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Old 09-10-2008, 07:39 AM   #1
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No other historical event in the lifetime of a ˜baby boomer' had the heart stopping impact of September 11, 2001. You can't remember what you had for dinner yesterday, but your actions that day are galvanized in your mind. But do you REALLY remember?

Recently, I watched a cross made from the World Trade Center steel be transported from Staten Island, NY, through New Jersey and off to a firehouse in western Pennsylvania. With a caravan of hundreds of motorcycles, fire trucks, etc., traffic was backed up for miles on Routes 287 and 78 in New Jersey. Listening to the negative comments from the truckers on the CB radio, it was evident THEY HAD FORGOTTEN.

Here is my tale.

For me, 9/11 started off as a glorious clear morning. I had meetings scheduled in mid-town Manhattan for that morning so I left my house around 6 AM for the drive from western NJ to New York City. I parked my car near the Lincoln Tunnel and walked the mile cross town. Past the Port Authority bus terminal, past Times Square, past the Chrysler Building and past Grand Central Station. I bought a great New York bagel and sat down to read the paper at table inside the Daily News building. My meetings were across 42nd Street at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

I don't know about you, but I seem to ˜minimize' events that I can't immediately comprehend. The events of 9/11 were so catastrophic, at first my brain just couldn't comprehend what was going on – even though I was only about a mile from the World Trade Center.

First I noticed the sound of fire truck sirens. More than usual, but hey, this was New York City. You always hear sirens. Next a group of people walked by and I could hear one talking about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I'm thinking, no big deal, probably some errant Cessna or something. Within minutes, all h@#% began to break loose. Security appeared from no where. IDs were being checked at the door where previously you just waltzed right in. Hmmm, I wonder why my cell phone isn't working.

I jay-walked across 42nd Street to Pfizer and called the admin to get my visitor pass. I STILL just didn't get what was going on. The admin got me a pass but mentioned that the meeting may be cancelled because of ˜what happened'. I thought to myself ˜What did happen?' It just wasn't sinking in.

I went to find my meeting room and passed another conference room that had a TV on. Holy COW! It wasn't any Cessna but a jumbo jet – TWO of them! One in to each tower! No wonder my cell phone doesn't work. I found an office and tried to call my wife – ˜BEEEE DEEEE BEEEE, All circuits are busy. Please try your call again later." I must have heard that message 500 times that day.

Remember Manhattan is an ISLAND. Hudson River on one side, East River on the other. Bridges – CLOSED. Tunnels – CLOSED. Ferries – CLOSED. SUBWAYS – CLOSED. You were trapped.

Then the ˜announcement' came. The Pfizer CEO got on the PA system and said:

˜We are keeping the building open but please stay away from the windows on the 43rd Street side which faces the Israeli Embassy and the United Nations'.

It was time to work the phones and ˜get out of Dodge'. I was going to get out of that building under my own power. Fortunately the office phone did work if you called a Manhattan phone number. Hey, I call my friend's aunt who lives in NYC. Negative, she just left for London two days ago. Hey, I'll call my old boss, he has an apartment on 12th Street and 5th Ave. Bingo, he was home and said to come over.

As I walked the thirty blocks to his apartment, I couldn't help but feel that I was in a surreal Godzilla movie. The throngs of people moving north, away from the ˜monster', while idiotic me was moving south towards the disaster. Stores closed with hand made signs. Strangers gathering around parked taxi cabs listening to the radio. Dazed people walking aimlessly covered in dust.

From the balcony on the 15th floor of his apartment, we looked down 5th Avenue and saw the burning pile that once was the Twin Towers. The wind was blowing all the smoke east toward Brooklyn.

At about 5pm, we saw on the TV that they were starting to open the GW bridge to traffic. So back out onto the street, trudging north to the parking deck. When I got to my car, I heard that they were opening up the Lincoln Tunnel – right by where I was parked! But then I remembered what I did the night of Sept. 10. I hosted a Cub Scout meeting at a local park. Our event? Setting off model rockets! So my trunk was FILLED with explosive rocket engines, rockets that looked like missiles, those electrical devices you use to ignite EXPLOSIVE rocket engines. NOT the kind of cargo you want to be caught with on Sept. 11, 2001. I imagined a dutiful Port Authority police officer throwing me in jail with every other suspected terrorist picked up that day...

So I made my way up the West Side Highway to the George Washington Bridge. Needless to say, traffic was stop and go with the emphasis on STOP. The radio waves were filled with non-stop news reports, theories, and information about the other tragedies at the Pentagon and in a field in western Pennsylvania.

