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I had just awakened and turned the TV on. My
mother knocked on my door and said a plane had crashed into the World Trade
Center. I was like, "Hmmm... musta been some moron who forgot his flying
lessons", thinking it was a private plane.
I turned to ABC's "Good Morning America", and saw smoke pouring from one of the towers. I saw a HUGE gaping hole in the building, and realized that the aircraft had to have been larger than a private plane. I didn't know what to say or do... I was in shock. Then I saw a flash of black on screen, realizing it was ANOTHER large aircraft, a commercial airliner, just as it disappeared from view. I saw a tremendous fireball burst from the second tower, and immediately I knew it was not an accident... that neither hit was an accident.
I KNEW it was a terrorist act! I was horrified, I was furious... I couldn't speak, I wanted to turn away from the TV, but I couldn't do it.
I couldn't believe what was happening... Then I heard about another commercial airliner crashing into the Pentagon... I was horrified. I remember thinking "How in God's name is this happening...". I thought about the books "Sum Of All Fears", "Debt of Honor" and "Executive Orders" by Tom Clancey... they contained stories about terrorists striking the USA, including crashing a commercial jetliner into government buildings.
I was watching the smoke get thicker when I saw what looked like a shift in the top of one of the towers. Then there was a great cloud of smoke, and the tower began to fall! I was horrified! I thought: "oh, my God! All those people in that buiilding... all the firefighters and rescue personnel!" I began to shake and cry uncontrollably. I kept repeating: "oh, my God... oh, my God...", over and over. I woanted to turn away, but I couldn't. I wanted to close my eyes, but I couldn't make my eyelids work.
I began to worry about friends I have made over the years, including one I had known since 6th grade. I was in shock, unable to look away, unable to stop crying... then the second tower began to collapse. I watched in horror as it telescoped in on itself, a huge cloud of dust and smoke roiling in all directions. I saw so many people fleeing in terror from the growing cloud. I began to imagine the number of casualties.. thousands, tens of thousands. Then I thought about how many brothers and sisters were in or around the towers when they collapsed. Someone on the TV said that the entire 1st through 5th alarm assignments were GONE! I cried in anguish, and I screamed with a rage like I had never before felt in my life. I wanted BLOOD in retribution for this act of barbarism... of cowardice. I was infuriated amd terrified at the same time. I wanted to have that blood payment on my own hands... to remove my sense of horror and sorrow, to blunt the sudden sense that I could be next..
I spent 3 days where I was either glued to the TV or radio... I wouldn't, couldn't NOT listen/watch for some piece of information. I loaded several weapons at the house... placed both a loaded pistol AND a loaded rifle in my truck cab. I put my concealed carry permit into my wallet, pulled my pistol "fanny pack" out of the closet, and went to my favorite gunshop to purchase a Remington Marine shotgun for the truck. I stocked my hunting cabin with MRE's and bottled water, and I sent my kids to my in-laws, far away from big cities and military targets.
Then the names started to come through... When I heard that Father Mychal was dead, it felt as if a part of me died. I heard he died while giving last rights to a firefighter who had been killed when somebody who jumped from the top of the tower landed on him. I was horrified, I couldn't even think of words. Chief Ganci... Ray Downey... the First deputy Commissioner... so many others! 300 or more FDNY member GONE! 90 or more NYPD and PAPD officers GONE! And only God himself knows how many innocent civilians... I cried again, wondering if I had any tears left.
I watched the funerals, and the memorials, and listened to the politicos blab... I was so proud, and remain proud of President Bush, his Cabinet, and of Mayor Guiliani and Governor Pataki. When Daivd Letterman paid tribute to "New Yorks' Finest" and "New Yorks' Bravest" last night, I cried. When Dan Rather broke down and cried, I cried. I can't seem to stop crying. My cable TV system has given us access to NY1, the local all-news station from NYC. I find myself leaving it on NY1 and switching to CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, only as a last resort.
I have been in EMS and Fire Suppression for two decades. I have NEVER witnessed such horrors before this. I hope I never do again. God protect all the rescuers and support personnel. God comfort all the survivors and families.
God help us all.
We have lost our innocence... and we may never regain it. We have lost our sense of security... but we will regain it, albeit slowly. The cannibals who did this WILL be punished... as will ANYBODY who supports them.
Patriotic songs will NEVER sound the same again... will never fail to make me cry...
I just wish I could stop crying...
Barry E. McClung, Paramedic
North Blanco County EMS - Johnson City, Texas
Rural/Metro Ambulance - Bastrop County, Texas
My name is Aggie Stewart and I work for he British
Columbia Ambulance in Vancouver Canada. It is impossible to express my sorrow
regarding the events of September 11. I remember when we had a medevac crash
in January 1994. Two EMS members from New york came to our Memorial. I was really
moved by there dedication to the EMS family. My prayers are with the families
and friends of all those lost. If there was any way I could be there to assist,
I surely would. Please email me if there is anything I can do from here.
I am a critical incident stress debriefer and would be happy to help anyone
who needs it. On behalf of all of BCAS, our thoughts and prayers are with you
all. We stand beside you in grief.
Two in, Two Out
I try to explain this to people who arent in EMS or the fire service
How hard September 11th hit me
People ask: Whats wrong? Why are you so upset?
Did you know anyone who died?
No I didnt, I reply, but you dont understand.
As soon as you become an EMT or a firefighter
You become a member of a second family
My second family lost at least 300 members on September 11th
These are the people I spend so much time with
Weekends, holidays, regular time, and overtime
All working for your safety
Even while you arent on a call
You enjoy a camaraderie
You cant describe it; only experience it
You have your own language
You have your own jokes
You have your own nicknames
You have your own war stories
Stories that you tell to remember the past
While trying to top everyone elses
When the call comes in, the bell rings, and the tones drop
Its all business
You know, going into every call,
That you partner is there to watch your back
While you watch theirs
You know that you will not be left behind
You know that you can trust your life to the person beside you
Even if you just met them at a chaotic fire scene
You can sum it all up with a basic rule of firefighting:
Two in, Two out
Two go in
Two come back out
And two are waiting at the doorstep to back you up
No matter what
You know that no one will have to be asked twice
To sacrifice everything
Which is exactly what 300 of my family members did on September 11th
So how hard did this tragedy hit me?
