot some video. Abruptly becoming serious, he put his hand on my wrist, and in a darkly sober voice said: “no pictures.”

    Years before I’d been to a screening of documentary that described in horrific detail some of the monstrous experiences that the Cambodian people had suffered under the Khmer Rouge. The scenes, the descriptions were awful, beyond awful. In the middle of the film I started to hear laughter -- loud cackling laughter.

    More than a little annoyed, I turned round to find the idiots in the audience acting so stupidly -- when I realized they were Cambodians.

    Grief, overwhelming incomprehensible grief -- has no logic, no normal form of expression.

    I understood, I put my camera away...
    Last edited by BARYE; 07/31/2010 at 11:26 AM.
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  11.    #31  
    @BARYE -

    I think it was just a defense mechanism in our brains, because our brains could not bear to try to piece together the horror of what happened.

    I too, remember a general sense of togetherness washing over complete strangers all over the city. For months after, people that normally would act like typical, nonchalant New Yorkers, seemed to have new personalities.

    It was bittersweet to see, because we all knew why, and hated the reason.
    Last edited by dbdoinit; 07/29/2010 at 12:24 PM.
  12. #32  
    Quote Originally Posted by dbdoinit View Post
    @BARYE -

    I think it was just a defense mechanism in our brains, because our brains could not bear to try to piece together the horror of what happened.
    true.

    I should say more about the girls at bar --

    They seemed disappointed when I told them that I was no one, not a fireman, not a police officer, not a rescue worker.

    One of the women, the lawyer, had come from Brooklyn Heights. She told me that she couldn't go help pull people from the rubble, that she couldn't warn rescuers to flee the towers before they fell --- but she could provide comfort, and thats what she would do...
    Last edited by BARYE; 07/29/2010 at 02:17 PM.
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  13. #33  
    I was working in a restaurant in VA. It was a tragic day for all, I believe.I Do hope we never have to experience such a disaster ever again.
  14. #34  
    Quote Originally Posted by Superjudge View Post
    I fully understand your feelings. I left in 2002 to move to California and eventually Indiana. My mind has never left.
    I was in english class my senior year of high school in Brooklyn when it happened. Due to anxiety of the event, my parents allowed me to go out-of-state for college in 2002, when I graduated in 2006 I felt strong enough to come back and start my career here in downtown NYC.

    May we never ever forget.

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  15. Micael's Avatar
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    #35  
    Lets not derail the thread please. No political posts. Thanks
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  16. #36  
    I was (and still am) a volunteer firefighter/EMT in the DC area...in a county where volunteers staff front line units. At the time, I also worked part-time for my county, assigned to the training center as a FF instructor.


    On the morning of 9/11, I was on my way to work when the second plane hit. After I got to work, my fire dept pager (still used them at the time) went off recalling all available staff to their stations. As soon as I got to my station, a career battalion chief grabbed me, another vol FF/EMT and two paid FFs and sent us to a staging area closer to the Pentagon. After two more units from my county got there, the County's Deputy Chief led that task force to Arlington.

    I still have vivid memories of the looks of confusion and disbelief on drivers' faces in traffic as we passed them, driving lights & sirens toward the direction they were leaving. That morning, we also had reports of explosions at the State Department, so we really had no idea what we were going into, but we were relieved to be heading in to do something.

    Didn't actually end up doing much in the next 24 hours...other than eating a lot of pizza and waiting for assignments. Most of the folks who could be rescued were in the first hour of the incident. From there, it became more about shoring up the building and performing urban search and rescue...which was mostly "recovery." It also took several days to get the fire out due to the nature of the roof construction...but that wasn't my challenge.

    Honestly, as much as we had on our plate, we could not get our minds off of our brothers in NY that day. The buildings had collapsed and we knew that scores if not hundreds of FDNY must have been in the lobbies, stairwells, staging floors, and fire floors...as well as in the collapse zone...and we were sick at the thought.


