September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Story:I am a Sergeant with the NYPD. On September 11, 2001 I was home when the first plane hit. I kissed my wife good-bye and jumped in my car (later she wasn't sure if I was dead or alive). I got to the WTC shortly after the second plane hit. When I got to Liberty & West Sts. I witnessed between 6-10 people jumping from around the 100th floor of the North Tower. I had my wedding reception at Windows on the World and went there for my anniversary each year. I tried to figure out how I would relate this to my wife ... if at all. I was about to go into the Marriott Hotel when a Deputy Commissioner grabbed me so that we could find PC Kerik together. We found Kerik on Barclay Street where I was asked to find Barry Mawn of the FBI. I was going south on Church Street, the east border of WTC near Fulton Street when the South Tower collapsed. I hid behind a NYPD-ESU truck (REP)with a few others. The debris peppeered the truck almost severing the hand of the person next to me. The most dangerous moment was the dust. I've been told that each floor of the tower had a million pounds of concrete. When that dropped on me ALL SIGHT AND SOUND WENT AWAY. I was holding my breath, peeking through my fingers. The lack of sight was rough, but the lack of sound was worse. Only a few seconds before was the loudest noise you've ever heard. Now, because it was so quiet, I thought I was the only person alive in NYC. I went to take a breath. I can only say it was like putting your face in a bag of flour, sealing it around your face and breathing. The dust filled my throat and lungs completely. Now I was sure everyone was dead and I was about to die also. I tried using my hankie to breathe with little positive results. I then pulled my suit jacket right over my head and wrapped it tight around my face. That helped greatly. I knew the truck I was behind faced south. I felt it and oriented myself north and started crawling. At Barclay and Church Sts. a kid named Jonathan Stewart, from a nearby High School, pulled me into St. Peter's Church. In the church were 4-5 others with more coming in. We cut strips of priest's robes and altar cloths so that people had face masks and bandages. I left just before Fr. Mychal Judge got there. I was on the street about 2 - 3 blocks away when the North Tower fell. I then went to a local Police Station, showered with my clothes on (to supress the dust) and returned to WTC. Eventually I found my way to the morgue where I helped catalogue victims until 3 AM. Wednesday the 12th found me on the bucket brigade around 6:00 AM. On the 12th Det. Pete Friscia and I recovered an Anmerican Flag from in front of 4WTC that flew on the Space Shuttle in December. I was at Ground Zero for 21 of the next 24 days.
Life Changed:I've been to Washington DC (1x) Riverside, CA (1x) and London (3x) to speak about 9/11, I've met the President, George Bush and the Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair. In February my wife and I always went to Windows on the World for our anniversary. This year we went to Hawaii. I really just wanted to get far away from NY. I haven't felt an overwhelming change. On September 10th I was patriotic, God fearing and hard working. I'm all those things today, maybe more so. I'm not sad or depressed. I don't know if I'm supposed to be. I just know that any nation that doesn't stand with us should be considered our enemy. Regardless of how much oil they have.
Should be remembered:The terrorists plotted and planned for years. They were promised heaven and virgins and who knows what else. Our 400+ fireman and cops and EMTs didn't have a chance to plan. The call went out and they responded. I'd bet as the building came down some of those heroes were worried about going to heaven. After all, people have faults. So without the years of planning or the promise of heaven we sent over 400 against their 19. Some people worry what chance we have against such a dedicated enemy. I say what chance do they have against us
Flag:I had a flagpole in front of my house. My wife went and ran the flag up and saw other neighbors doing the same. It seems we all had one but didn't fly them. I've rescued a flag from Ground Zero, given one to Tony Blair and had one flown for me in an F-15 over Afghanistan (15 bombs --- ON TARGET). I LOVE THE FLAG and God help anyone who would burn it in my presence.