In Memory of Those Who Perished on 9/11

Discussion in 'Use of the Law Forum & News' started by Michael Wechsler, Sep 11, 2011.

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  1. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Law Topic Starter Administrator Staff Member

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    This is a strange and difficult time for me, especially seeing all the "hoopla" and memorials in remembrance of what happened ten years ago. To me it's like a visit to a cemetery to pay homage to a loved one, a difficult memory. We should remember those that perished, including our bravest from NYPD and NYFD - the New York Police Department and New York Fire Department - but also not forget how our own troops have died in the military serving our country, voluntarily sending themselves into death's way.

    I had received a call about the plane that crashed into the WTC just before entering the subway and boarding a train headed downtown. I had to get off at Times Square, which was like a ghost town - very odd for a work day morning. I looked up at the big screen in Times Square, which was broadcasting pictures of the scene, including people jumping off the roof in the hope of somehow being saved from the perils of the burning building. It was difficult to watch with one eye on the screen and the other of the real life event just a mile and change away. I couldn't make out faces and, at that moment, was ill and grief stricken. It didn't matter to me who it was - I'd know soon enough whom I wouldn't see again. I was consumed by the thought that any human being had to endure making such a devastating choice for survival followed by a final memory that could not be more horrifying.

    I left Times Square and kept walking downtown after reaching the street, looking straight ahead downtown where I had a clear view of the towers and the smoke above them. At some point which was frozen in time, I heard someone yell "the towers are falling!" I remember seeing people standing outside their cars, eyes transfixed on the building. I don't remember anyone honking rudely or getting aggravated that traffic wasn't moving. It was like a scene from a movie... and then the towers imploded. It looked like demolition charges were planted even though I highly doubt that they were as per the conspiracy theorists. The buildings seemed to drop straight down and a plume of black smoke rose above them. My stomach went right through my heart and out my mouth and I realized I said "Oh My God!" a few times. I then became ill wondering which one of my friends and family perished in this disaster.

    I walked home with a wave of very numb people. The subway trains were not running and mobile phones were practically useless. When I arrived to my block on the Upper West Side in the Lincoln Center area, I was hugged by some neighbors who barely knew my name. I believed they were genuinely happy to see me, a familiar face, a life that they would continue to see again and not have to mourn as a missing, gaping hole in their normalcy.

    When I arrived home I did what everyone else did - turn on the TV and use the Internet, especially email. I sent messages to everyone I knew that I was fine, not taking the time to filter out those that might be irrelevant. Amazing stories trickled in about some friends who were either late getting to the office, took the day off or whom had left the building only moments before. Like most, I was glued to the television and watching news coverage, trying to make sense of what this insanity meant. It was not a productive day.

    Late that night I finally fell asleep. I think the most horrible moment came when I awakened to the sound of helicopters in the air. It was the terrifying confirmation that what had happened actually happened and was not an ephemeral nightmare. I got up, went outside and walked the streets at what must have been 6AM. I didn't recall seeing a newspaper available as all had already sold out, as had supplies such as water. I went back home, sat down, kept communicating with friends via email and watched the news. I found out that someone whom I hadn't known well but was a part of distant family had perished, calling his family moments before the buildings collapsed to tell them that he was just finishing work and taking a few things before he planned to depart the building. Nobody knows how much time they actually have left.

    The next few days were difficult. The firehouse near my apartment had lost many men. A huge number of bouquets of flowers adorned the exterior. It's a difficult, tear inducing memory. We need to make the most out of the moments we have left. On a day like today I'm thankful I know all of you, even those of you whom I only know by screen name.
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