    Since then, much has changed for me, but I'd rather not get into how.

    regards,
    S.
    Last edited by scuba_steve; 07/29/2010 at 02:56 PM.
  17. #37  
    I like this thread. There is so much senseless loss of innocent life going on all the time in our world, which, were it not for threads like these, would be tuned out or ignored.
  18. Delight33's Avatar
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    #38  
    I was in the city when it happened, I can not start to explain what I was feeling or what I had seen. Thank god that I was not too close to the incident, the company that I work for had us down their weeks after serving food to all the police,firemen and women, and volunteers. I can truly say it was an eye opening experience.
  19. #39  
    Pt. 3 epilogue:

    Before I left NY the next evening, I stopped by Union Square.

    The sidewalks, the plaza, around fountains were carpeted with candles, flowers, handwritten signs beseeching peace, bemoaning loss. The mood was uniformly somber. Couples, old people, parents with children slowly gravitated, reading the signs, leaving change meant for the martyred firemen.

    The atmosphere was friendly but funereal -- in extreme contrast to that of the “dead zone”.

    I spoke at length to a pretty slender Chinese american girl whose father was a prominent professor in Washington DC. It was in her house that a famous book about the Rape of Nanking -- the brutal massacre by the Japanese of innocent Chinese, had been researched and written by her friend, Iris Chang.

    We talked about the ironies of history -- how a german nazzi had behaved heroically intervening to save Chinese from the Japanese horror, and how in Germany a Japanese diplomat had helped rescue Jews by securing them visas and passports to Japanese occupied China.

    We talked of the ironies of how the birth of the islamic terrorism and Bin Laden had been with reagan’s support.

    I’ve often thought back about the mood and atmosphere of the “dead zone”. dbd’s original post about the smoke at ground zero recently reawoke those memories. I was there perhaps 8 hours -- but its effect on me has lasted much longer. I’m not sure if anyone recalls the very first Star Trek episode -- The Menagerie -- where Spock transports his incapacitated former captain back to this forbidden place of dreams. The "dead zone" memory has been like that for me.

    No doubt my memory romanticized what I experienced. I remember this hedonistic life affirming atmosphere in the “dead zone” -- that I’ve often longed to feel again. Maybe it only lasted a few days, a couple of weeks -- maybe I imagined it. But I wish I could go again back there...

    (BTW -- Iris Chang, the brilliant author of The Rape of Nanking, and mother of a young son -- tragically took her own life 3 years later, in the summer of 2004.

    One of the notes she left read:

    “When you believe you have a future, you think in terms of generations and years. When you do not, you live not just by the day -- but by the minute. It is far better that you remember me as I was — in my heyday as a best-selling author -- than the wild-eyed wreck who returned from Louisville...

    Each breath is becoming difficult for me to take -- the anxiety can be compared to drowning in an open sea. I know that my actions will transfer some of this pain to others, indeed those who love me the most. Please forgive me. Forgive me because I cannot forgive myself.” )
    Last edited by BARYE; 07/30/2010 at 04:38 AM.
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  20.    #40  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE
    No doubt my memory romanticized what I experienced. I remember this hedonistic life affirming atmosphere in the “dead zone” -- that I’ve often longed to feel again. Maybe it only lasted a few days, a couple of weeks -- maybe I imagined it. But I wish I could go again back there...
    Quote Originally Posted by Iris Chang
    “When you believe you have a future, you think in terms of generations and years. When you do not, you live not just by the day -- but by the minute."
    This rang a bell in my mind that which previous to reading this, had been ridden with cobwebs (not my mind, just the bell ).

    I too, felt a new sense of life in the days, weeks, maybe even months after the attack.

    That reminds me. I hate when people say; "The 'events' of 9/11".

    Saying "events", is a hell of an understatement.
    Last edited by dbdoinit; 07/30/2010 at 01:10 PM.
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