After four hours of sitting in traffic, I finally got across the bridge, into NJ, and was able to FINALLY get in touch with my wife and family. No one had heard from me since about 6 AM when I left the house. Joyful relief is a gross understatement.

In the days, months, and years to come, we learned, and still learn of the impact that this had on our lives. One of my T-ball coaches in the town baseball league I ran, gone. The husband of a grammar school classmate, gone. A coach in the next town over, gone. All with wives and kids that still carry this loss to this day.

So on this Sept. 11, remember the events of that day. Tell your kids and grandkids where you were and how you felt. Let your emotions flow and your patriotism show. But, MOST OF ALL, REMEMBER how that day affected ALL AMERICANS and changed us FOREVER.

God bless all those who lost their lives that day. God bless all their families and loved ones. God bless our armed forces in their fight against terrorism. God bless the rescuers. AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!
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Old 09-10-2008, 07:39 AM   #2
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No other historical event in the lifetime of a ˜baby boomer' had the heart stopping impact of September 11, 2001. You can't remember what you had for dinner yesterday, but your actions that day are galvanized in your mind. But do you REALLY remember?

Recently, I watched a cross made from the World Trade Center steel be transported from Staten Island, NY, through New Jersey and off to a firehouse in western Pennsylvania. With a caravan of hundreds of motorcycles, fire trucks, etc., traffic was backed up for miles on Routes 287 and 78 in New Jersey. Listening to the negative comments from the truckers on the CB radio, it was evident THEY HAD FORGOTTEN.

Here is my tale.

For me, 9/11 started off as a glorious clear morning. I had meetings scheduled in mid-town Manhattan for that morning so I left my house around 6 AM for the drive from western NJ to New York City. I parked my car near the Lincoln Tunnel and walked the mile cross town. Past the Port Authority bus terminal, past Times Square, past the Chrysler Building and past Grand Central Station. I bought a great New York bagel and sat down to read the paper at table inside the Daily News building. My meetings were across 42nd Street at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

I don't know about you, but I seem to ˜minimize' events that I can't immediately comprehend. The events of 9/11 were so catastrophic, at first my brain just couldn't comprehend what was going on – even though I was only about a mile from the World Trade Center.

First I noticed the sound of fire truck sirens. More than usual, but hey, this was New York City. You always hear sirens. Next a group of people walked by and I could hear one talking about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I'm thinking, no big deal, probably some errant Cessna or something. Within minutes, all h@#% began to break loose. Security appeared from no where. IDs were being checked at the door where previously you just waltzed right in. Hmmm, I wonder why my cell phone isn't working.

I jay-walked across 42nd Street to Pfizer and called the admin to get my visitor pass. I STILL just didn't get what was going on. The admin got me a pass but mentioned that the meeting may be cancelled because of ˜what happened'. I thought to myself ˜What did happen?' It just wasn't sinking in.

I went to find my meeting room and passed another conference room that had a TV on. Holy COW! It wasn't any Cessna but a jumbo jet – TWO of them! One in to each tower! No wonder my cell phone doesn't work. I found an office and tried to call my wife – ˜BEEEE DEEEE BEEEE, All circuits are busy. Please try your call again later." I must have heard that message 500 times that day.

Remember Manhattan is an ISLAND. Hudson River on one side, East River on the other. Bridges – CLOSED. Tunnels – CLOSED. Ferries – CLOSED. SUBWAYS – CLOSED. You were trapped.

Then the ˜announcement' came. The Pfizer CEO got on the PA system and said:

˜We are keeping the building open but please stay away from the windows on the 43rd Street side which faces the Israeli Embassy and the United Nations'.

It was time to work the phones and ˜get out of Dodge'. I was going to get out of that building under my own power. Fortunately the office phone did work if you called a Manhattan phone number. Hey, I call my friend's aunt who lives in NYC. Negative, she just left for London two days ago. Hey, I'll call my old boss, he has an apartment on 12th Street and 5th Ave. Bingo, he was home and said to come over.

As I walked the thirty blocks to his apartment, I couldn't help but feel that I was in a surreal Godzilla movie. The throngs of people moving north, away from the ˜monster', while idiotic me was moving south towards the disaster. Stores closed with hand made signs. Strangers gathering around parked taxi cabs listening to the radio. Dazed people walking aimlessly covered in dust.

