Recalling 9/11

First I must apologize for being a day late, but definitely not a dollar short.

I recall 9/11 just as clear as a bell. Many of you don’t know I live kinda, sort of near the area of what was back then designated as “Ground Zero”, after the strikes. It’s about a half an hour walk because I know all of the shortcuts. If I take public transportation that’s another story. . . . . .

Anyway, back in on that day, it was a beautiful and sunny morning. I had just gotten up and was prepared to go out and jog, when I heard two things out of the ordinary. One, a very loud jet engine, then a loud thunder clap. The jet engine I did not think strange because we used to get low flying jets on their way to and from the airports all the time. Especially when the weather is cloudy.

The thunder clap I thought strange because it was sunny out. I turned on the radio and heard Curtis Sleiwa (head of the New York City Guardian Angels) on the WABC morning show announce that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.

I personally wondered how in the world could someone do that. After all, the World Trade Centers were the biggest things on the New York City skyline! One had to be BLIND not to see them! An accident perhaps?

I immediately turned on my TV to confirm. I was greeted with the sight of one building in flames, and watched with horror as another plane crashed into the second tower, then all television coverage went down. Why?

Because at the time all New York City communications, radio, television, emergency transmissions were being beamed from one of the World Trade Center buildings (I forget which one, but it had a huge broadcast tower on it). WABC happened to be one the few stations how had back up towers in New Jersey. Everyone else’s were dead.

I spent that day and the resulting year or so in horror. The resulting and lingering aftermath was the dust and the smell, and like a lot of people in my neighborhood, I got sick and stayed sick with constant colds and flu symptoms. They didn’t tell us until much later, that we were breathing in toxins.

There was no where for me to get away from the smell the dust and the horror. I work for NYPD and I’d go to work and watch the guys come back from “The Pile” with their dark blue uniforms covered in dust and ash. As I said before, no one told them that they were covered in toxins that would both sicken and eventually kill some.

Now 11 years later the pictures, are still hard to look at. Especially moving and heartbreaking are the photos and videos of people jumping from the windows . . . . .

The announcers keep saying that nearly three thousand people died because of 911. Between the direct hits on the towers, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA. I honor that total but I must also honor those who have died and were sickened as a result of rescue efforts and exposure to toxins.

That list is still growing, and I will never forget . . . . . .


2 comments on “Recalling 9/11

  1. Hi Nanci, You have mentioned something I didn’t hear once all day yesterday, and that is the mounting total of deaths and disease caused by the attacks of 9/11. We’re kind of ego-centric about it, being New Yorkers, but others at the Pentagon and survivors of those who perished in Shanksville grieve as well. I remember advising my brigade commander NOT to go to Ground Zero in the week following the attack. The general told me he would consider my advice, but went anyway. I told him if he went he should wear his protective mask, he did not. When a building the size of the World Trade Center towers literally disintegrates into the air one would have to stop and thing about what that white dust is. Many did not, and considered the lives of others before using personal protective equipment (PPE). However, I consider it the failure of the leadership of every organization who were responsible for workers at the site not to enforce strict adherence to PPE. It’s as simple as what we’re told on an airliner before take-off, “if the cabin should lose pressure, put the oxygen mask on your face before assisting a child.” Many workers used face masks designed for surgeons, but these surgical masks were not designed for someone who needs to work and move in them, so many pictures of workers showed the mask shoved to one side, or drooping under their chins. I saw very few workers with respirators on, but even most of those had no eye protection. Respirators, to be effective must be fit tested, and then used properly, and then the filters changed, sometimes hourly. I understand these items were not readily available, and that is probably one of the biggest reasons the government is paying for the health care of 9/11 workers/first responders. It is the right thing to do. But how far have we come in being prepared for a similar event?

    • I agree. When I look at the old photos of the First Responders who are covered from head to toe in that white dust, I wonder how many of them are alive, and healthy today. Many have died of mysterious cancers and ailments, still others have been forced to retire and live as practical invalids. Yes, the government did lie, it’s just sad many did not use common sense and wear protective gear. So many wouldn’t have died or be sick now.

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