Lets just say
That I hope you dont ever have to know what its like
To lose 300 family members.
My name is Tim Hanson I work for the Arlington
County Fire Department Engine Company 102, one of the first to arrive at the
Pentagon. I just want to express my sincere heartfelt sympathy to the families
of the vicitms of the tragedy especially the families of fellow emergency service
workers. We will never forget you, Brothers in Battle, peace be with you.
IAFF Local 2800
My heart is heavy today. I feel a deep sadness for all the victims of this horrible attack. It makes me even sadder knowing how many men lost their lives trying to save others. My prayers are with all of their families.
Your father was not a Superhero
He is a Super Hero
Your father was not a Superhero
Superhero's rush to save the world protected by their superpowers
Your father is a Super Hero
He had no special powers for he was a regular man
He went to save the world anyway, without them
He ran into burning buildings while others ran out
Your father is a Super Hero
He put his life on the line to save the lives of others
He came to our aid even though we were strangers
He made us feel safe, just knowing he was there
Your father is a Super Hero
He paid the ultimate sacrifice helping others
He gave his life saving the lives of many
We will never forget your father and we will always be proud of him
Although he was not Superman
He was a Super Man
He was a Fireman
He was New York's Bravest
Written by Susanne Marra for our Firemen's families
They awake each morning to greet the world with a smile. With their arms stretched up high they breath in the morning air, pull back the sheets, places their feet on the floor and begin yet another day. Life has not always been easy. Like everyone else they have had to struggle through some very trying times. They have had dreams fall apart right before their eyes, yet they still stand strong. They fight through these moments and learn from them. Their love is the job. Here they feel most proud. Here they give all that they can expecting nothing in return. Here they blend in with fellow brothers and sisters to bring some comfort to strangers daily. Here is where all their dreams seem so superficial and the realization of what is important becomes apparent. Here is where they risk their lives daily without question to aid fellow humans regardless of race, sex or religion. Their actions are instinctual, their motives are true, their selfless purpose is obvious. Resuce and human aid. Firefighters have been extensively trained to be able to perform to the best of their ability. They chose this job to help and to make a difference in this world. If extending their hands out to a neighbouring country in need has created controversy at work, I simply say this: As part of the human race I have discovered many of us to be too judgmental and self rightous. We questioned these firefighters motives when we should have focused on their actions, the job they did and the positive outcome it had on the millions of heart broken people in New York city. These silent heroes went out to New York without question and without reason. They simply went out to do their job. For once do not ask why, do not look for motive, just look them in the eye, shake their hands and congratulate them on an excellent job. These silent heroes have indeed made a difference. Can you say the same?
By Paula Ursini
Dedicated to all my brothers and sisters we lost In the September 11th tragedy.
The building is going to collapse", he overheard. "I know" he mumbled, strapping his breathing apparatus to his back. A tidal wave of people and smoke came at him, and he fought against the urrent desperate to get inside the place where everyone was trying to escape.He is a firefighter, doesn't see himself as a hero. This is what he does.
"People are trapped upstairs", she overheard. "I know" she mumbled, as she grabbed her oxygen cylinder and bag and walked into the billowing clouds of debris looking for someone, anyone, who needed her. She is a paramedic, doesn't see herself as a hero.
This is what she does.
"The people don't know what is happening" he overheard "I know" he mumbled, as he walked towards the panic and pain bringing comfort by his strength, giving directions, showing people where to go, even as he goes closer and closer. He is a Police Officer, he doesn't see himself as a hero.
This is what he does.
"We lost the entire engine company" one numbly said. "I know" said the captain. He looked at the faces on the wall. Faces he would never see again.
"We have Police and Fire waiting, and Ambulances are lined up" "I know", said God, as he wiped the tears from his eyes and opened up to golden gates at the entry to paradise and let our ordinary heroes in.
They were the men and women who didn't need to be there who could have saved themselves who could have stayed away from the scenes of pain and hell but they walked into the fire though they knew that they might die and we watched their spirits rise to heaven as the towers collapsed in the sky.
Just ordinary people, whose families daily prayed that their loved ones would return to them at the end of every day. In this great tragedy, a greater story unfolds of the bravest men and women that New York City holds; the simple, ordinary heroes.
Fire Fighter. Paramedic. Police officer.
We have Police and Fire waiting, and Ambulances lined up...." " I know", said God, wiping tears from his eyes and He opened up the golden gates at the entry to paradise and let our ordinary Heroes in.
It's what he does.
We came on duty Sept. 11th and as we always
do we checked our ambulances, poured our coffee and turned the TV on to
catch the AM news for a few minutes. What we saw we could not believe. It fixed
us to the spot and transfixed us for the
remainder of the day. It was very difficult to concentrate on our work but carried
on shell shocked.
In Canmore, Alberta, Canada we were touched and continue to be to this day and
I'm sure for the remainder of our lives.
To all of our friends, neighbors, collegues and families in the USA we send
our sincerest blessings to you all. May you rise
past all of this and remain strong.
May God bless you all abundantly.
We won't forget you.
I want to thankyou for putting this page together.
