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Posted: 9/10/2004 8:40:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 4:55:35 AM EDT by Balzac72]
Its been 3 years since the terrorists attacked New York City and America. Since that day, when roughly 3000 Americans lost their lives for merely being Americans, not much in the world has changed. Terrorists are thriving, they are still committing atrocious acts in the name of Islam and Islamic leaders are not denouncing these acts as vile murders against humanity, punishable by an eternity in hell.

Mainstream America has left those of us who live in 9/11/01 to be the only ones to carry on the memory, except when the commercialism of “Patriot Day” comes along and “WTC Tower Tins” of cookies need to be sold. I feel that as a nation, we’ve forgotten the faces of the dead and forgotten even faster who the perpetrators of the most horrible terrorist attack are. The media has bastardized the attacks of 9/11 into a three ring circus, including attempts to say that the government had actual knowledge of the attacks before they occurred and turned a blind eye to them.

The 9/11 commission failed to point a finger at the real cause of 9/11 – the Arab Muslim world. It failed to say specifically that the perpetrators of this crime against humanity wasn’t a Washington D.C. politician who didn’t give enough of a budget to the CIA or FBI, but that it was due to a bastardized religion, being followed by fanatics. It would seem that to toe that line would be tantamount to really saying we’re at war with Islam. However, in light of the recent Russian School Massacre, where hundreds of children, including infants, died at the hands of fanatic, sub human muslims, I believe we as a race of Americans need to unite with the rest of the world to flush terrorists into oblivion.

How else can we continue to exist if our mere presence in the world is an agitating factor? How can we breath without fear of each breath being our last?

Every time I look at New York City, I feel proud that we’re doing something right and that its still standing in all of its magnificent glory. To say we’ve accomplished nothing is to deny that we’ve prevented other attacks on our homeland under the watchful eye of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. To them, I owe a debt of gratitude. I owe them my sanity as well. You see, if we didn’t respond to 9/11, I don’t think I could function. Under President Clinton, we watched as terrorists ripped at our underbelly, by striking us overseas and even here in the United States during the first World Trade Center attack, where they tried to blow up one building to make it collapse onto the other. Yet this attack as well as the attacks on our embassies and USS Cole went without response. I thank Bush for that same lack of impotence I felt when we failed to respond to people murdering our citizens and military personnel under Clinton.

I also thank President Bush for his leadership and pray that he will lead my brother, ChrisLE and Hoplite safely overseas and do all he can to protect them and guide their units to route out the enemy to safeguard this country from the looming catastrophe we’ve faced in the past.

With that said, I’ll introduce you to what I wrote on the night of 9/11/01 after I returned from Ground Zero.

I wrote this piece in a frame of mind I’ll never repeat. I read this piece and realize that it wasn’t me writing it. It isn’t my writing style or even the way I think. I don’t know how I came out of whatever had overcome me, but I thank God for the strength to overcome it. I thank him for helping me come to terms with the images in my mind’s eye. I also thank him for allowing me the same feelings to come up every year at the anniversary of 9/11, when so many Americans are more interested in what’s on TV, rather than what was on TV, three years ago. So, with this said, I introduce you to the frame of mind I was in after witnessing the carnage of 9/11 up close and personal. I wish there were more pictures to show, but I was never able to afford a film scanner, so I’m stuck with what I had done by friends after 9/11.

I hope you can appreciate what I wrote, even though it isn’t my normal literary masterpiece. Following the story are some of the pics you guys know me for. I've also added a couple new ones.

Link Posted: 9/10/2004 8:41:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2004 8:47:11 PM EDT by Balzac72]
It is the worst thing you'll ever imagine coming true....then not believing it. It started with a phone call and a knock. The trade tower is on fire. There are speculations on what happened, you look out the window and gasp. It has happened. The Tower is on fire and is burning hard. You set up your camera, specially placed on a tripod to get the perfect shot before the fire department puts the blaze out and there is nothing to see. As you are looking through your New York voyeur 10x20mm Zeiss binoculars you see it. The cause of the first fire and the most unhuman act in history…a plane flying level and low facing uptown at you, then banking hard right, disappearing. You and mike ask each other where it went. You and Suzie see it exiting your side of the building, having struck the underbelly of American freedom and security. The second unscathed tower is in flames. Did I just see that? No. No way. The TV confirms my hallucination. It has happened. It really happened. The second unscathed tower is a flaming inferno. You see this with your own eyes. The numbness sets in. A knock at the door, your resident advisor asking if anyone wants to pray for the people in the buildings. You ask him if he’s seen the carnage. “No, not yet.” You share the view of the end of the end of the world with him. He’s dumbfounded. Seems that that’s the general reaction around here lately. A phone call from your dad, he’s concerned about you. “ Everything is ok dad, you won’t believe what I just saw.” “ Hold on, I’ve got a guest, let me walk into the living room.” “Ok dad, I’m back….yeah, I’m looking out the window now….GOD, its an inferno, both buildings were hit and I saw the second plane fly into the tower…I know dad, its gotta be the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen in my life…hold on…something is happening….” You stand with your camera poised and at the ready. You watch again. Blackness. Blackness? AGAIN?????

