As September 11th approaches I can’t help but feel really really sad. Sometimes I look through my photos that I collected from various places. It never gets easier to think about that day even now that two years has past. I remember it clearly. On September 10th, 2001 I was down at AOL in Virginia having a security meeting.
I drove home to New York with my co-workers, and I got to bed rather late. I woke up in the morning to my ambulance pager going off. I figured it was a normal chest pain call or such. Then I heard the dispatcher. It was chaos. (The same kind of chaos we had in the first few minutes of the Blackout of 2003.)
I met up with my coordinators down on 67th Street in about a minute. From the time I got out of bed to the time I met up with them, I had no idea what had happened. Andy, one of my ambulance coordinators, said a small plane had hit the towers. As Andy and David and I drove down to the WTC we were getting ready mentally for a small incident with maybe a few floors damaged and some loss of life. We parked down on Fulton Street, just east of Broadway. From there we walked to the east side of the towers. Looking up you could tell something much worse than a small plane had hit. Papers were falling everywhere, and we could see many floors blown out.
Andy, David, and I walked to West Street (the west side of the towers) to meet up with other units from my ambulance company. It was when we were over there planning to walk down to the south side of the tower when a huge chunk of the south tower flew out over West Street. We evacuated up to Chambers Street in an ambulance, and after the debris cleared out of the air we went back to help. It was dark as night when the debris was all around us. You couldn’t see anything.
That day I took 2 people from the towers. Both of them maintenance workers from the WTC. Most of the rest of the day was spent on the Upper East Side covering for 911 calls. I went on a few 911 runs, and that night I went back down to the towers to help out. When we were waiting in line with my ambulance to assist we got an ambulance call on the Upper East Side so I had to respond back to my district.
The rest of the week pretty much I just did ambulance calls or errands or whatever I could think to do that was helpful. I am leaving out lots of stuff from that horrible day, and that week, because it’s really hard to think about. Even now. Two years later. If it weren’t for the blackout a few weeks ago I would probably be doing better this year. That whole experience was so much like 9/11, but luckily the night turned in to more of a party than a bad thing. It was just the first 2 hours or so of that night that really got to me. The time when I knew something really bad had happened, but I wasn’t sure what, and we didn’t know how long we’d be in the dark.
I really need for 2004 to be uneventful. I just need one year to go by without some big incident, and then maybe I can not be such a flake when September rolls around. My heart goes out to all the families that lost love ones. For them every September will be a sad time. The Shapiros are one such family. Sareve Dukat was the mother of my ex-girlfriend Athena Dawn Shapiro, and her sister Lauren Rebecca Shapiro who was also a close friend of mine. I dated Athena when she lived at home with her parents. I spent a lot of time around her mother. Athena invited me to her mother’s memorial service. It was hard for me, but I went because I knew it was harder for Athena and Lauren to be there. Sareve was only 53 years old. Her life was stolen from her. It makes me ill just to think about how thousands of families were affected by WTC, Pentagon, and Pennsylvania plane crashes.