Friday, September 11, 2009

Because I was there.

I was in NYC 8 years ago on that Tuesday morning. I was in for the wedding of my former paramedic partner the Saturday beforehand, and it was the morning Mrs. N. and I were due to leave. I remember the confusion at first, as no one was quite sure what exactly happened when the first plane hit, but then watching the second plane hit, I knew right away this was no accident. We were staying with my mother in my old neighborhood in the Bronx. Immediately, and with a sense of dread, we tried to get hold of my brother, also a NYC paramedic. He works the overnight shift, and we were afraid that he might be on overtime, or was called back on duty and sent down there.

It turned out to be the latter, but fortunately, they kept him in the Bronx, and did not send him down to Ground Zero. Next, we tried to get hold of my cousin, who worked at Federal Plaza, which is a stone's throw away from the WTC. That took longer, as all the cell phone lines were jammed, but we did eventually find out that she did make it out of there and was headed back to her home in New Jersey.

I grew up in the northernmost end of the Bronx, so getting out of there was easier than in other parts of the city. We tried to go give blood at one of the local hospitals, but the line was so long for that, and we had a 6 1/2 hour trip ahead of us. We decided that we would give blood once we returned to Rochester. On the way to that hospital in the Bronx however, I encountered an eerie sight, as 2 F-15's screeched overhead of us, part of the aerial the patrol that wound up encircling the city for that day, and several more afterward.

We kept the radio tuned to whatever news stations we could find on the way, even trying to get whatever information we could going through the mountains and constantly picking up and losing stations. There was no music playing that day. Wherever you tuned to, there was only one story. We made it home, stunned, shocked, but relived.

We also realized how close it could have come to being victims, as we were not far from the WTC the day before, taking a day trip into Manhattan to revisit some old haunts.

So when you stop to think about today, think about the lives that were lost, both civilian and rescuers. Keep one rescuer in mind: EMS paramedic Ricardo Quinn, a former colleague. He died when Tower 1 collapsed. You can read about him here:

http://nosheepleshere.blogspot.com/2009/09/project-2996-remembering-ricardo-quinn.html


Because I was there, I cannot help but remember...

12 comments:

Sistertex said...

Nor can I. Thanks Mr. N. Hugs.

VioletSky said...

That must have been a horribly long drive to get home.

willow said...

My thoughts go out to you and the loved ones of Ricardo. A sad, sad, day in history.

A.D. Sisson said...

I remember. I will never forget. May the fallen rest in peace.

Thank you Mr. N.

Mr. Nighttime said...

Sistertex - Thank you

VS - We can normally do that drive standing on our heads, but that day, it seemed like it took forever.

Willow - Thank you for that.

Andy - Thanks, and we'll talk about it more on Monday over coffee.

Peter said...

I can hardly imagine how it must have felt Mr NightTime.

Losing a loved one is a tragedy, losing a loved one while he was trying to save the victims of this attack must have been devastating to the ones who were close to him.

In a way, the terrorists of 9/11 (and the ones in Spain and London, and Bali, and in so many places) partially succeeded by inducing a feeling that this could happen again, that our lives were not as safe as we imagined them to be.

Susie of Arabia said...

I have family in NYC too and my brother flies with AA, so I was initially concerned with their safety. We were all affected by what happened that day in so many different ways and we will never forget. I'm so sorry you lost your friend...

jay said...

A terrible day. The uncertainty must have been unbearable - and it's exactly that feeling of panic that the terrorists love to induce, isn't it?

No, it won't be forgotten. Not even by those who weren't even on the same continent.

I'm sorry you lost a friend.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Living in a sleepy little area so 'unimportant' it pretty much survived WWII intact it's impossible to imagine how terrible and terrifying this was.
I will never forget though.
Love BG x

Bina said...

I remember that day all too well, as I'm sure most people do. My father died the next day of liver failure and I had been in Florida. Had to drive from there to TN, get my husband and kids and drive to WV. I listend to the news the whole time and I cried, and felt so terribly bad and had horrible visions of those people and what they must have gone through.

May God rest their souls.

Joanna Cake said...

I have watched a lot of the programmes recalling what happened that day but I dont think that sense of shock when the second plane hits will ever go away. The fear and panic of the people in those buildings and the sheer terror of those on the planes themselves. It doesnt bear thinking about and yet we must because to not think about them would be to forget and that would be unforgiveable.

Guyana-Gyal said...

A boy my sister went to school with [in Guyana], was killed there. His mother almost went mad, I heard some women say.

Another reason I hate that day - it brings such sorrow and shame to good, peaceful Muslims...we're despised, mocked, are under suspicion, because of those terrorists.