September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document

Local Union:

Story:Prior to any suggestions from myself (Benefit Funds Manager of the 1115 Benefit Funds) or any other leadership, I am proud to say that our staff took the initiative to raise money and coordinate the gathering and distribution to local firehouses for delivery into NYC a number of leftover (and outdated, given our merger with 1199) 1115 T-shirts, rain ponchos and the like from our storage facility. P>Rather than leave our building for a religious service as suggested by President Bush, they have organized a service here on premises at noon today. Our staff has lost friends and family in this tragedy, and has had family emerge from the Towers, alive but emotionally scarred. In response to my own daughter's reaction to the tragedy, I wrote [this] piece and have shared it with a few friends and family. P> P>My 14 year old daughter's eyes well up with tears, her lips trembling, her face reflecting her heart's sorrow, the pain she feels for a classmate's grief, the death of his father atop the World Trade Center. An innocent's sense of security, of inviolability, of America's safeness, eviscerated by Evil's explosion, fire, smoke, thunder, a shower of paper falling from the sky, caught in the wind's waves, myriad slivers of glass sparkling in the brightness of the perfect late summer morning. A second, even more horrific and thunderous explosion, as tons of streaming steel slice through the second tower, jet fuel igniting and incinerating all in its path. An innocent's tearful eyes. A mother's heart breaking, unable to know words that can truly relieve, offering but a warm embrace, enveloping her in her empty shield. The horrors intensify. An earthquake's rumbling, molten steel girders collapsing, glass, steel, concrete imploding, a mushroom cloud of dust and debris, caught in the concrete canyons of lower Manhattan, a blistering blast following the contours of the city's corridors, chasing fleeing people, frightened, confused, seeking refuge, minds' racing, asking why amidst fragmented flashing images. A young man next door, working in a building neighboring the Towers, egress blocked by debris, climbing over concrete and steel and body parts to escape, scarred, bawling in his mothers arms when finally making it home, having trudged, dazed, through the city, over the bridge and into Queens, dust-covered hair and clothes, leg bloodied, suit pant torn. A coworker's brother, home, survivor of the first blast 8 years ago, again surviving, his office 8 floors from the first point of impact, having walked down 70 flights of stairs, feeling the second impact in the Tower next door, its effects bursting water pipes, flooding the stairwell, fleeing upward from the 4th floor back to 7th before finding a dry stairwell moments before breaking a 7th floor window seeking escape, running, one block away before the Tower collapses. Another co-worker losing a friend, a passenger on one of the flights. What terror did she endure before fire and force extinguished her life? Rescuers crushed, ensnared in the tumbling rubble; few escape, telling stories of horrors seen and heard and felt; others but a legacy of courage, families widowed and orphaned, lives forever broken. And the innocent, her tears controlled now, sleeps fitfully, awakens, reluctantly dresses for school, attending school for a time, yet a school nurse calls home, 'please take you child home, it's like a hospital ward here, with children's illusions shattered to the core!' Carloads of children returning home 'sick', seeking the safety of home, the nest. Grieving still. Grieving forever. An innocent's life changed forever, one of how many, a generation of children. America forever changed. How do we respond to our children's grief? To their shattered illusions? How do we respond to the world?


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