I'm sure my story will be one of the hundreds you will receive. I am a proud
member of New York City's Emergency Medical Services (New York's Best)! On 9/11/01,
as we all know, NYCEMS suffered tremendous losses. I personally knew three of
these brave, young men. Keith Fairben-New York Presbyterian Hospital EMS, Carlos
Lillo-FDNY EMS, "Papa George"-New York Presbyterian Hospital EMS,
let's NEVER forget all the other EMS workers who weren't part of the 911 system
and were still there trying to save lives. I strongly believe in my heart that
divine intervention played a major role in me being alive today,you see, I was
supposed to be at work that Tuesday morning at 0900hrs but I requested a day
off so that I could register for school. By all miracles my supervisor was able
to get coverage right away! I awoke to what everyone else did that Tuesday morning,
shock, disbelief, I spent half the morning trying to call my partner on his
cellphone but all communication was down. I had a hard time trying to control
my panic watching those towers go down on TV just thinking about all the members
of service possibly still inside. I came to find out later from my partner who
made it out dirty ,scared half to death , but (THANK GOD) alive, that they were
assigned to the WTC as soon as they logged on to start the tour. My partner
also told me he lost his partner(the guy who covered for me) for three hours
with no radio contact after the towers came down. The ambulance was also spared, dusty, but spared. Staging was set up in the lobby of the first tower ,(wasn't a good
idea) and mostly everyone who was inside or at the staging area never had a
chance. A few hours later I would also come to find out my cousin, an architect
on the 106th floor, never made it out either. I personally have gone through
such a different range of emotions from anger to guilt and extreme sadness.
I don't feel like EMS was given the recognition it deserved that day by city
officials. It's true we have a thankless job sometimes and this job only gets
harder when EMS doesn't have the full support and acknowledgement of our own
city's government, especially when our members die in the line of duty. My attitude
and outlook on life has changed, it's scary going to work now, thinking is today
going to be the day I might not make it back home? At the same time I've become
more patient even with all the BS calls we get. Thank you again for allowing
me the chance to express how I feel,be safe and stay strong.
St. John's Queens Hospital EMS
You have shown your city; you have shown your country; and you have shown the world how and why you have the name, "New York's Bravest". Committed to the sanctity of humanity even in the face of the ultimate inhumanity, you have honored the fire service with your actions and renewed our sense of pride in our mission. There was no debate and/or discussion as the fallen entered heaven for they had served their fellow man in a day of total hell. May God bless the fallen; their families and friends, and those who continue to serve. May they find peace they so valiantly earned.
I'd like to start with a prayer for all who
died, and the families and friends of the aforementioned. I live in the 2nd
smallest county in Virginia. We run about 1200 calls a year. As one can imagine,
we have never dealt with any thing a large as September 11th. Yet, there is
not a one of us on the squad that was not affected by these horrific events.
Some have friends and/or relatives in NY or northern Virginia or Pennsylvania.
I would just like to say that the EMS and Fire and Police that were there are
the true heroes. God Bless
Where to begin, it was my first day at a new
job, I was sitting in a room waiting for security to come in and tell me about
the rules, when he came in and said a small plane crashed into one of the towers..
I said to myself "Oh my God", how !!, we went on with the orientation..
It was time to go to work, as we walked down the halls everyone was standing
around, there faces white as ghosts, then I saw what I thought was the worst,
the towers were both on fire, big holes in the side of the towers.. I said this
cannot be happening !! not us not the U.S., we are under attack.. How can this
happen, I was in shock, the women giving me the orientation, I had never met
before, turns out her husband worked on the 100th floor.. I calmly walked her
to her office, to see if she could reach him, to see if there was a message,
nothing!!, she called her children, nothing!!, she is from the city, she told
me she would be fine, I told her I would help her in anyway I can.. She went
to be with people she new, remember this was my first day.. , I went back to
the TV, to watch the horror.. I could not believe what I was seeing,, I went
outside to call my family !!, they could not believe it either.. I knew this
was bad. I am an E.M.T. Lieutenant with the Tri-Boro Volunteer Ambulance Corp,
I am also in the Phoenix Team (CISM).. I knew that we all had a long road ahead..
My Father is an officer of the Law, My older Brother is a fireman, my younger
sister is a Firewoman, it hit hard when they told of the many Men and Women,
Fire, EMS, Police who responded like they have so many times to calls of distress,
but who could be ready for something like this. I am hurt by the loss of so
many innocent people, How dare those people hit us in the heart. They made the
biggest mistake of there lives, they made us stronger as people, they hurt us,
but I have to tell you the overwhelming coming together of so many people of
the U.S. is amazing, I have been going to Jersey City to counsel EMS, and Fire
personnel that were touched as we all were, to here how they felt and what they saw, that is what I could give, since FEMA
came in there was not much as an emt that my corp could do, we sat on standby's
in Fort Lee, like many other Fire Departments and Ambulance Corp did,, We all
wanted to help, we wanted to go in and dig, find someone, help,, but we could
not, we could get groups together to ask for donations, supplies, and that is
just what we did, I got a group together and we collected 2 ambulances full
of supplies, over 3000 pounds of dog food, boots, gloves, toiletries, it was
great to see so many people come together in such a time of need, and to go
on an ambulance call, driving your personal car and people actually stop for a Blue
light, it is sad that something as bad and horrific as this had to happen before
we as E.M.S.. workers and Volunteers are recognized. I would like to send my
Heart Felt Sympathy to all of the Families that were torn in the worst tragedy
that I have ever seen in my entire life and probably the last. "GOD BLESS
AMERICA" GOD BLESS E.M.T's, FIREMAN & WOMEN, PARAMEDICS, POLICE, and
the INNOCENT.. Who all met on that beautiful sunny fall day... We are all a
family and they are all still in our HEARTS, Gone but never forgotten... That
is my story, I wish I could do more, but I am sorry to all that have lost loved
ones, I am still in shock, I need to break down, but so many people need us
(CISM) that I have to keep going, just remember we are all a family and we always
will be no matter where in the U.S. we are always together in each others hearts...
Tri-Boro Volunteer Ambulance Corp.
Phoenix Team (CISM)
I was just coming off duty the morning of September
11th. I remember waking up hearing the phone ringing, answering and hearing
a friend say, "Turn on the TV." I went into the common room at the
station, and saw why. As I stared at the television, watching again and again
the death and destruction, I thought to myself, "This can't be real. It
must be some horrible nightmare!" However, I knew that it WAS real. An
icy cold finger stabbed at my heart. How long after the impact of the planes
had the towers stood? How many innocent people had died? How many emergency
personnel were on scene? Then I found out. "As many as 300 of NY's Fire,
EMS and Police are still missing, and presumed dead," the TV reported.
