Friday, September 11, 2009

I Remember 9/11

My (now) wife, Jennifer, had just returned the prior night from California. She was tired and missed me so she decided to call in sick that day, her first sick day in years. Jennifer worked for a small insurance agency on Vesey St., across the street from the World Trade Center. She usually walked to work from her apartment on South Street, near the Fulton Fish Market, and would arrive about 8:30 AM. Instead, I arrived from Brooklyn to spend the day with her.

That morning, her mom called to say a plane had just crashed into one of the towers. We assumed it was some tourist plane, a tragic but not cataclysmic event. At first, we didn’t even bother to turn on the TV. Then we got another call. There was a second plane.

On TV, we could see the fires, the constant replays of the second plane crashing headlong into the towers. Men and women holding hands as they leapt from a hundred floors high into the abyss.

But it was Manhattan and I had to move my car before I got ticketed. As I got to my vehicle, South Street was being shut down by a stream of police cars and emergency vehicles. A cop yelled at me to move my car and then drove toward what later became known as Ground Zero.

I found a spot in front of Jennifer’s building. As I got out, I witnessed the beginning of an endless stream of people just walking away from Ground Zero. I have no idea if they had any idea where they were going. Not the Brooklyn Bridge, which they just passed under. Maybe the Williamsburg Bridge? Or maybe they were just following the East River to nowhere in particular.

I asked a young lady if she was coming from the Twin Towers. She responded they’re no longer the twin towers. There’s only one tower. I didn’t understand what she was talking about so she pointed over her shoulder to the skyline. Sure enough, in the smoke and haze, there was only one tower standing. It looked awkward, unbalanced, like it didn’t belong and couldn’t last.

I returned to the apartment, told Jennifer, who was trying to contact her sister on Greenwich St., about the wandering masses, and that I was going to try to help.

In my car, I had a bunch of recently purchased office supplies, including a case of Poland Spring bottled water. At this point, most of the people on the street were covered in white cake, debris from Tower Two. I offered them whatever I had. Other residents from the apartments did the same, as did the local grocery store owner.

After I emptied my car, I rejoined Jennifer and watched Tower One collapse on TV. Our apartment had RCN so we still had television and telephone service, though our cell phones went dead.

We gathered with friends and neighbors on South Street, offering our help to anybody willing to accept. Most did not.

We later heard about the other planes, the one that hit the Pentagon, and Flight 93 where the passengers fought back.

That night and the next day there was back to back coverage in every news media imaginable. The carnage, the heroism, and the sacrifice. My wife’s cousin is married to a firefighter. Her roommate was a police officer. We heard the stories. We saw the pictures. And we were there.

The firefighters, police officers, and emergency personnel who lost their lives trying to save others. The workers who could have been saved but were instructed to stay at their desks. The hospitals that were ready for the flood of people who never arrived because few survived. The extraordinary devastation. And the TV images of Palestinians dancing in the streets and handing candy to children.

The day after 9/11, President Bush fingered a terrorist group I had never known but will never forget – Al Qaeda. Our country was a nation at war with militant Islamic Fundamentalists.

Every time I drive along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in Brooklyn Heights, I look at the Manhattan Skyline and try to remember exactly where the towers once stood. I cannot.

But I will always remember 9/11 and I will tell the story to my children.
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Anonymous said...

Thank you for your self-absorbed, self-agrandizing story in remembrance of 9/11/01. It was a real tribute to those who perished in such an egregious act of terrorism (read with saddened sarcasm).

This story confirmed for me that you are in fact the oblivous, snide and arrogant man you appear to be on this blog and at Board of Education meetings...

Anonymous said...

Gee whiz. Haven't you heard of the meme, "what were you doing when.....Pearl Harbor was bombed, Kennedy was killed, and now, when the towers were hit?" I don't know how you could have lived these past eight years and not have heard hundreds of different variations of the personal perspective of that day. These stories help us to deal with the unthinkable. I think its safe to say I am on the complete opposite end of the political spectrum of our blog host, but I can detect a decent human compulsion to tell a personal story when I hear one, and this post is just that.

