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What is Your September 11th Story?


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I was to young to be involved in EMS at the time. With that being said I will never forget that day, I was in the eighth grade and had to get up along about 0500 to get ready for school. My dad had just come in from running and woke me up. He went on to take his shower and get ready for work, and as I did every morning (and still do) I would turn on the tv's to the news channel. I remember turning on CNN and seeing smoke billowing out of the first tower. I thought oh it must be an accident. I went on and took my shower and came out to see the second tower getting hit. I thought it was a replay until they pulled back and I saw smoke from both towers. I went yelling into my parents room and I said someone just started a war with us and turned on the tv in their room. That entire day in school we did nothing but watch TV I remember how shocked we were when the towers fell. I remember hearing the pentagon got hit and later learning that a personal friend was killed in the pentagon. Not only was he a personal friend but he meant a lot to my hometown, he was our star quarter back that joined the navy. Not long after that I remember waking up and seeing on the news that we had in fact gone to war and seeing the missiles launching off the ships towards land. One of the assignements I had to do that year in Social Science was a research paper I chose the attacks I had a quote from "Abraham Lincoln" asking him to compare this to the Civil War and he stated, "The heinous attack on the World Trade Center was worse than the Civil War if for no other reason than that all of those lives were innocent and lost in a single battle on a single day." As I concluded my paper I stated that I believed the terrorists had "Awoken the sleeping giant" and indeed they had.

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I was working in a community very close to NY. Our EMS service was called upon for a few rigs along with other area services to a staging area on the NY line - thats is as far as we got. It was a tough day knowing the loss that would happen. I lost a friend and co-worker (Chris Blackwell - FDNY Rescue 3) that was paramedic with me at another gig we worked.

I remember seeing the breaking news story and literally had to drag my partner in from the garage to the TV because he thought I was joking. I spent the next few hrs glued to the TV before we had a company meeting at the division HQ stating that we would provide a few ambulances to a staging area. Only members of service that wanted to help were asked to go...NO employee was ordered to go it was left as our decision. I missed a lot of the coverage but did have my wife record it at home on as many VHS tapes she could find.

The thing that got me was the local support we got and LACK of traffic on the roadways. It was actually very weird to see no cars on the roads during the incident and what few cars we did see they actually moved over out of the way and some people actually waved and gave us thumbs up signs at us as we were racing to the NY line with the convoy of ambulances. They must have known we were heading to NY it was very surreal feeling of anxiety, frieght and total adrenaline rush knowing and not knowing what we were heading to do.

We never made it from the staging area which in hind sight is better for me and the others that were there with me. The health problems that all the on scene workers have been having is sad not to mention just the emotional and mental issues off seeing the devastation. I think just seeing the people covered in dust on TV is mentally exhausting but to see it in person must have life long effects on someone that actually experienced seeing it.

I have worked EMS for 20yrs and have had my share of the big bad ones but this effects not only workers in emergency services but our country as a whole and how we all live our lives with more security, hidden camera's, etc.... It was the 1st LARGE scale attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor for many of living Americans. I think it has had far more media coverage than any other world wide event. I think too many people, businesses and corporations have profited too much from this tragedy with all the stickers, patches, tee shirt profits going in someone pockets vs to a fund. I think it is right to honor those lost but we need to also move forward to protect our country from things like this ever happening again.

I can keep rambling on my thoughts but feel it is the right time to come off my soap box.

Edited by Medic One
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I have stated my story on several threads here but will stich it all together for you as I feel it is a full circle now.

Where was I on 9/11..... 10th floor Tower 2

What did I hear..... Boom, screams, crying, sorrow

What did I do.... Helped get folks out, cryed like a baby when I watched them fall. Looked grey and so did everyone else there, cryed some more. Climed the pile and started helping.

Sirens sounding, run... 7 falls

Back to the pile......

72 hours later after seeing unimaginable things I finally brake down and cry into some girls arms volunteering with the effort. Do not ever want to see what I saw there again. I watched strong, heroic grown men do the same.