I sat down hard, not able to believe what I just heard. Three hundred? There
had to be some mistake. And surely they couldn't ALL be dead, could they? I
sat there, unable to move, hardly able to think. My mind was stunned.
As the day unfolded, I saw the images of what had happened. The smoke, billowing
from where the Twin Towers had stood. The gaping hole in the Pentagon. The reports
of a fourth plane that had gone down in Pennsylvania. Then I saw that giant
flag, being unfurled by the firefighters at the Pentagon. The flag, raised onto
the bent over flagpole by the NY firefighters. As heartbroken as I was to have
lost 300 members of my family, as angry as I was at the scum who had perpetrated
this crime, I knew we would survive. And I knew that we would punish those who
I am proud to say that I am an EMT. I still wear a black band on my badge. The flag at our station still flies at half mast. We will not raise it until the last firefighter and police officer is removed from the rubble and given a proper burial. And I will not rest easy until we have punished the last person responsible for what has happened. The rest of the world is looking at our nation now. They see that we have been struck, and struck hard, but are still standing. And those that think that they can now take advantage of our nation, that we are weak because of these cowardly acts, they now realize that we are a much stronger nation than we may appear. Our might is covered up by a firefighter's turnouts and a police officer's badge. But when they push us, they will find that behind that badge, and under those turnouts is strength harder than steel, and resolve stronger that concrete. And while steel may bend, and concrete may break, this nation will never crumble.
These are just words that finally came to me
last week. I knew that at some time I would be able to get my feelings out in some way. More will come out in time. This may not be worthy for submission.
Just my thoughts, and I appreciate your time in reading them.
Wendy Lovelady, EMT-B/FF
Hatton Volunteer Fire Dept.
Town Creek, Alabama
You looked to them in your despair
For when you needed them, they were there
Firemen, EMTs & Police
They came together to offer and ease
The pain and suffering brought upon you by others,
Whose goal it was to make us suffer
They ran in and up those flights of stairs
To aid anyone who needed their care
They never checked up, they never looked back
They had a job to do and they were ready to act
"No greater love hath a man....." they say,
Well there was a lot of love laid down that day
And what of us that remain?
Firemen, EMTs & Police
We come together now to find peace
The pain and suffering brought upon us by others,
Whose goal it was to make us suffer
We search for brothers and sisters lost
We would do anything at any cost
To bring them home for moms and dads
Husbands, wives, kids, and many more family and friends
So if those who have struck out against us think that you have won
I would like to assure you that this war has only just begun
You're no longer dealing with the Army, Navy, Air Force, & Marines
You're now dealing with a breed of folks the likes you have never seen
Cause when you attack one you attack us all, because you see
This family knows no county, city, state, or country divide
It's a little thing called pride......pride for the job, and standing proudly for.......
Those who gave all
So pick your battles carefully, and remember we're a brotherhood
And while we took care of those who needed us, you took 343 of ours too
And that will never be forgotten, and we just wanted you to know
That the next time you want to pick a fight we'll be a little stronger
As we'll have 343 of Heaven's finest leading us onward
Firemen, EMTs & Police
We come together now a job to do
The pain and suffering brought upon us by others
Who underestimated this bond between sisters and brothers.
I am a paramedic with Lexington Co EMS and everyday
I go to work I pray I have the strength of courage and dedication that the paramedics,firefighters,and
police demonstrated on Sept.11 2001.the example that they set for us all is
one we should all strive to achieve in our own personal and professional lives,
an example that our families and friends can be proud of for all time.
May God Bless America.
Shane Martin NREMT-P
Lexington Co. South Carolina
As most of us stopped, to see the fire in the sky,
you were in the trucks, passing us by.
As the unthinkable horror, makes us shed a tear,
you entered the building, in your rescue gear.
As we sat in panic, praying for no more
you were climbing stairs, floor by floor.
We sat confused, awed, and in strife
you were looking, hoping, and praying for life.
As the building came down, we feared you would too.
But God gave you wings, and instead you flew.
- Emily Dickenson
Today it has been two month two the day since
the terrible attacks on the United States of America. When I go in to
my City Station where I am a Voll. FF/EMT, I see the poster we have from the
IAFF with the names, when I go to my paid Job with a local Private Ambulance
Company, I see all of our magazines, Catalogs, and other publications
about the tragedy. When I come home i see it in my Email box. I dont mind these
reminders because there what we need to a point to keep us aligned upon our
goals military wise. You see the American
Public i think has only just begun to understand what happen to not only our fellow department of FDNY, not only to NYC-EMS(Both private and Public alike), not only to police, but to the ENTIRE emergency services fields. Lots of you lost closer then I did, but we all lost deep. Our FDNY Family loses number I belive to 343 alone. I have no Idea what the count on the other departments is. I must say that I felt bad in the 2nd week after the attack, because other then all of the money I have spent to assist, thats is all i could do. I was a seasonal forest firefighter with the USDA Forest Service on a major incident in California when Iwe heard about the attack. I had been coming off a 16 hr initial attack shift, in which we had been reassigned from one large fire to a new fire approximately 5 hrs away. We drove with another Strike Team (5) engines and one strike team of HotShot Crews ( 2- 20 person shots crews and two strikes of engines with 5 person per engine, 5 engines per strike) so we were all pretty tired. Then we were told via the radio news. We were no where near any form of TV , or that I knew of so we recieved all of our info 2nd, and 3rd hand. But we found out enough on a day to day basis, and we did some praying for our fallen family. What i am saying is that We all know what has been put in to the whole incident so far, but WE have to keep the rest of the country remembering what still needs to be put to get the desired response out. TO the immeadiate families may your morning be short and your memories forever, with us they WILL NOT BE FORGOTTON. To Father Michael, Take up the hands of those that have fallen with you and lead them up to heaven for their final in quarters call, take care of them and let them look down upon us every now and then, just so they know we miss them and remember them. To my brothers and sisters still here, we know what we must do now, no matter what. ANd finally to my brothers and sisters gone, WE miss you , we love you and keep an I us, just to make sure we dont screw up to badly.
