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Thread: In Remembrance, 11 September 2001

  1. #1
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    In Remembrance, 11 September 2001

    11 September 2006

    This coming Monday is the 5th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) complex, the Pentagon, and on UA Flight #93 over Shanksville, PA. A total of 2,973 persons were killed that day. Another 24 remain missing.

    I will be flying my flag proudly on Monday “In Remembrance” of the victims and their families. Hope that you will join me in doing the same. Never forget. I won’t.

    On the morning of 11 September 2001, I was checking out of the hotel at the US Military Academy at West Point, NY following a conference. As I was passing through the main gate in a rental car toward Highland Falls and Newark International Airport, I heard the first announcement of a small plane striking one of the towers at the World Trade Center. Initially, this struck me as very odd. I thought to myself that a small plane would have to work hard to hit such an obvious building. Maybe the pilot had a medical emergency and lost control of the aircraft.

    About 15 minutes later, the radio announcer revealed that the second tower had been hit by another plane. The sky was clear and it was a beautiful day, no way this was accidental. I knew immediately that this was a deliberate attack and that terrorists were responsible. I continued on my way south along the Palisades Parkway and then the Garden State Parkway. Several emergency responders with blue lights flashing and rolling pretty fast passed me along the way. As I got closer to the Tappan Zee Bridge, I saw signs that said “New York City was Closed”. No traffic other than emergency vehicles were permitted.

    I continued on my way toward Newark airport. Just as I crossed into New Jersey on the Garden State Parkway, the radio announcer said that a 3rd plane had hit the Pentagon (my old office at 3C529 was obliterated in that instant). We were at war with someone. I needed to stop and collect my thoughts – what to do now? A rest stop with gas station was only about a mile ahead. I pulled in and stopped and just sat a few minutes. Get a coke and calm down some – what the heck is happening??? Is the airport even open now?? What about the rental car?? Try to call – fat chance – everything is busy. While debating with myself whether I should continue on to the airport, a northbound car pulled into the reststop. A guy staggered out of his car and sat down on the curb. I rushed over to see if I could assist. He just said that one of the World Trade Center towers just collapsed. I jumped back in my rental car and turned on the radio. I was stunned and in disbelief. The past hour had been surreal.

    In that single minute, my decision was clear. I am driving back to Virginia. Screw the rental car, I need to get home. I turned around and headed back the way I came. Back to I-87, then I-287 to I-78 to I-83 and south. All day I listened to reports on the radio. Plane crashing in Pennsylvania. Just words, no pictures, no TV, no CNN news reports. Lots of speculation and the images forming in my head were difficult to accept. The road rolled on. Tried to call home several times – no luck at all. Easton, Harrisburg, and York, PA Baltimore, MD then Washington, DC and out to Dulles Airport. Had to drop off the rental and pick up my car.

    As I approached the National Rental car gate, I noticed that it was closed. In fact, traffic at Dulles was nearly non-existent. Very unusual – a virtual ghost town. I stop at the gate and a guy came over and opened it. I told him that I was there to turn in the car. No charge for the car. No shuttles back to the parking lot. One of the National guys offered to drop me off in his personal car as he was departing. Got in my T-Bird and clicked on the radio. More talk and speculation. Four planes total. US airspace shut down completely.

    The guy at the parking lot toll booth waved me through. No charge today. Home was still about 45 minutes away. More radio reports. Both WTC towers gone. Pentagon still burning. Many people dead and dying. Still can’t call home.

    I pulled into my driveway at exactly 5 PM that night. My trip had been a full 8 hours from start to finish. My wife ran out to the car and just threw her arms around me. For a minute or maybe more we just stood there. Finally, she said “I know you too well …. I knew that you’d be driving back today”. If I said that I didn’t break down and cry briefly at that moment, I’d be lying. The rush of the past 8 hours completely enveloped me in that moment. In the car for so long I had not been able to share my building grief at all of the events of the day. Finally being at home with everyone safe and together, I lost control. There I said it.

    I went into the house and clicked on the TV to see the video and images that most everyone else had be seeing all day. Several birthday presents sat on the dining room table. There would be no party tonight. It took more than a week to even bring myself to open any of them. It just didn't seem appropriate.