One thing that will never leave me.... when we all turned greey as ash and the world looked like the moon, we were all one. No creed, No color, No religon, Just ONE. I hope one day we can all get back to that place.

was there that day on the 10th floor for a job requirement. There was a goverment office there that I had to interview at for a security clearence. Thatw as my only reason to be there that day.

As for staying on "The Pile". For some reason i felt I had to be there. In the first moments after the towers fell alot of folks just started looking around trying to find people and help in any way they could. I was not a responder at the time, I had no training in rescue, nothing. I was just a pair of hands, eyes and ears trying to help. I got on a bucket brigade with the Jersey City Fire Dept and just passed buckets of debris. Time just stood still I didnt realize how much time had passed between shifts or what evere you wanted to call them. Things I did see I dont want to ever see again.

Some things of that day I just dont remeber. I have tried but they are just not memories I have.

It was after therapy to get me over things that I started looking into EMS as a field. The strong urge I felt that day to help others always stayed with me. Its not THE reason I became an EMT but an underlying one.

Since that time I have not gone back, I have not been near, I have not been part of any of the ceramonies. It took me 9 years to deal with that day, to be strong enough. This past December (12/11/10) my squad was asked to be an escort for some WTC Steel to a 9/11 Memorial in Wayne,NJ. Here is what I posted in another thread.

It was a wonderful day all around. We had close to 100 apperatus from over 20 services (fire, ems, pd). My squad sent one rig unfortunatly because we couldn't get mutual aid to cover our area so we left the duty crew behind to cover :unsure: Full dress whites and we looked good :whistle:

Got to the meeting spot which was at a rigging company that already had the beam on a low boy drapped in the Red, White, and Blue. As we all arrived the staff of the company was outside to shake each and every one of our hands, no not just occasionally but EVERY person. They also had a nice table set up with coffee and bagles. I looked at it as they know they were contracted to move the steel but it was OUR steel, it was about US.

Well after a little time and getting everyone organized the escort began. Local PD shut everything down, intersections, side roads, commercial driveways, then the highway. When we got onto the highway the PD shut all 3 northbound lanes and the procession went 3 wide witht he steel in the lead and us following. It was amazing to see folks in the southbound lanes pull over out of respect. No not alot but the ones that did really made it special.

Eventually we made it off the highway and snaked through town (about one mile, maybe more, long) and thats when bystandards were about. Every street had folks snapping pictures waving and saluting. One couple in particular really got me. Old couple sitting on lawn chairs on their front side walk with a sign saying Remeber Pearl Harbor Day Dec 7th. The wife was sitting in the chair waving a little American Flag while he stood at perfect attention, in what looked like an old dress uniform, saluting every single rig that went by. I thought I even noticed a tear.

We get to where the monument was being errected at a local church in the town. There was two huge ladder trucks at nearly full extention holding a huge American Flag between them. It was amazing to drive under it on our way to the staging area. After staging the rigs we all proceeded to the outside of the church for the ceremony. All the service personel lined up at parade rest awaiting the steel to come by. With an Emerald Society escort and The Colors carried by military personel we all snapped to attention and saluted as the steel went by.

It was errected into a granite base and what will be a beautiful flower garden in the spring. After a touching eulogy by the church's minister and some speeches from a Senator, a Congressmen, the Mayor and the Fire Cheif there was a long moment of silence followed by Amazing Grace on the bag pipes. The Colors were dismissed and the public was asked to move aside and let the service personel come foward and pay their respects first.

Ok I was good up until this part. I had a somber mood all day, who wouldn't, but I was holding it together well. Quick backstory so you know why this part means so much to me. On 9/11 I lost twenty six friends then spent 3 days on The Pile seeing horrendous things. I never went to a funeral, I never went to a memorial, I never went back. This was my first memorial I finally felt strong enough to attend. 9 years later I finally had the strength. Well I start the walk up to the memorial and emmotions start welling up. Each step felt heavier then the last. I reach the steel and kneel before it and say a prayer then get up and reach out to touch the steel. I instantly am transported back to that first night on the pile and everything comes crashing back to me. I make my way back to my rig and tears are flowing. I notice no one or anything. Next i feel a hand on my shoulder and it is the Fire Cheif. He tells me to let it out and if I think I am the only one doing it to look around. Their had to be 50 or 60 guys doing the exact same thing. Same as that day 9 years ago. All of a sudden I feel this huge weight lift and almost a warmth roll over me. I finally have closuer and it feels great.