HI EVERYONE......I AM, I'M SURE, IN THE SAME PLACE AS WE ALL ARE.....FAMILY AND FRIENDS DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY I CRY, AND AM SO TUNED IN AND UPSET ABOUT RECENT EVENTS... I WOULD HAVE DONE ANYTHING TO BE WITH MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN N.Y. ...HOWEVER, BEING IN BOSTON, NONE OF US WERE ALLOWED TO GO ANYWHERE...AS WE WERE ON HIGH ALERT. I AM CURRENTLY IN PARAMEDIC SCHOOL, AND OUR ENTIRE CLASS VOLUNTEERED FOR ANYTHING THAT WE WOULD BE NEEDED FOR...WE ARE COMPRISED OF EVERY GAMUT IMAGINABLE.. SOME ARE FIREFIGHTERS, SOME ARE POLICE, AND SOME OF US ARE EMS...OUR THOUGHTS, PRAYERS, WISHES,HOPES, AND DREAMS ARE WITH EVERYONE IN N.Y.....TODAY, A DOUBLE HARD HIT CAME WITH THE PLANE CRASH IN QUEENS....I KNOW SEVERAL PEOPLE WORKING ON A CONSTANT BASIS IN N.Y...PLEASE LET EVERYONE BE AWARE THAT ALL OF OUR HEARTS AND SOULS ARE WITH THEM!!!! WE LOVE YOU ALL! DAWN PAULSEN,EMT-B, MASSACHUSETTS
This was a very painful day that I am sure will
be remembered by all
for the rest of there lives. I can not forget waiting on line to pay for my
coffee when I heard that a plane had hit the world trade center. I
quickly paid and got in my work truck and started to head for the
firehouse to see the plane that had hit the twin towers. Thinking that it
was a small plane I was in no real rush to see what had happened.
I was about a block away from the firehouse when the radio said
that another plane had hit the second tower! I drove up the driveway in
total disbelief that this had happened. As I entered the firehouse there
was one other member sitting there in total disbelief of what had
happened. The both of us watched in horror as both towers were on
The scene where the plane hit the second tower played over and
over. Each time it was hard to believe that this really had happened.
While we were watching the question kept coming up. When are
they going to show a picture from the ground? well after a while they
finally had a picture on the ground a reporter was doing an interview.
The interview didn't last two minutes ad there was a blood curdling
scream and one of the towers fell right on live TV! The most
unimaginable had just happened! We were now sure that we had on the
wrong channel and we were watching an HBO special or something. I
believe I even asked him to turn the movie off and put the news backs
on. How could this be happening?
A few minutes later terror struck again. The second tower fell. All
I could think of was what was next?
Five minutes later the Pager goes off. County control was
dispatching FAST teams to go down to the city to help with this
horrible disaster. Down the stairs we went. ready to go.
Our team was assembled in record time and we were heading
south to the fire training grounds in Valhalla. We were the third team to
arrive and were told to stay with our rig and await further instructions.
While we were sitting waiting to go to the Bronx everyone was
on their cell phone trying to contact loved ones to let them know what
was happening. I received a call on my Nextel from a guy at work. He
said "your father was in the city today at world trade center" then there
was a silent part that seemed like forever. My heart fell to my feet
thinking the worst. Then came "but he is alright". I can not even explain
the relief I felt. next came another hard blow for everyone. The chief
wanted everyone's name, where they lived and phone number. This was
for next of kin because the original plan was to go to the World Trade
Center. At this point everyone knew this was for real and made
everyone think just what the task at had was.
It had seemed like an eternity had passed before we were told
we were going to regroup in the Bronx and then head straight for
ground zero. Before Heading to the Bronx a team leader was picked
and we were off to the city.
Down route 9A and onto 287 to 87. we were on our way. I rode
the officers seat and kept my ear glued to the radio waiting to hear an
update or something. All the traffic was heading North while our
convoy of 40 or so fire engines headed south. We were the third rig in
the line and I kept looking back. PROUD TO BE A VOLUNTEER! It
was amazing to see so many rigs heading to this disastrous event.
Volunteerism was alive!
We arrived at Engine 81 Ladder 4 in no time at all and within
minutes the Police department had the road closed with nothing but fire
trucks as far as the eye could see. It was very impressive to see.
Now was the long part. we were told that we would be
dispatched to certain stations across the city. So all we could do now
was wait. A few of the guys went down to the store and bought
disposable cameras ready to take that picture they remember for the
rest of their lives. As we sat and waited we could see the smoke rise
from where the World Trade centers once stood. It was a reminder all
day that this was real.
At about 3:00 PM my father arrived. It was unbelievable to see
him standing their covered in dust. He started to tell of what had
happened. As he spoke a crowd started to gather everyone sitting there
in total disbelief. a hundred questions were asked and answered. while
people were running away he had ducked into a small store and bought
three camera's. His photos are all posted here for you all to see.
As night came all the rigs with lights were told to shine there lights
on the buildings. Apparently a resident threw something out of a
window on an ambulance earlier in the year.
Right around 11:00 PM we were sent back to Yonkers raceway
for the night. We were now faced with where are we going to sleep?
MY spot for the night along with four other firefighters was the hose
bed. I was lucky to be the first one on top of the rig and had claimed
The spot where the 2 1/2 was stored. The next up grabbed the other
bed that the 2 1/2 was stored. next came the unlucky. The only spots
left was the two beds for 1 3/4. we all know that these are not as wide
as the 2 1/2 and these two were squished into there "slot". The
temperature dropped into the low 50's and was a little breezy.
Sometime in the middle of the night I was awoken because I was so
cold I could not sleep anymore. I needed another turnout coat for my
legs. I grabbed an extra incase someone else got cold as I did. Turned
out the guy right next to me was shaking so he was the lucky person to
get the coat.