From the balcony on the 15th floor of his apartment, we looked down 5th Avenue and saw the burning pile that once was the Twin Towers. The wind was blowing all the smoke east toward Brooklyn.

At about 5pm, we saw on the TV that they were starting to open the GW bridge to traffic. So back out onto the street, trudging north to the parking deck. When I got to my car, I heard that they were opening up the Lincoln Tunnel – right by where I was parked! But then I remembered what I did the night of Sept. 10. I hosted a Cub Scout meeting at a local park. Our event? Setting off model rockets! So my trunk was FILLED with explosive rocket engines, rockets that looked like missiles, those electrical devices you use to ignite EXPLOSIVE rocket engines. NOT the kind of cargo you want to be caught with on Sept. 11, 2001. I imagined a dutiful Port Authority police officer throwing me in jail with every other suspected terrorist picked up that day...

So I made my way up the West Side Highway to the George Washington Bridge. Needless to say, traffic was stop and go with the emphasis on STOP. The radio waves were filled with non-stop news reports, theories, and information about the other tragedies at the Pentagon and in a field in western Pennsylvania.

After four hours of sitting in traffic, I finally got across the bridge, into NJ, and was able to FINALLY get in touch with my wife and family. No one had heard from me since about 6 AM when I left the house. Joyful relief is a gross understatement.

In the days, months, and years to come, we learned, and still learn of the impact that this had on our lives. One of my T-ball coaches in the town baseball league I ran, gone. The husband of a grammar school classmate, gone. A coach in the next town over, gone. All with wives and kids that still carry this loss to this day.

So on this Sept. 11, remember the events of that day. Tell your kids and grandkids where you were and how you felt. Let your emotions flow and your patriotism show. But, MOST OF ALL, REMEMBER how that day affected ALL AMERICANS and changed us FOREVER.

God bless all those who lost their lives that day. God bless all their families and loved ones. God bless our armed forces in their fight against terrorism. God bless the rescuers. AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!
__________________

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Old 09-10-2008, 03:06 PM   #3
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Very appropriate!

It brought tears to my eyes again.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:25 AM   #4
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quikduk,

Thanks for the feedback.

My parents always spoke about Pearl Harbor. But for our generation, 9/11 is the 'day that will live in infamy'.
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Old 09-11-2008, 12:22 PM   #5
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Hi RvThere,

Thanks for replying to my post on this, aswell as posting your feelings !! I agree that this will be with alot of us forever, just sorry to see how many folks can forget it so quickly !!
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Old 09-20-2008, 12:15 AM   #6
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thanks for sharing that brought tears to my eyes. it is kind of ironic but my experiance was kind of different. i was working at valdez alaska at the marine terminal on the night shift.we had got off work and went back to camp when the news arrived. they locked the terminal down tight and put a armed coast guard boat just offshore and shut the work down for one day. that was about the time they lost contact with a flight across the pacific and their was concern it might be headed to the terminal. semperfi
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:05 PM   #7
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Tom...Thank you for sharing-
I can remember getting up early that morning(West Coast) to exercise and caught a snippet on the TV. I ran into the bedroom and woke Sacs up when I turned on the TV in the bedroom. I was yelling at the news announcers as they were trying to explain it away as a pilot or plane error...we knew it wasn't..and then we watched in horror as the second plane hit.

I, like many were glued to the TV that day. (I took our TV from the bedroom into work)

Do I mind having to run an OFAC on every customer who buys a vehicle now? NOPE...it may be an extra few steps, but who knows... it just might be helping.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:46 PM   #8
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Just a reminder to all to remember, today and everyday, all those who sacrificed their lives on 9/11/01 and in the continuing fight on terrorism.

God bless America!
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:02 PM   #9
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I was reassembling a transmission on a Cadillac, beautiful day, nice cool morning, I rode in with the windows rolled down. My shop foreman came and got me to come up front and watch the news. Knew I was an aviation buff and a plane had just crashed into the Trade Center. I partially blew it off, wasn't the first time, a B29 hit the Empire building decades before. I got up front just in time to see the second plane hit live. We all watched in disbelief, then the Towers fell, then reports of the Pentagon, then reports of another plane in Pennsylvania going down.

The four lane highway was deserted. I finished that trans job, since the guy needed his car, and we all just went home mid afternoon.

The quiet was deafening and heavy.

I have a friend in Afganistan right now, and I think about him every day. He checks in with us fairly often.

To those that have and are serving, thank you. Too much of America has forgotten, but I won't.
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