I live in New Jersey, I was on my way to work at giants stadium, while driving I heard the report of a plane hitting the WTC, on the radio,Howard Stern. I immediately, thought it must 've been a small cessna type plane, until i rounded the corner and crested the Hill by the Bendix Diner on rt 17 and it was obvious it was not a cessna. The tower looked like a lit ciggarette. a few minutes later when i got into the lot at the stadium, the second plane hit, it was just a streak in the corner of my eye then, a large explosion. I couldn't belive what i was seeing. when the first tower collapsed i thought it was the subways exploding. I just couldn't comprehend the buildings collapsing.
At that point everyone decided to leave and go home, on my way home the bergen cty task force was activated, we went and stood by at a park in leonia, but never moved from there.
two days later, myself and 3 other members of our dept could not sit idle any longer, we went around and collected socks , flashlights, water , clean clothes dust masks, etc... and decide to bring them into the city. We brought our gear w/ us just in case. we figured that we would be turned away,but we all knew many that were killed that day, and we hoped we could help find them.
as we progressed down the west side hiway, we were waved through every check point until no vehicles could go any further.the national guardsman told us to park there and get on a bus that would bring us down to GZ. we put our gear on and proceeded onto the bus. the bus took us and a few others medics, soldiers, & police to a small marina, where we got on a ferry and they sailed us around to directly behind the large building between the towers and the river. a few minutes later my whole life changed. the next 3 days we spent on the pile working feverishly with thousands of other people. not much was said, one of the guy's i was with got a nasty laceration on his arm, a medic stitched him right there on the pile. at one point we slept for a few hours on some desks in a building down the street whose windows had been blown out. by saturday command regained some structure and all of those who shouldn't be there, were forced to leave. we left, got back on a bus and they took us back up to about where our car was. whwn we got out there were thousands of people lining the streets coming up and hugging us, thanking us offering food and water, calling us hero's. I have never felt less like a hero then that day. the car ride home remained silent like much of the previous few days. the four of us still remain friends and 3 of us are still firefighters, but we have never discussed ground zero.
I would like to take a moment, many of you may disapprove of the fact that myself and others went down there. many may feel that we didn't belong. I have battled with that decision many times in the last seven yrs.I have the utmost respect for the FDNY and it's past and present members. I've heard some call others like me sightseer's, It just wasn't true. everyone i saw was working! searching, hoping. many people in this country lost friends that day. i know we found remains in those few days, who they werei don't know. i'm just glad i could return them to their families!