NsectionJoe said...

While eating dinner tonight at the Court Jester a very old and dear friend of mine just happened to walk in. While I see him far too seldom with our busy lives, our greeting to each other tonight was no less different. I did immediately remeber in vivid detail my attempted calls to those I knew that were working in Manhattan. He I could not reach until the next day.

On sept. 11,2001 I remember distinctly my concern for him and a few others who I knew worked in that downtown area on that day. This friend however was in the second Twin Tower building hit on that fateful day. It is my understanding that despite the advisories to stay in their offices he chose to make an announcement to his fellow workers that they should all leave the building immediately. Many of his coworkers followed him and made it out alive as he knew some shortcuts out that hurried their exit from that building.

I am very thankful that I still have my dear friend and cannot imagine the feelings and memories he must have inside him today. I am just merely thankful to have been able to give him a big hug and a kiss hello. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who lost their loved ones and for those who labored on the pile who now suffer with negative health effects for their service to the fallen.

God Bless the USA

Pat said...

A gripping personal testimony, Joey. Thanks for sharing.

Gee whiz, indeed. Get a grip, Anonymous. Take the gloves off for one damned day. Way to set the tone, asshole.

I was working a shift that would have put me at the WTC about 10:15 am, so I was home when a colleague called me to ask about the hole in the Twin Towers, what she'd heard had been a plane crash. They were close and had a full view of what happened next. My friends had to walk to Brooklyn, but the Brooklyn Bridge wasn't an option for some reason. They had to hoof it uptown like the folks you mentioned. I set up a command post at home, making sure all my colleagues got home in one piece. After watching tv news for hours, I wandered out to the shore to look for myself, hoping it was all a big mistake. I saw the two towers with smoke pouring out of them as if they were giant chimneys. I later went out to verify that they were gone.

My daughter was at MAMS that day. She said it was eerie because the teachers didn't tell them anything, but they knew something was wrong. Their classmates were being excused to leave with their parents, one by one. Unlike the JFK assassination, the dead and injured could be the parents of the kids in the room, so the schools were probably right not to say anything. I remember that several of my daughter's soccer matches had to be postponed or canceled in coming weeks because of funerals for the parents of kids on the teams from Middletown and elsewhere.

I lost two colleagues in the towers attacks. They each went up repeatedly as part of the official response and they died heroes.

My sister-in-law was supposed to be in the Pentagon library that morning but chose not to go. The plane flew over her apartment in Arlington with a roar, a sound that haunts her today.

Pleaseanswerthe10Mr.Kauff said...

First two comments are from the same idiot. Sad but typical. No substance to offer just self amusement on such a serious subject. Anonymous go to your toy box and amuse yourself. Leave the adults to the issues.

matawan advocate said...

Anonymous 1, Shame on you to chose this day to make a personal attack on someone's experiences on 9-11.

Thanks for sharing Aberdeener.

Anonymous said...

Pleaseanswerthe10 is not a close reader.

Anonymous said...

Matawan Advocate,

Shame on you for being an oblivious, self-agrandizing moron like Warren. I thought you moved, but I guess as an old hag, you have nothing better to do than be a melodramatic pain in the ass. I hope Obama rations your healthcare, along with THE TRUTH. Now that would be ironic karma...

-Anon #1

Anonymous said...

Is nothing sacred?! Next thing you know the first Anon will call you arrogant for saluting the flag.

Shame on anyone who brings shame on such an important day in this country's history. Would I be called arrogant if I told a story of how my parents met on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed? They didn't but nobody should cast a shadow on such important memories.

Anonymous said...

continued ... and by the same account, it is wholly unpatriotic to slander our President with the disdain uttered by Congressman Joe Wilson and some creeps on here.

