Sunday, September 12, 2010

Man In the Red Bandanna

Nine years later and everything is still clear as it was that morning. I was in high school. I was sitting in the back of building A, Mr Dillon's history class. The last seat in the room staring out the window wishing I was back home doing something else other than listening to him speak. A woman came in and spoke quietly to Mr Dillon. I couldn't hear because I was in the back of the room, but the kids in the front of the room began talking and a can distinctly remember a girl's face. Panic. Tears sprang up into her eyes like a faucet and she began to shout, "My mom! My mom!", over and over again. The woman who came in quickly escorted her out of the room. That was when Mr Dillon announced to the class that the Twin Towers had been hit. They were both standing still, but they knew it wasn't an accident. The rest of the day, it was a blur. As much as the teachers attempted to teach, no one focused. It always somehow came back around to the Towers. On the car ride home, my friend's and I talked about what was going on and when I arrived home, the TV was on and I could see it for myself.
It was real. My sister was home and she had the phone in her hand. Her boyfriend's father was working nearby and they couldn't get a hold of him. They were in a panic. I sat and stared at the screen for a long time that day.
Then, my mother came home and told us of Welles. My mother's coworker left early because her son was in the tower. He called and told her he was okay. However, he never made it home. He worked in the 2nd tower as an equities trader, but that day, he was a firefighter. He helped a ton of people down to their safety saving their lives, but losing his own. He was a true hero that day, along with everyone else that gave their life. Welles' full story can be read here, along with all of the wonderful trusts, funds and scholarships that were made in his name.
For a while, I didn't want to go there. In fact, it took me 8 years to walk down and around ground zero. I wanted to keep the memories that I had of the towers, the ones of them still standing. But last year I went and walked around for the first time. It was emotional for me. I stopped in on a fire house and tears came to my eyes as I read the names and saw the pictures of the men who lost their lives. It was a scary time. Having it so close to home and not knowing. For Chancho, Sept 11th gave him all he needed to sign up to become a police officer. He was already a volunteer firefighter and in the Air Force, but he felt like he needed to do more.
September eleventh. I won't be forgetting it. I won't be forgetting all of the men and women who were lost that day and those who continue to fight for us today.

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m.
Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes.
Time they took to fall: 12 seconds.
Total number killed in attacks: 2,819
Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343 

Number of NYPD officers: 23
Number of Port Authority police officers: 37

Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402
Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614
Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115
Age of the greatest number who died: between 35 and 39
Bodies found "intact": 289

Body parts found: 19,858
Number of families who got no remains: 1,717
Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609
Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051
Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20
Number of funerals attended by Rudy Giuliani in 2001: 200
Number of FDNY vehicles destroyed: 98
Tons of debris removed from site: 1,506,124
Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99


Listening to:

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