    Over time, I would find out that 22 of the victims at the Pentagon were from Prince William County, VA were among the nearly 3,000 who died that day. One was an usher at our church. One of our VFD paramedics was in New York City on vacation. He died in the WTC collapse after he rushed from his nearby hotel to offer his help. Several other friends and acquaintences had close calls and near misses or just happened to be somewhere else when their offices were destroyed. I am still overwhelmed by the events of that day. Putting them down on paper like this kinda helps. Thanks for listening.
    Last edited by Bluerauder; 09-08-2006 at 12:38 PM.
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  2. #2
    VNMUS Guest
    This day is important to me for another reason as well. My daughter was born on 9/11 right in between the 1st and 2nd plane hitting the WTC. Because of this I try and keep the day up tempo. It's her 5th birthday on Monday

  3. #3
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    I was at work that fateful morning and just sat dumbfounded as the events unfolded. I cried after I got home that day and several days after just thinking about all the that died. Reading your story brought more tears to my eyes while I am again at work. My tears flow for the many people who were touched by that tragic event and I pray for all of us.

    WE WILL NEVER FORGET!!!!
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  4. #4
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    I did not know anyone on that day, but I felt it for all the others. My AMERICAN flag has been up on my house and will remain there, I want to replace it with a new one so it can be out all the time. My neighbor's son just out of high school went into the Marines. Toby Keiths "Angry American" song says it best, his rerun show on CMT last night still gave me chills. USA WE WILL NEVER FORGET!
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  5. #5
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    Charlie you pretty much know where I live and work considering we're very close to each other, we're also very close to the Pentagon, and in similar industries. So yeah, that day hit close to home in more ways than one. And not just here but in NYC and PA as well.

    My flag is always on the wall indoors, it'll go outdoors for the weekend through Monday. Already got one on the Marauder.
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  6. #6
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    I had just woke up and logged on to the internet. I saw a new ticker saying a plane "accidently" crashed into the WTC. I thought "stupid cessna(sp?)"

    Being from NY originally, I went down stairs and told Lisa and clicked on the news. I was just in time to catch the second plane. Like everyone else, I knew this was no accident.

    I remember going to work that day. After siging up to respond to NY if needed, I went to my assigned patrol area. The look on the faces of the other drivers was incredable. Everyone had the same blank stare was was driving slow. No planes in the sky, cell phone service was out to NY, no music on the radio...

    With all this going on, I got a call for service. Some guys kid had his bike stolen. I got there and with the same blank stare, I listen to this guy rant about how f-ed up things are because this bike is gone!

    I want to reply to this guy so bad!: Buddy, the world as you know it has just ended - and your *****ing about a bike?

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  7. #7
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    9/11

    My flag has been flood-lighted and flown since the first troops landed in Iraq and will continue as long as I am able to keep it that way. I witnessed the horrible events of 9/11 from the first TV news flash in the comfort of my den. The total shock, but not disbelief , was devastating. As an airline pilot, I could relive what the crews were going thru--we had trained for and discussed hijackings since the first one happened. This scenario had been discussed, but no one seemed capable of believing it could ever happen, at that time. I lost some dear friends that day--and will never forget them--they are heros in my mind. Modern Americans have the bad trait of forgetting quickly and not learning from the past . I cannot imagine not getting upset everytime 9/11 is mentioned--others just say "oh yea--has it been that long ?" In Ginny's and my families there are 11 service veterans--representing all services--and Patriotism is a way of life--but my own Grandkids are callus and disinterested when I start on my lecture on Patriotism---where did we go wrong??? It is up to us to keep the Flame of Patriotism burning bright--or the consequenses are unimaginable. God Bless All Who Serve and All Who Lost Their Lives That Fateful Day.
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  8. #8
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    My flag was up prior to 9-11. It has remained up. It will continue to fly until they step over my cold dead body to remove it. Perhaps not so much here on this site, but from what I see around, most peolpe have already forgotten. It was a wake up call, and the majority of Americans just hit the snooze button. I fear it may already be too late.
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  9. #9
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    I was running loads out of the Bronx to far Rockaway Queens. I had to head back to Queens to refuel and then return to the bronx for another load. When I returned to my shop I heard over the radio that Tower #1 was hit by a plane. I assumed like everyone else that some dopey pilot lost control or flew off course. I was then sent back to the Bronx and while crossing the Triboro Bridge I saw a clear shot of Tower#1 on fire. It was a surreal thing to look at, something I will never forget.
    I made it back to the Bronx and flipped on my mini TV. I turned it on just in time to catch the second plane fly into tower #2 and hear that the pentagon was struck.
    The forman of the job ran over and told me that there is a threat on the bridge and they are knocking off for the day. On my way back to Queens, One of the Towers fell. There is nothing more terrifing then looking over to my right while crossing the Triboro bridge like I have done 100's of times and seeing only one tower standing surrounded in smoke. by the time I made it off the bridge it came over the radio that the second tower had fallen.
    I made it back to my shop and just had this sinking feeling in my stomach the rest of the day as we watched the news reports coming in.
    Within 3 days, a faint Burning smell made it to my apartment in Queens and throughout most of the 5 Boroughs. It lasted over 2 weeks which was very eerie and disturbing.
    We had sent 4 tractor trailers down on our own dime to help the city with the rescue and recovery effort. Our company is even featured in photographs on a traveling 9/11 memorial that started out in Grand Central station and is making the rounds. We had a issue with some police officers on Canal street so we pulled all our trucks back and refused to work on site unless under a contract.
    I was sent down there 5 days later for 24 hours to erect a crane which was to demolish building #7. The westside highway looked like a giant junkyard, there were people standing along the entire route with signs and handing out drinks to anyone who was going in to help. The sadest part were the pictures that were posted all over the city from people asking if anyone knows where their loved ones were.
    Some children from the local schools made cards for the rescuers which I still have.

