Things I will never forget; September 11th

I originally posted this last year. However, many friends and acquaintances’ ask me what it was like to be at The World Trade Center on September 11th. This, I believe aptly describes that day from the ground.I will only add this preface from Emerson;

Not unless God made sharp thine earWith sorrow such as mineOut of that delicate lay couldst thouThe heavy dirge divine

  • The unrivaled clarity of that beautiful September day
  • The deafening sound of a jetliner hitting the WTC
  • The dreamlike state that occurred as I watched people blown by the blast blended and falling with jet fuel and debris
  • The war-like after effects on the ground
  • Endless acrid smoke and the burning smell of jet fuel
  • Paper, ceaseless paper, falling from the sky

– The cacophonous sound when detritus hits the ground from 100 stories; the horror as it struck the unfortunate trying to flee or help- Absolute panic and bewilderment in the faces of those to scared to move; the comfort reassurance can bring- Runelike sounds of screaming and sobbing from many as the situation was assessed and uncertainty became a factor- The fulminating sound of a second airliner hitting the South Tower, combined with the blinding, effulgent light created by tons of jet fuel igniting- Floor after floor of high rise glass shattering and the endless variegated crashing sounds of more debris- The ghastly, unforgettable sound a person makes when they hit the ground from 100 stories; the self disavowal that comes with watching such an event- Minutes that seemed like hours, defying all time perception; planning for retreat and egress where the lives of others hung in the balance- Exiting to absolute confusion and a multifarious, unrecognizable assortment of emanations that stung the senses- The clamorous, booming sound of a 100 story building disintegrating and falling to earth; the panic of being far too close and submission coming with that realization- Day becoming night; air becoming dirt; Divine protection and dose of luck- Silence, stentorian silence followed by choking in the initial stages of a ghastly awakening- The unmistakable rumble of a fighter jet shattering the day; the inexplicable hope that comes with that noise- The unending, sustained trip home on roads seemingly devoid of life; the powerful feeling of holding those you love and never wanting to let go- Anger that years of incompetence, inaction and meaningless interlocution permitted these events to occur – Days of insomnia, only to be broken by a promise the perpetrators would be pursued and we would be kept safe; promises kept and unceasing loyalty- Acceptance that things will never be the same