Finally the sun came up and it started to warm up. uncertain of
what was to come of this day the troops started to stir. A NY POST
truck came in and dropped off a load of newspapers. This was very
welcome as most of us had already been sitting there for almost 24
hours with nothing to do but look at each other.
We sent out a guy to get us something to eat. After returning we
then tried to figure out what was to be next. County control then started
dispatching Ladders to cover houses in the Bronx. After all the Ladders
were dispatched then came the Engines. The engines were dispatched
every 15 minutes and after a long wait we were not one of the engines
to be relocated. At approximately 3:00PM we were on our way home.
PROUD TO HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP.
Driving the engine home was also an experience. I have never
seen so many people in cars waving and honking horns at us. Almost
every car that passed was giving the thumbs up sign to us. The only
other time you can experience this kind of a feeling is at a parade. I
spent most of thee time driving home waving to motorists and blowing
the air horn. They Knew what we had done and were proud of us!
Our assignment was over 30 hours long. Sleeping out in the cold
but true to being a volunteer we did it. Oh yeah eating prison food as
well. Our department had guys waiting at home eager to come down
and help. I believe this was the case all over the county.
I was recently at a Westchester county board meeting. A guy
stood up and said this that could not be truer.
" Volunteer firefighters are the minute men of this
century, we come when we are called". Charlie Faillace
Past Chief Somers VFD. There have never been truer words spoke.
I am Proud to be a Volunteer Firefighter
It was a experience and time I will never forget,
the sounds, sites, smells, were all going to stay with me for the rest of my
life. For the few day`s I was there it felt like a life time. I did have a few
special times I also won`t forget. Such as seeing old friends from the marines,
and the new friends I met and still keep in touch with. It truly was a total
learning experience for me, I was truly overwhelmed by the devastation that
I saw. I never will understand how he could have done that to all those innocent
people. I am proud GOD gave me the ability and knowledge to have helped out.
God Bless all who were there and involved with this horror.
FF/EMT Steven H Stafford
328 Bennett St.. Oneida, N.Y. 13421
There are 26 of us in our paramedic class. We're a mix of fire, ems, commercial, county, municipal and the list goes on. On 9-11 the news came over a classmates pager. All of us, flew to the other room to watch on a projector screen, the images as they came on TV. Tears, excited murmmurs, anger, and several of us just stood there staring. As the news sunk in hands flew to pockets for cell phones to check on family and friends, and to our respective EMS/ FF agencies and National Guard to see who would go. And then, there were those, who didn't wait, ran to cars and drove to the City. Class was dismissed. Several of us found our way to the City in the following days, those of us who went need no words to share what we saw. And the pictures have been shared with everyone. What I never thought I'd feel, is 26 people, who have been together for so long, look at eachother and know what each was thinking, and what we would be doing tommorow, and how tommorow changed us all.
I went to memorial services. And I cried when the bell was tolled. My cheeks were went when I saluted. And I can't describe the ripping feeling inside when Ii hear the bell or think of my friends.
A buddy summed it up pretty well "This %$% Sucks".
On 9-11-01 I was at work; my partner and I just
got done checking our truck out for the day went into the day room to watch
TV at that moment the second plane hit. When the first tower fell my heart was
broken, I knew that there was allot of NYPD,NYFD in the buildings along with
other victims. My heart and prayers go out to the victims family's and I hope
to god that there will be justice served for this unjust act of terror. God
Bruce W. Wall NREMT-P
Rockingham County EMS,NC
Fieldale-Collinsville Rescue Squad
HENRY COUNTY, VA
All Gave Some, Some Gave All
A cowardly act of violence, of which no one could foresee
Took the lives of men, women, and children away from you and me.
The early morning hours of September 11th, 2001,
Would be a day well not forget, as terrorism struck.
Hijackers crashed planes into buildings, something we dont expect to see.
The response of emergency crews was swift, to save life and property.
The twin towers in New York City later came crashing down,
Killing emergency personnel, bravely working on the ground.
The Pentagon was the target next, the White House, a near miss,
Then a crash in Pennsylvania, and we wondered what was next.
Police, Fire, and EMS, died doing what they loved best,
Helping others in need, we know they passed the test.
Heroic crews sifting through the rubble, rescue is their mission,
But as rescue turns to recovery, they wont lessen their convictions.
Theyll continue to work tirelessly, throughout the day and night,
To find every last person, they know its worth the fight.
To the families of the victims, the country feels your pain.
Well show our respect for your loved ones, by flying American flags.
Our fellow Americans lost their lives, a fact thats hard to swallow.
To the spineless criminals who portrayed this act, retribution is to follow.
So if you wish prepare to fight, or take cover if you want.
God may forgive your evil deeds, but the United States will not.
To the emergency workers who lost their lives when the towers fell,
We want you to know well think of you every time we hear a fire bell.
Tim Karrels, Firefighter/EMT-I
Saukville Fire Department
FOREST HILLS VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE CORPS, 18 YEARS OLD MEMBER, LOST HIS LIFE WHILE SAVING OTHERS ON SEPTEMBER 11
Tammy Baird EMTB
Trenton New Jersey
This day I will never forget!!
I was sitting in school in my Literature class at apx.9:30a.m. the voice of our principle come over the intercom and says that he regrets to inform us that a plane had hit the WTC. My Heart just stopped. Suddenly the girl next to me just busted into tears as she screamed out "No, My uncle is their". Not knowing what to do I reached over and gave her a hug. Teachers were not telling us the whole story and made it sound like everything was OK. when that wasn't at all the case. I didn't find out the full story until around 10:00 a.m. when my partner called my cell phone (since all my teachers know that I am an EMT they let me leave the room to answer my phone, Especially on 9-11) He had told me everything. I broke down while still on the phone with him. He told me that as an EMT I had to be strong for others that needed my help. So I tried to do as I was told. When I got home I found out that most of my rescue squad had gone to NY to help. They would not let me go because I am only 16. I think that is another reason why this was so hard on me is because the law wont let me help. I now try and do anything at all to try and help in anyway that I can. Now months after 9-11 I still get very emotional just talking or thinking about what has happened.