It only seems fitting that on our way back to our building we get a 911 call and respond. In full dress whites and all we respond and do our jobs like it was any other day.

Well I know you all wanted me to make EMS proud and I believe I did. It was another day I will always remember.

Well thats my 9/11 story. Its a day that will stay with me forever so will the 12/11/10 memorial day.

Stay Safe Everyone. Support Our Troops. If You Don't Stand Behind What Our Troops Are Doing Please Stand In Front Of Them. I Will Never Forget.

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Medic One, thank you for sharing. It can be hard to look back but it makes you stronger. All the best....

UGLyEMT thank you for sharing your story. It is unimaginable; what the country went through. Innocent people died and for what? I am glad you made it through and your will to help others is clearly shown. All the best and be safe....

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I've posted this before, but since you asked... It's our generation's defining event- like where were you when JFK was shot, or Pearl Harbor before that. Everyone remembers what they were doing on those days.

My son was in 8th grade, I was dropping him off at school. I had a morning radio show on- the usual happy talk, mixed with news and traffic. As we pulled up to the school, the usually glib duo and their news reader suddenly got very serious. I knew immediately it was not a skit. They said that there was an explosion at the WTC- possible hit by a plane or missile. I dropped off my son- he was oblivious at this point. I got home- 5 minutes later and flipped on CNN just as the 2nd plane hit. I simply could not believe what I was seeing. I yelled for my wife to come out of the bedroom- she was getting dressed for work, and they replayed the 2nd strike.

To make a long story short, she works at a university and is among tons of high profile targets. I began thinking our city may be next- and apparently we were supposed to be if it were not for the passengers of Flight 93. She wanted to go to work(she is in charge of a bunch of people and wanted to be there to tell them what to do), I advised her against it, but we made contingency plans for our immediate family in case something happened here. I spent the entire day glued to the TV, expecting the worst- if not an emergency recall, but both never came. I am in the flight path of O'hare- 5 minutes away- and every minute or so a plane comes over us. Once all air traffic was grounded, the skies were eerie and quiet. It was one of the scariest things I have ever witnessed- looking up and seeing and hearing absolutely nothing. I debated going to NYC, but I had 2 little girls at home and if something happened here, I needed to be with them.

The next day I went to work, and at the time I worked in the worst area of the city- averaged 30 runs in 24 hours. One thing I will never forget is being in a somber mood all day, with occasional fits of anger and disgust when I realized that most of the ghetto folk had no idea their country had been attacked, nor did they even care after we told them. We call it the land that time forgot for a reason- nothing changes 24/7, as long as it does not keep them from getting what they want, it's all good.

I take my hat off to anyone who worked on the Pile. The physical, mental, and emotional trauma must be incredible. We all lost brothers and sisters that day, and for awhile, we were also united as a nation.

Too bad that did not last.

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I have stated my story on several threads here but will stich it all together for you as I feel it is a full circle now.

Since that time I have not gone back, I have not been near, I have not been part of any of the ceramonies. It took me 9 years to deal with that day, to be strong enough. This past December (12/11/10) my squad was asked to be an escort for some WTC Steel to a 9/11 Memorial in Wayne,NJ. Here is what I posted in another thread.

Well thats my 9/11 story. Its a day that will stay with me forever so will the 12/11/10 memorial day.

Stay Safe Everyone. Support Our Troops. If You Don't Stand Behind What Our Troops Are Doing Please Stand In Front Of Them. I Will Never Forget.