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Replies to This Discussion

Driving in for duty, heard Howard Stern get ripped off the air and next thing I knew it was a chaotic news report and then went into work to watch the first tower collapse. I hit my knees and just prayed. Nothing could describe what was going through my mind....
I was working as a truck driver, under load heading to Springfield, MO. I had stopped at a truckstop on highway MO65. I had just come out of the restroom when I heard someone exclaim "My God, what's happening", while looking at the TV. Everyone stood frozen as we watched the second plane slam into the other tower. Though I knew no one personally, the fallen will not be forgotten.
I was at work in springfield missouri at the loren cook co. We knew someyhing was going on but no one knew what. When I got home that afternoon and saw it for myself I just sat and cried. I didn't know what else to do.
I was 16 and had just walked in to my Spanish II class in high school. We walked in and everyone was just sitting there staring at the tv so we walked to our seats and just watched. The whole day all we did was talk in all of our classes about what was going on and how it was going to effect us. For many days after that we just watched the news and talked about the events going on there and when they sent our N.G. off we all made huge signs and stood out by the hwy to wish them well.
We were just unlaoding a patient at the local hospital when we heard. I was born just across the river from the WTC. We got back to the station and called the chief to see if we could go out and help. We put together a list of people and submitted it to FEMA for assignment but never got deployed.
I was in bed when, my roommate came upstairs to my room and said that one of the twin towers were hit. I thought he was joking and told him to quit playing. He said " I'm not kidding. the twin tower was hit. If you don't believe me come down stairs its all over the t.v. . So, I got up and went downstairs and sat down and watched in disbelief. I couldn't come to mind what could make someone do that. All those people trapped. All the fire and police personnel running in and out of those buildings. To watch both towers fall, I can't even begin to explain the emotions I was going through. All I could do was pray to God to help all those people including the Pentagon and the flight that crashed in Pittsburgh. When you hear that "We Will Never Forget", that's exactly what it means for me. I Will Never Forget! God rest all those who died during that tragic event and those who have and will sacrifice their lives for our freedom and safe well-being.
i just wanted to say that one i'm not from the fdny, but my squad was sent to ny to help with running ems for them while they were working on the pile non stop. i wanted to do the same thing that you did. i never thought for a moment that the people the went up to help were part of jumping a call so to speak. i fell the whole country hurt that day and anyone that that is in the field of fire fighting, ems, police, in the the line of helping people. you spend your whole life giving your life to the service of town, city, state, and country and when something like this happens everyone hurts, everyone wants to help and other people did what they could do. they went up there and made peanut butter sandwiches,eye doctors took care of their eyes due to all the debris and smoke. vet docs came and helped the dogs on the pile, people bought water by the trunk load, boots for the people on the pile since the fire boots were melting, work jumpers so the guys didn't have to wear there bunkers that was hindering them, making them tired from being so heavy after awhile. see every person within several states any driving within driving distance and rendered help. so the fire fighters, ems, and police did what they knew to do to help. you offered your service. i am proud of all the people that gave their help to ny, dcand pa. we are a country that wants to help others in their time of need and just like katrina, people offered there help in the way they knew how. when i was there the people that lived there stood on the sides of the road and clapped and had signs for us that were coming in to help. i think that says it all!
I was at home cleaning the house with the tv on...i wasn't really listening but it seemed at the moment the announcement came over the air about a plane hiting one of the towers I just couldn't catch my breath..I thought at first I was daydreaming..then my fiance called from work ( it happened to be my day off) and asked me if by chance I had had the tv or radio on..I said yes ..I asked him if it was true and he said yes, just then the second plane hit...i was a single mom of six children and had been in the fire service for almost twenty years by then. My kids had not yet heard about what was happening. I decided to go to the school and bring them home..I just somehow knew at that point something was not right. Later on that day I along with several others from my department from upstate New York were packed and ready to leave for the city. My children all begged me not to go. I ended up not going down that day or even the next. My children thanked me, but I live with the guilt of not going to help out, but at the same time am glad that I did not go due to what is happening with the ones that did go. My fiance died from cancer just a litle over a year ago. And now I only have my children. I know how those families of 911 must feel along with the families of the guys and gals who are suffering health problems now. You and your families will remain in our hearts and prayers for ever.
The Mehlenbacher family
I was at work, Then I went to search for my brother.

He never came home.
Hi I was just getting up for work and just happend to turn on the TV and seen the plain go in to the second tower and my heart stoped. I have been a Volunteer for Diferent Fire Dept's. over the years and to Lose just one Brother or Sister is too much but on that day it was the worest thing to happen to all of us.
After 18 years I had to retire due to health reasons and that was the hardest thing to do every time I here the General go I want to head to the station.
We all must rember All of our Brothers and Sisters that have been lost over the years. Even to this day just thinking of 9/11/01 it hurts real real bad.
LT. FF1, EMT-B Homer
I was only 12 and my mom was dropping me off at school. We sat in the car for 30 mins in the parking lot before I got out and walked in. The whole day was news channels and discussions. Many kids had no idea what the big deal was. Then the tower fell. That's when it started to click with some of them, next came the second tower, and I saw more faces collect what they had just seen. And when you heard the reports of the missing and dead, who they were, most of us knew that this was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. I knew right then and there that my calling in life was to help people who needed help. I just didn't know it was the Fire/EMS service. God Bless the FDNY! Always in our hearts.
I was sleeping on my couch with the tv on after working a twelve hour shift through the night. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was footage of the 2nd plan hitting the tower. I thought it was just a movie at first and then relized that it was actually the news on. Never will I forget the feelings that words can't describe.

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