I was flipping through the channels on TV and the news anchor was trying to figure out what had happened when the second plane hit. I called my father at work and he dropped the phone to run to a TV he couldn't believe it. He was a part of the cleanup team at the first bombing. It was a very surreal experience, I was horrified. God bless all of you who helped and survived and those who helped and did not. You truly are heroes.
I am a fireman and Hazardous Materials Specialist
in Fairfield, Connecticut. I was a part of the 1993 bombing of the WTC in that
I was responsible for developing a safety protocol for thousands of workers
involved in the clean up. I toured the scene the day after the incident. I had
never seen anything like this in all my years in safety/Hazmat response. Then
9-11 happened. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the planes hit and the
towers crumble to dust. The loss of life, our brothers who gave their all to
save those who were panicking, in fear of losing their lives. Becoming a member
of the fire service brings you into a whole new family. One that is very close,
where everyone looks out for each other and when a firefighter is lost, whether
in your own jurisdiction oe somewhere else in the country, you've lost a family
member. I was attending a training scholl in Alabama with a number of other
firefighters. The events of 9-11 brought us all very close together, people
I have never met, but were firefighters.
People outside of the order of firefighters do not understand the close relationship we have amongst us. We are all sharing in the grief of the aftermath that took the lives of our brothers. Until you have walked in a firefighters shoes, it is difficult to understand. They put their lives on the line so that many could live. Many people ask why they do it. It's theri job and there are none better. They are men that could have saved themselves and lived to see another day, but they acted above and beyond the call, each possibly knowing that this time may not have a happy ending. We watched and waited and we knew in the end what it meant to be a firefighter. To give your aal so that others would live.
To my brothers who earned the name "The Bravest" I salute you and am proud to say that I am a part of a family that has a bond no one can break.
Our prayers go out to the families of our fallen brothers. May God bless and keep you forever and may he look over the families of those victims and help them get through this difficult period. We'll never forget you. Rest in Peace knowing that your brothers and sisters are keeping your memories alive everyday.
Paul Errico and Family
Southport FD, Connecticut
I really did not know much about what happened
on 9-11 until that afternoon. I didn't want to believe that it had happened.
I was taking my EMT course at the time, and hearing about how many LEOs, FF's
and EMS personnel had died made it worse for me.
The tragedy also hit close to home for me. My stepfather's cousin was one of the firefighters that was killed in NYC.
To all of my fellow brothers and sisters who perished
Peace be with you, and I will see you when I get there.
"Greater love hath no man this that a man lay down his
life for his friends"
When I perform my duty Lord
Whatever be the call
Help to guide and keep me safe
From dangers big and small
I want to serve and do my best
No matter what the scene
I pledge to keep my skills refined
My judgement quick and keen
This calling to give of myself
Most do not understand
But I stand ready all the time
To help my fellow man
To have the chance to help a child
Restore his laugh with glee
A word of thanks I might not here
But knowing is enough for me
The praise of men is fine for some
But I feel truly blessed
That you oh Lord have chosen me
To serve in EMS!
(Almost) NREMT-B, CNA
You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news on September 11, 2001. Neither will I.
I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say "Good-Bye." I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, "Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK...I am ready to go."
I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.
I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. "I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!" I said.
"Of course I will show you the way home - only believe in Me now."
I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.
I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them.
I was in Texas, Kansas, London. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?
I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor. Some sought Me with their last breath. Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames; "Come to Me... this way... take my hand." Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. But, I was there.
I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do.
However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me? September 11, 2001 was not the end of the journey for you. But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are "ready to go."
I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.
~I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen:
not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else~
May God's Blessings be upon you,
May your day be a blessing to someone else,
And may someone be a blessing to
To all Firefighters, EMS, and Police: You are
all forever in my heart, mind and prayers. May God bless you and your families!!
I'm glad to see that others are still doing
something to honor the memories of the EMS casualties of 9-11, even if the general
media and public are not.
The following is an editorial that I had submitted to newspapers here in SW Michigan shortly after 9-11, but oddly enough never got published. It has gotten strong support from the MI EMS community in private distribution, and hopefully the people here can appreciate it as well
My Story starts at 10pm on September 10th 2001. I was on my way to work and had a real bad feeling I couldnt shake. I met my partner, told him this. His immediate reaction was shit not again. Every time I get one of my feelings we have the night from hell. A gunshot to the head, a bad wreck on the belt, a person with asthma who waited until they were almost dead to call. Those were my bad feeling nights and we would get 6 or 7 calls like that. Well we waited, and waited. After not getting a single call all night my partner laughed at me. So much for your bad feelings, guess you can be wrong. I still couldnt shake that feeling. Something was telling me to stay but it was 7:30 and my day was over. So home I went 55 miles from the city to my house. I was in my fathers car because my clutch had blown and he gave it to him to go to work. I think every one knows what happened next. I sat in disbelief as I watched the news. My heart sank. My mother was supposed to be on the 81st floor of tower 1, the first tower hit. I paged her terrified of what might have happened. Thank fully she answered the page. Her training had been moved a few days ago to Queens instead of the WTC. As we talked, she was staring out the window with her coworkers in the training. I watched on the news as she saw it live. Tower 2 came tumbling down.
Then I saw it. The message we all hoped we would never see. Scrolling across the bottom of the screen, ALL Police officers, Firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics report to your duty stations, all leaves and vacations are canceled I called up the shop they said they would send someone for me and have my car finished by the time I got there.
I grabbed a few things and waited. When I got my car they had already cleared off the LIE for all but emergency traffic. I drove into work, hoping this wasnt real. Then I got there, this one point on the LIE I loved. Where you have a panoramic view of NYC and all its splendor. Well all I saw was black smoke pouring out of where the towers used to be. My heart sank and I became numb. Its time to go to work. I made the 75 miles from Riverhead to my station in 45 min, only pausing for checkpoints.
