This is something I put togther to help me remember.
This is Me! My hair is getting long again, but the rest of me is still the same. This shot was taken about two weeks before 9/11. The field where we are is within site of the WTC towers. Or was.
This shot was taken by me of my manager on the roof of WTC tower two. His finger is right over the Empire State building. Beyond the smoke on the left of him, across the Hudson River, is the field where the first shot was taken. This was taken the same week as the first shot.
This is what it looked like the next time I got close to it. Just no words to describe it. If you look about center of the shot you can see one of the fire trucks lost. I'll refer to that again.
This is the satellite shot I got from the NASA site. It clearly shows the Salvation Army Mobil Kitchen I was working with. What it does not show is that the pile of rubble is over 8 stories high. There were 110 floors in each tower. Each floor was almost a city block in size.
I don't know who took this shot. It is from inside the Church looking west toward the pile. Two things to point out in this shot. First is the head stones will give you a hint of the depth of the rubble, 2 to 3 feet thick in most of the vicinity. Most of the headstones were knocked down. Second thing is in the back ground to the left is the mobil kitchen. I believe that is me standing at the window. I still have the white hardhat.
I took this shot when I returned to the site in December of 2002. This is the same shot as the one above taken from the rear of the Church. All the headstones have been repaired or replaced, and only a light dusting of snow on the ground.
This is the steeple of the Church. It faced the total destruction of the towers and other than dust, it went untouched. Hand of our Lord ???
This shot was taken from the rooftop of a bulding on the south side looking north. You can clearly see the place where the Firefighters hung our Flag.
In this shot you can see the rooftop I took the previous shot from. Left most bulding on the roof you will see some antannas. As I went up to the roof of that bulding I looked in to one of the offices, everything in the place was blown agenst the rear wall. Desks, file cabnets, couches, refrigators, everything. It looked like someone took the bulding and put it on it's side, then stood it back up. The pice of the side of the WTC you see in the center of this shot, I was told came from somewhere near the 80th floor. It penetrated into the ground over 60 feet down.
This is the crew that I went in with. From left to right Ed, Gary, Tom, and myself.
How I got in to help is a story in itself.
I work for Arch Wireless. The equipment I support is the transmitters and receivers for the two-way pagers. My company told FEMA we could take equipment to the site and try to track any pagers that might be still working. It was a nice idea but faulty and misleading. The two-way pagers batteries only last about 3 days max. We were already into day 5 of the event. Second, we have no such tracking equipment. The real motive for getting to the site was to try to get a banner hung up somewhere within view of the TV coverage. I was so, and still remain ashamed of that.
Well, after I found that they were not there to help, I quit on the spot. I was standing in the middle of the worst thing I and most had ever seen, and they were trying to get TV coverage........NOT!
I handed all my Arch Wireless property to my coworker and told him I would be back when I felt I could do no more here. They went back to New Jersey and I walked over to the first place I saw that looked like they might need some help. Well, it was a Salvation Army Mobile Kitchen. They were set up right where the Firefighters were coming off the pile. When I walked up to the kitchen, I saw a lady that was barking orders and looked in charge. I told her that I came to help and couldn't do what I came to do, and asked if she could use two empty hands. Well, I thought she was going to kiss me on the spot. I ended up staying over 80 hours.
I found out later that FEMA was not letting volunteers in to help. They were making them stay at a staging site in N.J.. They were desperate for help on site and our government would not let them in.
For hour on end I watched the Firefighters come off the pile, so tired they looked asleep on their feet. They would come over to the kitchen, eat a hot meal, rest for 20 to. 30 minutes, get up and go back to the digging. One thing that I will always remember is the emotional level that abounded. Emotion so thick you could not go unaffected.
The fire truck I spoke of was within site of the kitchen. I could not help but feel their loss and pain as they walked past that unit many times a day. It was one of the last things they cleaned up.
When my work threatened to fire me if I did not return to work, I gave in and returned to the real world with a heavy sigh and a heavy heart.
There are probably hundreds of these stories, so here is one more.
I was on my way to service the WTC site the morning of 9/11, I spent about an extra 30 minutes that morning playing with my dogs. I think it saved my life. I was in downtown Manhattan and maybe 10 minutes from parking in the WTC parking basement. It took me hours to get out of the city that day. But I did get out! Thank you, Lord!
It was very hard to get back to reality after being so close to it. I'm still dealing with the emotions that it produced in me. Now I think I have a small understanding of being in a war and dealing with post-distress disorder. I have new respect for our veterans of wars. OUR FREEDOM IS NOT CHEAP.
The most memorable moment came for me when I gave a Firefighter a cold drink and said "Thanks for being here and helping" like I had said to a hundred others. He turned, took my hand and thanked me for helping them. It's kind of corny but that meant the world to me.
I know I will never forget the day of disaster and the days I spent surrounded by true heroes and people of good hearts.
Last of all, my girls.........
The brown one is Rippley. She is half sharpey and half pit. She is so sweet she would melt in rain. Magi is full sharpey.
Well, I hope this was not too boring and depressing. Thanks for letting me spill all this out. It does help to talk about it. Thanks again, Friend!
I hope this finds you and yours safe and sound.
FIND A SMILE IN EVERY DAY!