Tell me about rationed health care the next time your insurance company doesn't pay your bill or has your medication filled with something cheaper than what was prescribed for your doctor or when you have to pay out-of-pocket to see the specialist that can help you.

Even if you disagree with what is being proposed, President Obama won the election last year by a wider margin than President G.W. Bush won in either of his elections. Yet, he was my President and President Obama is now our President.

Show some respect for this country and what our soldiers are fighting for.

God bless America!

NsectionJoe said...

One man expressed himself and was I feel most brave for doing so. Those most loudly criticizing him for that honesty are the same ones who heckled and booed former President Bush.

The difference this time is one man spoke up for himself and his constituency, not merely because his powerful party leaders told him to heckle and boo a president for cheap political reasons.

The truth has two sides. Where was this disdain and supposed unpatriotic slandering and disdain that Anonymous continued... complains about when the same or worse was shown to President Bush when he was heckled?

Helathcare reform is a very hot topic because many of us, myself included, do not trust their government to do right by us. The examples of their incompetence and contempt for us the taxpayers is historic. That is a fact and the examples of that incompetence are unquestionable. History it says repeats itself. So does the mistakes made by governments.

If one man says it is a lie while many others stood silent. I for one thank the one man for his bravery in the face of such an important issue. It may have been somewhat disrespectful, but so were previous actions by those who point the fingers at this one brave vocal man while typically forgetting their own actions. That is just one problem in politics. One of the many many we all know have and will continue to effect us historically.

Anonymous said...

NSection - President Bush was never heckled while addressing this country's Joint Chambers of Congress. There is a time and place and that was neither.

Defending Joe Wilson is like defending the PETA idiots that throw blood at people wearing fur coats, it is inappropriate behavior in our public discourse.

Let Wilson and others who like him pander to peoples base instincts at a rally in his own district. He does not deserve a voice in our Congress.

It is an honor to serve our Country and he has dishonored the USA.

Those on this site who slander individual thoughts about 9/11 are also slandering this Country.

J Section Ken said...


Paste this link into your browser or click my name:

When action by Congress is taken on Charlie Rangel, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd for their unethical activities (not paying income taxes, special loans by Countrywide... etc.) perhaps you can address Joe Wilson for speaking his mind according to the first amendment of our constitution.

Will President Obama still be blaming former President Bush for all of our problems when he runs for re-election in 2012? When does anything become "his" problem?

I want to profoundly thank all the brave members of our armed forces and their families, many of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep my family safe these last eight years after that sad deadly day.

To the Anonymous poster who attacked Mr. Warren.

Mr. Warren was sharing his personal experience of 9/11. In what way did his comments dishonor the heroes who died on that day when America was attacked by a group of bloodthirsty cowards?

J Section Ken

Anonymous said...

The problem with Wilson's behavior was that he did it at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Irregardless of personal ideology, a Joint Session of Congress is a solemn occasion deserving of utmost respect. To yell out derisions like an unruly eigth grader at a school assembly was an embarrassment for the entire country, to say the least! The Sergeant at Arms should have immediately escorted him out of the chambers!

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous who got escorted out by the Sgt. of Arms when they booed and heckled President Bush? Obama is not off limits or to be treated any differently, irregardless of the media coddling him and his socialist ideas.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. President Bush was never booed or heckled during a Joint Session of Congress.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener, Thankyou for your post. I think it is disgraceful that anon #1 tried to put a negative spin on your post. It is also sad that this post couldn't remain dedicated to remembering the victims and heros of September 11th, 2001.

Living in a NY neighborhood at that time, where nearly every fireman in our local firehouse died, funeral after funeral, dedication and renaming of each street they each lived on as a small tribute for their ultimate sacrifice, I am greatful to everyone that helped out on that day, and for many days and week that followed.

