September 11th 2001: What I Remember

September 11th 2001: What I Remember

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It was the 11th of September 2001 and was a lovely warm and tranquil
morning. Not a lot of people had stirred as it was only 6:00 am but
although I had to be at work in half an hour I didn't feel like
rushing because I was in one of those lazy moods and I was still a bit
tired. When I was dressed and fed, I left my house and started to walk
down the shady quiet street towards the fire station in which I
worked. When I finally got there, the sky had brightened up and there
was sound starting to emerge from the everyday morning start of the 9
to 5'ers who seem to have so many things to do before they go to work
and are rushing around to get everything done.

Inside the fire station there were already some of the lads, joking
around with each other and watching a bit of television, so naturally
I went and joined in.

Along came 8:00am which meant that we had to go and clean the engines
and ready the equipment, just in case we had any emergency calls, this
prepared us and meant that we could respond at our best. It was nearly
10:00am all but about a minute and we had finished all of our daily
tasks so (although I am a fireman) I decided to go outside for a
cigarette and relax a bit.

I loved just going outside and standing in the street, you could watch
the mayhem of the everyday life of all the other people around, also
we had some fantastic views from our street, for example the world
trade centre, it was magnificent, the tallest two buildings in the
world, so close to my daily life.

I don't know why, but on that particular morning, for the couple of
minutes that I stood there I felt a bit strange. I noticed how
everyone around was so happy and cheerful. There was a smile on the
face of every single person I could see, they all seemed so content

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with life and there was not one person anywhere who seemed like they
had any sort of problem, it was so peaceful to watch.

As I stood there I realised that I could hear an enormous roaring
sound overhead, almost like a thousand lions screaming to get out of a
cage. That is when It first started (although It didn't really sink in
what was happening at that precise moment), this ultimate force came
shattering overhead and it flew straight into one of those truly
magnificent sights of mine and caused an explosion that literally
blinded me of everything that I could usually see.

By the time that I had finally contemplated what had happened there
were people literally running and screaming everywhere and the happy,
peaceful streets had become chaos. My work pals were yelling at me to
hurry up and get my equipment sorted out so that we could go, at this
point I just could not believe what had just happened, right in front
of me. I got ready faster than I ever had before and before I knew it
we were in our big red engine speeding towards the flaming building in
which had smoke billowing out of it.

Minutes later we were outside the ruined structure leaping out of the
engine and helping people evacuate the situation as fast as possible.
We entered the main lobby of the building and there were firemen
absolutely everywhere, from every precinct around, there were 5 or 6
fire chiefs all having a discussion over what to do and they were
setting up teams of firemen to go upstairs to evaluate the situation
and see if anyone could be helped. Just then one looked up and called
me over, I jogged towards him and asked if I could help, he replied
"we need as many men as possible to volunteer to go upstairs".

Without a second thought I agreed and was 'kitting up' ready.

When on the staircase (which was enclosed with smoke) I decided that I
would go as far up as possible and help people up there. As I went
further up I was passing other firemen who were going down and telling
me that it was not safe to go any higher, my mind was in a spin
because as the other firemen were telling me not to go any higher, I
could here the scared screams of the frightened trade centre employees
and I thought that I must help them. I persevered on and as I got
closer to the screams I knew myself that it was not at all safe to be
here, but I was not bothered by this because something else had drawn
my attention, it was the same high velocity roar that I had originally
heard and this time it was exceptionally close and thought that it was
going to hit me and I was going to die, but instead I 'once again'
heard that 'earth shaking' explosion and realised that something else
had now been hit.

It was pitch black where I was and other than a couple of trapped
trade employees in whom I was trying to help, there was no-one. I
could hear screams and shouts of hundreds of people who sounded truly
terrified and this was not at all a pleasant surrounding to be left on
your own with. As I was thinking about all of this being over, the
floor that I was standing on shook very violently and everything
around me compacted very suddenly.

That was the last thing that I remember, before I woke up in a
hospital not too far from my home, being broken the news that I was
the only man still alive from my precinct and that I was lucky.
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