View Full Version : September 11 Memorial

09-11-2011, 07:33 AM

As many of you know, I'm a retired firefighter. I was a member of the Upstate NY Urban/Technical Search and Rescue Team (then called NYRRT-1, now called NYT-2) on September 11, 2001.

I was in my office at the Schenectady Fire Department when the planes hit the towers. When the first hit, I thought, "Oh, no- Accident!" , remembering that a plane had hit the Empire State Building in the 30s.

When the second collision took place, I just grabbed my roster, and headed to the office. I was in charge of the Paramedic Program, and knew that we had to make sure we knew who was on duty, who was available, and who we could send down with the Team.

Because of my job, I couldn't go until September 13. Even so, what I saw, smelled, and went through will always be a part of me, as were the S&R instructors from FDNY who had become friends, and who we lost in the collapses.

I spent two non-consecutive weeks at Ground Zero with the team; we were there to work - we saw some celebrities who came out, no makeup, no publicity, to volunteer their time (Ben Vereen stands out in my mind - he'd been a Salvation Army volunteer for 20 years, at that point), and some who came to gawk and be seen. I had no use for them. (And if you play baseball for the NY Yankees, you know EXACTLY who you are! Yes, I'm talking to YOU, D.J.!)

I only knew about 20 of the victims that day; there are a lot more that I'd have been proud to know. I think about them often, not just on September 11.

There are a lot of memorials today, all over the country. As I'm still in California, I had to decline taking part in one back home.

But I had my own.

At 5:30 Pacific Time, (8:30 in New York), I drove to the Camden Community Center in Campbell, CA, and sat on a park bench at the bus stop. I took out my Sceptre, and began to play, starting with "Simple Gifts/lord Of The Dance". Every song I played was one of celebration, thinking of the people who died- I don't want to mourn their loss, but the celebrate their lives.

At 5:45 (8:45 NY), I stop, for a moment of silence. ironically, there was one pervading sound at that moment - a jet flying overhead.

I played for another 15 minutes, then stopped again - this time, there was silence.

I finished with "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" - chorus only, because the verse gets really depressing - the packed up and went home.

And felt better.

I make one final recommendation for today - Please read the "Doonesbury" comic strip in today's newspaper (or on line). Garry Trudeau got it right.


09-11-2011, 08:18 AM
Thank you.

Uke Whisperer
09-11-2011, 09:20 AM
10 or 11 of our local fire fighters got together today, put on all their "call-out" clothing and equipment and completed a walk from one end of North Myrtle Beach to the other. That's just over 9 miles on the sandy beach. It was suggested by local officials that they divide the walk into 3 separate, 3 mile sections, with 3 different groups. They all said no! The reason they gave was that even 9 miles under the conditions was "nothing" compared to their what their "brothers" had done in New York. Many of us residents and tourists were on the beach encouraging them and thanking them for everything they do and have done. Special thanks to you too Kurt! (that is truly heartfelt!)

09-11-2011, 01:27 PM
It is fitting that your choice of ukulele is a Sceptre, because in all things you are a powerful person. Your memorial this morning was very touching. I have deep respect for all who worked in the rubble. I couldn't have done it.

I remember on 9/12 watching the CEO of an investment firm called Cantor-Fitzgerald on ABC pleading and crying for anyone who knew the whereabouts of any of his employees that were alive to please call him. And then he gave his personal home and cell numbers on national TV. I suppose until that point, I had not comprehended the magnitude of what had happened. I sobbed uncontrollably for more than 30 minutes.

Today, I awoke from midnight shift, went to the living room, where my wife was watching a flashback show on TV. I did fine through the show, then after I was recounting to her the things I remembered most. The sky was a deep blue, no clouds in it, and no jet contrails due to the entire nation being a no-fly zone. Then I started telling her about the CEO from Cantor-Fitzgerald...started sobbing. Couldn't stop. So many lives, so many families broken just in that one business on that 106th and 107th floors. It all hit me again. I can't imagine if I had actually known anybody that passed in the attacks.

09-11-2011, 09:41 PM

Thank you for your service. The St. Helena (CA) Fire Department was displaying a massive (several stories tall ) American flag to commemmorate 9/11.

09-11-2011, 10:03 PM
I don't want to get at all political, but it's amazing how much good was done in the midst of such terrible things. I think, in so many ways, September the 11th should give us great faith in ourselves as a species.

People ran up the stairs.

09-12-2011, 01:03 AM
The original post had uke content, so personally I'd say that justifies leaving this thread in Uke Talk, even if few of the replies mention 'ukuleles...

9/11 was a terribly sad day. I watched a TV news show on the Internet from my office desk during a break. As the Internet gradually clogged up mine was the only connection in my office still working and I was surrounded by colleagues who watched, aghast and mostly in near silence, as things happened. Even higher management and directors came to watch. Productive work was pretty much abandoned.

No one could really process what we were seeing. It was one of those situations that just made no sense.

The injury and loss of life, and the grief of friends and families left behind are beyond my capacity to really comprehend. I expect many of the people personally touched by the events wish they could say the same.

But with all the terrible things that happened, we saw and heard examples of the very best in human nature: courage, compassion, sympathy, determination and more.

Even through violence of such magnitude, the misguided souls who did those evil things were unable to stop people from finding the strength to do good. That suggests to me that perhaps humanity can't quite be written off just yet. For a while there, though, it seemed like a close call.

One tries to think of an appropriate message of tribute, memorial, support. Personally, I find myself unable to find the right words, so I'll shut up now.

Please note:

Political or otherwise inappropriate posts in this thread will just be deleted without comment. I would also suggest that this may not be the time or place to address anger or blame.

Let's just remember.