    I'll never forget what I saw down there.

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  10. #10
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    I was outside with about 70 HS students when the first plane hit. We came in and heard from other students about the first plane, and turned on the TV just in time to watch the second plane hit. For about 3 minutes we watched the TV - 70+ kids around one 25" screen.

    The bell rang and the kids went on about their day. They didn't really respond with panic or overwhelming grief like I know some people our age did. The teachers couldn't/didn't break down, either. Our message to the HS kids was basically "yes, I know, but we still have work to do." It seemed to work. They knew more than we did as they were on the internet already chatting about it, etc.

    We had to answer a lot of questions from the middle school kids as to what had happened and why, and we weren't even certain ourselves. Middle school kids like to tell you everything they know, so my classes with them later in the day weren't very productive. A few parents came and picked up their kids from school, but I doubt it was for safety reasons - probably more to just be together. No days off of school, and that was probably for the best.

    Of course, AFAIK there was only one person formerly from our state who was killed that day. And boy, did our local news stations try to break themselves in half to connect 9/11 to Iowa (it's as if nothing that happens is important unless it affects or is about us).

    I don't think anything stuns kids of HS age like it does us, or at least it doesn't seem like it. We grew up being scared of something - - I don't know if anything scares kids today. Maybe it should.
    Last edited by duhtroll; 09-08-2006 at 02:32 PM.
    Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it - what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone. -- Carlos Castaneda

  11. #11
    VNMUS Guest
    I was in the operating room with my (ex) wife.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEFYANT
    I had just woke up and logged on to the internet. I saw a new ticker saying a plane "accidently" crashed into the WTC. I thought "stupid cessna(sp?)"

    Being from NY originally, I went down stairs and told Lisa and clicked on the news. I was just in time to catch the second plane. Like everyone else, I knew this was no accident.

    I remember going to work that day. After siging up to respond to NY if needed, I went to my assigned patrol area. The look on the faces of the other drivers was incredable. Everyone had the same blank stare was was driving slow. No planes in the sky, cell phone service was out to NY, no music on the radio...

    With all this going on, I got a call for service. Some guys kid had his bike stolen. I got there and with the same blank stare, I listen to this guy rant about how f-ed up things are because this bike is gone!

    I want to reply to this guy so bad!: Buddy, the world as you know it has just ended - and your *****ing about a bike?
    You know I had a similar incident on that day with a senile old lady. About an hour after the second tower fell, I went to a call where the lady said someone stole her keys to her front door. She had a key ring with about thirty keys all the same to her front door. I was thinking to myself, "Maybe she IS better off not knowing whats going on". Anyway thats the only call I answered that day, funny how things slowdown and MOST people forget all the trivial BS that they call LE about. Anyway the very next night I flew an Alert CAP over a major US city and come first of OCT I was flying missions over A-Stan. My life hasn't been the same since, more active duty than Sheriff'n.

  13. #13
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    Everybody needs to visit this site; www.threefortythree.com . It is a tear-jerker - make sure your speakers are ON and make sure you forward it to everyone that you know. Email it to everyone. Never forget. Freedom isn't free.
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  14. #14
    I was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army assigned the 101st Airborne deployed to Camp Able Sentry in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

    At the time it happened, I was in a formation, receiving an award from the Base Commander.

    We went on alert right after it happened, (lots of Muslims in the Balkins) I spent a lot of time over the next week with a locked n' loaded M4 Carbine patrolling our perimeter.

    God Bless the families left behind.

    ...and may Bin Laden (and all those like him) die screaming.

  15. #15
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    On a related note, I spent Labor Day night going down to pick up injured at Balad AB, Iraq. Just thought I would share these pictures. While we were waiting for the patients I penned the note on the inside of the box the flag came in. It was for a local school.


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