At my station there were 10 of us just waiting around. There werent enough ambulances to go around. I finally was told to receive one of our crews covering Queens. That was fine to me. We ended up with enough to keep us busy. Then we heard that another building had fallen. We started trying to call our partners and friends. It was no use. All long distance phone service was out and cell phones as well. We all gathered at the station waiting for some word. Calling frantically as one by one our phones started working.
It was there I finally ran into my partner. He looked at me somberly and said just this, Just shut the fuck up, not even you could have known this, we then hugged happy that the other was alive.
Word finally started pouring in, 6 of our coworkers were missing and presumed dead, hundreds of other EMTs Medics, Firefighters, and Police officers as well. I called a few friends thankfully finding out that some were safe at home. Other I had no word of. We had no contact with the crews from our station. We just hoped they were alive. Rumors spread like wildfire. 7 People dead from this station 10 from that. In the chaos people were lost in seconds. We had nothing to do but wait. A Few friends form out of state finally got through to me on my phone. I let them know I was alive but things were crazy to say the least.
We finally got sent on an supply run to the site. We loaded up the bus and headed in. It was like a scene out of the terminator movies. Wreckage everywhere spot fires blazed. Dust piled so high it looked like snow. I looked at a picture in the street. A Man his wife and child, I thought this once sat on someones desk. Someone that might be dead. There were bank files, statements, paperwork allover the place that once was in files. Its something I want to forget and never will.
Back at the station I met our other crews that went in. We were all happy to see each other and relieved that more people were safe. It was about midnight.
We all deconed and got checked out. Some people cam in by train so I offered a friend a ride home. We traveled in near silence only commenting now and then. How empty the road was. How strange it was for there to be no planes in the sky. I got home around 2 am.
I couldnt even think about sleep despite being up for 36 hours. I checked my answering machine. 20 messages, the tape was full. All friends and family worried about me. I checked my email another 50 messages. I send out a general e-mail. Not much just something to say I am alive but toasty and I thanked them for their concern especially those who I hadnt heard from in months.
I finally collapsed at 4 am. The next thing I knew it was 4pm and I was staring at my ceiling. I said something I never thought I would say in my life. I hope it was all a horrible dream. That hope ended as soon as I turned on my TV. It was real.
Things gradually returned to normal at work over the next few months. Our coworkers were found in various Jersey hospitals. Lost in the shuffle of wounded. However in all we lost 341 Firefighters, 12 EMTs and Paramedics, 28 NYPD officers and 37 PAPD officers in the line of duty.
I felt I had to do something being who I am, so I created this site. I hope it is a fitting tribute to those we lost.
Mary Immaculate Hospital EMS
From the Guestbook:
I am a NYC paramedic. Thank you for this website
Brooklyn, NY USA - Tuesday, September 25, 2001 at 04:54:41 ()
Hello, our prayers go out to the firefighters and their families, I just wanted to let you know that NYFirestore has designed a WTC memorial t-shirt with all the proceeds going to the familes of missing FDNY members.
NC USA - Sunday, September 23, 2001 at 21:22:20
Great site!! On behalf of the B.C. Ambulance service, our condolences to the families and friends of those lost. If anyone would like to chat, please feel free to email me.
Burnaby, B.C. Canada - Sunday, September 23, 2001 at 05:18:50
I'm an EMT for 20 years who has a son in Chesapeake who is a Firefighter/Paramedic now teaching. I think your site is great! God Bless
America and our lost brothers and sisters and their families.
Janice Haynes firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopewell Jct, NY USA - Saturday, September 22, 2001 at 03:26:41
nyc, ny USA - Wednesday, September 19, 2001 at 09:41:33
Our thoughts are with you all following the outrage in your country
East Midlands Ambulance Service, UK - Tuesday, September 18, 2001 at 23:12:10
Vol. Firefighter & EMT-Intermediate (paramedic student) here..thanks for such a great collection of cool stuff. Deepest sympathy to victims and families of WTC attack - our thoughts and prayers are with you.
USA - Tuesday, September 18, 2001 at 22:46:26
I just want to express my sympathy to the families of the firefighters who passed away at the WTC. I would like to send cards to each station involved, if anyone could help find out which ones and their respective adresses I would greatly appreciate it.
Jason J. Kitchen
Winnipeg, Mb Canada - Wednesday, September 12, 2001 at 06:03:50
My family and myself send our deepest condolences to the Libretti and Stackpole family on the loss of Daniel and Timmy. We know that it is one year and we just want to say our prayers will always be with them and a candle will always be lit in memory of them.
From the Mittleman Family, Noreen, Larry and Tracy
To whom it may concern:
I would like to thank one of your ems workers VAL she works for- 5686. I was at the world trade center disaster site with her and I would like to contact her and let her know that I'm thinking of her and let her know that her kindness for giving me my shot for my multiple sclerosis. I worked for the Salvation Army Disaster Services and when I left my home to come serve the country at Ground Zero I was so scared because I'm on medicine for MS and I had never given my self the shot before my son since age 12 had given me the shot he is now 16 and so when I left my home I left it in God's hands I knew he would help me find a way out. My son and family would like to thank her.
Please write back.
Thanks so much,
Linda Vetrano/The gal w/ the halo
My name is Nellie Rios From Redwood City California. I just want to say that my heart goes out to all the people who lost their loved ones in this terrible attack towards the USA. My God be with you every day and give you the strength to care on in your daily life. Sometimes I sit and pray to God and ask him the questions.. "Why did you let this happen".
God Bless America!!!
|I thought that you should know about an experience that
I had while visiting my daughter in NYC. I was taken ill while riding
the subway. EMS was called. Everyone that I dealt with from the fireman
that came to get us, to the EMS attendants, Charles Johndro and the young
lady that worked with him, to the hospital staff at Cabrini, acted in
a very professional manner while still making me feel secure and well-taken
Please give them our thanks.
Martha E. Oliva
Vero Beach Fl