It’s the Friday before a three day week-end and I am fresh out of ideas to post on my blog page – so, I am going to cheat. As a hobby, and to remove myself from the sometimes morbid and mundane world of disaster recovery and emergency response planning, I write poems, song lyrics and short stories. Most of these are posted on a web page at PoetrySoup.com and on a Facebook group page that I created, “Poems, Lyrics and Stuff by an Average Joe” (you can request to be a member of the group, if you like). And, being that the anniversary of 9/11 is only a few days away, I am going to include a little short narrative I wrote about that day earlier this year. Enjoy your 3 day weekend, all. Joe
My first concern was to contact family, friends and employees that might be in the immediate vicinity of the event. We are one of those lucky stories where my wife had a doctor’s appointment and did not go to work that morning, otherwise – well, I’d rather not think about otherwise.
Given what I do and where I was living at the time, I spent the rest of the week trying to find corporate real estate immediately available for occupancy and doing interviews. If you do a web search on my name and “eagle rock” you can still find some of those articles.
Early Saturday morning, I took my one son who still lived at home onto the city to volunteer our assistance. We took the Jersey City ferry into midtown. At first, we made our way to the Javits Center where volunteers were to gather. Even at 6:30 in the morning this place was pure chaos with hundreds of people wandering around with no organization.
We decided this was a lost cause and started walking down towards the World Trade Center. What a surreal experience this was. For 30 blocks we walked down the middle of NYC streets without any traffic in site. No taxis; no cars; no buses; no pedestrians. It felt like a scene out of a science fiction movie with NYC totally barren of life, save for the two figures making their way downtown.
A few blocks from downtown, we were met by roadblocks. We walked up and down a few streets to see if there was any place we could be of service. We came upon a street with a man on the other side of the blockade handing out water bottles to rescue workers returning from the WTC. We asked the police officer if we could assist the man and he let us inside the barrier.
The supply of water bottles was getting low so I gave the man $200 and he went off to purchase more. Meanwhile, my son and I handed bottles of water to rescuers covered in sweat and soot. Over time, a crowd started building up behind the barriers and people started cheering and clapping for each rescue worker as they came up to get some water.
Somehow, whenever the water bottle supply got low, a new supply arrived. My son and I spent hours handing out water to tired and thirsty rescue workers as the crowd grew and the cheering increased. It was just our way of providing what little help we could and it helped us, personally, come to terms with what had taken place in our own backyard.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of that tragic day on September 11. I hope we never forget.