Ugly,

I can't even imagine...as I stated in my post I was not in EMS yet but to this day I still have a hard time watching footage regarding that tragic day. I was working at a summer camp which I work at frequently a few years ago and one night on the off day between sessions the staff turned on a movie in the dining hall and it was World Trade Center with Nicholas Cage and a few others that I am not remembering right now. I started to watch it and as things started to get moving in the movie I had to walk out and cry. I to this day have never seen that entire movie. Now I told you that story to lead into this I am not a man that cry's easily at least not usually and while I was reading your story I cried. If we ever run into each other out in the big bad world, I would be honored to sit next to you and buy you a drink.

I've posted this before, but since you asked... It's our generation's defining event- like where were you when JFK was shot, or Pearl Harbor before that. Everyone remembers what they were doing on those days.

My son was in 8th grade, I was dropping him off at school. I had a morning radio show on- the usual happy talk, mixed with news and traffic. As we pulled up to the school, the usually glib duo and their news reader suddenly got very serious. I knew immediately it was not a skit. They said that there was an explosion at the WTC- possible hit by a plane or missile. I dropped off my son- he was oblivious at this point. I got home- 5 minutes later and flipped on CNN just as the 2nd plane hit. I simply could not believe what I was seeing. I yelled for my wife to come out of the bedroom- she was getting dressed for work, and they replayed the 2nd strike.

To make a long story short, she works at a university and is among tons of high profile targets. I began thinking our city may be next- and apparently we were supposed to be if it were not for the passengers of Flight 93. She wanted to go to work(she is in charge of a bunch of people and wanted to be there to tell them what to do), I advised her against it, but we made contingency plans for our immediate family in case something happened here. I spent the entire day glued to the TV, expecting the worst- if not an emergency recall, but both never came. I am in the flight path of O'hare- 5 minutes away- and every minute or so a plane comes over us. Once all air traffic was grounded, the skies were eerie and quiet. It was one of the scariest things I have ever witnessed- looking up and seeing and hearing absolutely nothing. I debated going to NYC, but I had 2 little girls at home and if something happened here, I needed to be with them.

The next day I went to work, and at the time I worked in the worst area of the city- averaged 30 runs in 24 hours. One thing I will never forget is being in a somber mood all day, with occasional fits of anger and disgust when I realized that most of the ghetto folk had no idea their country had been attacked, nor did they even care after we told them. We call it the land that time forgot for a reason- nothing changes 24/7, as long as it does not keep them from getting what they want, it's all good.

I take my hat off to anyone who worked on the Pile. The physical, mental, and emotional trauma must be incredible. We all lost brothers and sisters that day, and for awhile, we were also united as a nation.

Too bad that did not last.

Herbie I can not agree more with what you have said. I too live close to what could have been a high profile target I live very close to a major Naval Air Station here on the west coast, and you know there is something very eerie going on when all you hear is F/A 18 Hornets going afterburner over you and that is all you hear...our roads were dead and our skies were empty. The thing that hit me the most is that we have a major rail line through my hometown were trains pass through at least once an hour that day and for the next three days we never had a single train go through, talk about eerie.

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  • 3 weeks later...

September 11th made my life what it is today. I was in the seventh grade.

It started out as any school day, first class of the day was Current Events as we were reading the paper and writing our summary of the stories in the paper. Then all of sudden out principal came running into the class and turned on the TV telling us to watch it. We stared at the TV and we were all uncertain as to what was happening and what would happen. After going to my next class which was Math we had a test, the teacher stated that nothing had happened and that the rumors were just trying to prevent us from taking the test. She handed out the tests and left the room, she never did return to class that day. We finished our test in record time and turned on the TV.

Our school eventually turned off all of the TV's in the school and instructed all the teachers to go on as planned and not to get off subject. Not very many teachers followed the directions, however we had to hover around the computers to see what was going on.

This was the one day in my life that changed it forever, I saw the dedication of the men and women and knew that I wanted to be them. So my journey began. I obtained my NREMT-B during my summer break between by Junior/Senior year of High School. After graduating I have obtained my NREMT-P and FF-II certifications and am on a volunteer Fire Department and a career Paramedic.

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