Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

Ten years ago today, I was sleeping in because I'd worked late the night before.  My cell phone rang and it was my boyfriend at the time, Nate, who was a sheriff's deputy.  "Turn on the tv," he said abruptly, then, "I'm going to Higginsville PD to watch television."  He hung up.  My first reaction was irritation that he woke me up, and then puzzlement that he was watching television while he was on duty.  I turned on the television in time to see the second plane hit the World Trade Center. 

The most poignant memory I have of the news coverage of that day is seeing some footage of the rubble of the World Trade Center and hearing the eerie whistles of the PASS devices belonging to firefighters trapped in all that concrete and steel.  I remember grabbing the hand of my partner at work (although, oddly, I cannot recall who I was working with) and we stood there crying as we watched that.  Three hundred forty-three.  Even people not in the fire service know what that number represents.

Today I pause to remember those firefighters lost, along with the police officers and civilians who also lost their lives on that awful day.  But now, ten years later, I also pause to think about the people who survived.  People like Matt Komorowski, an FDNY firefighter who was trapped in a stairwell at World Trade Center along with five other members of his Ladder Company and a woman they were helping to evacuate.  That's Komorowski's helmet in the photo.  He keeps it in a glass case in his living room, still covered with the dust from that day.  That helmet is a symbol to me of survival.  September 11, 2001 represents a a terrible loss of life, but it is also the most successful rescue operation that FDNY has ever conducted.  Today I mourn those lost, but I also celebrate those who survived.

Photo copyright National Geographic. 
That photo, and others that are part of a collection of survivors' stories,
can be seen by clicking on the highlighted text.


  1. You're right about the magnitude and success of the rescue operation. I grossly overslept that morning, and knew nothing about it until 10:30 AM Central Time, when it was all over. I was working for the KC Parks & Rec Department at the time, and we spent the day haunting the conference room watching the replay of the images from New York and Washington. I was under the horrific impression that the towers had come down right after the planes had hit, and that nearly all the occupants had been lost. Thank God I was wrong, and they had some time to get out. And thank God for the NYFD and NYPD, who sacrificed so much so so many could be saved.

  2. I will never forget. And spend each year on 9/11 watching videos and crying all day. I don't go to work on 9/11 as I work in a high rise federal building and don't feel like it's a good day for me to go in. It was a horrible day that will forever be ingrained in my memory.

    I have read this post before but guess I didn't comment.

    I noticed you have commented on my blog before (1914 Foursquare). Just wanted to spread the word that I've been criminally charged by my city for restoring my house. The full story is on my blog:

    Trying to get as much support as I can from the community.

  3. Yikes, Nina, I read your post and commented. I will send emails.