Many of us that were there, or had family members and friends there, relatives that were EMT's, firefighters working 24hour shifts digging through the ashes and their gruesome findings, parents of our children's friends etc, will never forget the fear we all experienced that day. The silence in the skies over NY for weeks, except for the sound of fighter jets. Nor will I ever forget the way all of us, New Yorkers as well as many others tried to give comfort and aide to one another. How we all joined together at that time, many in small ways, others in great.

To all I say thank you.

Anonymous said...

Correction. (I'm anonymous at 10:20 and ll:28) There is a clip on youtube of many members of congress moaning in 2005 during Bush's pitch to privatize Social Security. Totally different from Wilson's ugly "you're a liar!" shout. A side note: Can you imagine what would have happened if Bush's proposal had floated, and Wall St. had been able to get their greedy, risky hands on individual Soc. Sec. accounts? The Senior safety net would have been decimated by the financial collapse! What a disaster that would have been!

Anonymous said...

What if this and what if that. What if Obamas socialism does not work. It will not be Bush's fault. Get ready to stand in line for toilet paper. That is socialism at its worst. Get ready and get some comfortable shoes.

Anonymous said...

This is a local blog. Regardless of national positions, let's just get the corrupt dems out of Aberdeen!

I am one D who is going R for Governor and Council this year.

Still for Obama. He's not a socialist. As far as that goes - just stop listening to Limbat and Hanidioty.

Even if we disagree on that. Still, vote the D's out of Aberdeen. We should all be able to agree that the Tagliarini team is bad for our town. He's not a socialist either, just a pantywaist follower of a man called Kauff.

Kauff get yourhandoutofmypocket said...

While I feel for the candidates and all that they have and will endure before election day they have allowed themselves to be trapped in the spider web of Kauff. They have chosen to not step away from his money or his absolute corrupt control. They therefore are a failed and corrupt slate before a vote is cast. So when the feds come knocking at that early hour in the not so distant future they will be no doubt be tried in the press using a legal term used in court proceedings and the media alike. It is called guilt by association. Right Norman?

Get a grip befoire election day said...

I am again amazed at the democrat operatives that continue to throw Bush into the fray. Did Bush spend more money in one single day then in all governmental spending before that day? No Obama did. Did Bush spend billions on an idiotic cash for clunker program that allowed only a small percentage in the population to get that benefit? No Obama did. Did Bush stand in front of the fat cats on Wall Street and tell them that if they almost cause a world wide depression that we will not bail them out again, to the tune of a Trillion dollars or more? The saddest fact is that all of the supposed governmental watchdogs that were supposed to oversee and guard the American public from such a thing even being close to occurring are all still employed. No different than the security people at the airport who failed us on 9-11 who are still employed.
And people think our government works for us. Get a grip. Next thing the democratic faithful will say is that Norman Kauff is honest.

Anonymous said...

Please don't compare Kauff to Obama. That's an insult to our president.

Also, Get a Grip listens to Fox News a bit too much. Too much remaking of history going on.

Give up your government pension.

Give up your social security.

Tell your parents to give up their medicare.

Let Blackwater and Haliburton fight our wars

Trust Horizon BC/BS or Aetna with your healthcare

F U Kauff said...

What a nest egg Kauff must have secreted away. You suck Kauff. And you will get your just deserts. i will be in a lawn chair when the Feds raid your house. Cold beer and a camera to get every moment of your arrest. Count on it Kauff. U SUCK!

Anonymous said...

"Aberdeen homeowner handcuffed, robbed, stabbed by armed men" These are not the same people who stabbed the guy down at the sea wall last spring either! I want patrol cars and I want lots of them! Raise our property taxes during a recession, will you?Are we surprised that desperate people are afoot! Not me! Give me my monies worth! I want more and constant patrol cars! A show of force is needed! Today and going forward untill this recession is long over! Promise me that! Mr. Polician Man! And deliver!

Anonymous said...

24 hours of constant crusing patrol cars. And foot patrols too! Mr. Politician Man! Whoever promises that will get the job. You can take that to the bank! Kauff or no Kauff!