“ OH GOD DAD, HOLY SHIT! THE TOP OF THE BUILDING IS FALLING OFF….OH GOD, ITS GONE, WHAT IS HAPPENING????” It is over before it began. Meltdown is the best way to explain it. The building melted. Yeah, keep telling people that and the men with the funny jacket will be coming real soon. Yet, with the way your day just started, it seems that this explanation is ok, it sits well on the tongue, the palate finds this pleasing as well. You swallow. HARD. You wait and watch, everyone is silent. In unison, you and Jon say it…”the other building is next.” You wait and watch. Why miss it? Morbid curiosity or watching the worst chapter in United States history unfold? Either way, you should not miss it. None should miss this. People will not die in vain. Everyone will remember. You will make sure your story is heard. Anyone can watch the news, living it makes you a part of it. You sit and wait. Camera poised again. It happens with the same speed and shock factor as the first cataclysmic collapse. Every floor that falls speeds up the pace of the fall. It is a reverse mushroom cloud. The top of the building falls inward as the shell falls out and the dust flies up. Is this what a war is like? Are we at war and we don’t know it? WE ARE NOW! I think of that word for a minute, then realize it is your worst fear come true. Erik, your baby brother is in West Point. He’s a first year plebe, but not impervious to a future war. Time moves fast, you’ve learned that very recently due to the conclusion of your first year at Fordham Law School. He can be an officer, but also a man in conflict if this is war. This is not a thought to have now. Deal with it later, he is fine and dandy right now. Concentrate on what you have witnessed. Make sense of it. Do not let other thoughts contaminate and overcome you. You will not be defeated by this.

Coming to grips with your recent memory is difficult. You will never be the same, but how are the others. You are still numb, your pain will come later. You check on Jon, Mike, his girlfriend Suzie and Dave, they are white. Whiter than normal. But they are a blur again. You still must reassure yourself that this happened. Wait, no…it happened TWICE. Shit. You’re cracking up now aren’t you? Wait, no, that’s Mike cracking up. You plant a seed in their heads…chemical/biological contaminants on the planes. SEAL OFF THE BUILDING. No, not realistic. Mike is panic struck. He tells you he is leaving, going to stay with family upstate. He has no idea what is already on your mind. Jon, he is watching the smoke rise through the binoculars. He has the Nikon, you saved the good Zeiss binoculars for yourself. It doesn’t matter though, you’ve seen enough. Or have you.
Reports come back that there are hijacked planes. 4…5…6...7…8…9, then it happens, word comes that another plane struck the Pentagon.

What is happening?

Who is doing this?


There will be no answer today, only carnage. It strikes you to take a closer look. Mike has already taken flight out of the city, based on my own words. Your advice. Your other roommate Jon is sick, in disbelief, incredulous. You sit dumbfounded; not believing your eyes, thinking insanity has finally gripped you at the ripe age of 24. Yet life isn’t that easy. It is real, people are dead, things must be done to survive.

Another plane crashes in Pennsylvania. It was marked as a potential hostage situation. Did it get shot down? Answers will come later, much later. Right now you are thinking. Mike is gone; your voice of reason is now your girlfriend who happens to be on Long Island. There is no need to tell her. No need to worry. What next? Do you have something brewing in your mind? Yes. You must go into the sunlight, your favorite place, Columbus Circle and Central Park.
You grab your camera, film, hat, courage and go, trying to capture the humanity of the victims. Everyone is a victim. How can there only be one person who can show the agony when everyone is breathing labored terrorized breaths?

Broadway is a good road to walk down. You know the jumbotrons in Times Square will have the news on, which means you can see what unfolds next. An added bonus is that you can see the reactions of many people. You walk, at a very fast pace. However, you are not an observer, you are a participant. You stop, you talk. Men are happy President Bush is in office, there will be a quick, strong strike like Pappy Bush would want. No weakness, we will hear later you are right. Women are crying. Crying for people they know, don’t know and wish they had the chance to know. Death. It pervades the atmosphere. Anger follows closely behind. Retribution.

You reach Times Square. A silence that is only broken by whispers and sobbing. It is a mass funeral. They just don’t know it yet. The silence is broken by the streams and screams of ambulances flying down Broadway, escorted by New York’s finest. They know not yet of the death of many of their brethren. It will come soon and hard for them. I pray for their friends and colleagues. Brothers. They are more than friends, they are… BROTHERS. The thoughts find their way back into your head again. Erik…West Point…WAR.

You reach the Flatiron Building, there is smoke downtown, I expect it, but not this much. I cannot breath it in my lungs yet, there is no appreciation. Yet. Setting up the tripod gets some people pissed, but they understand. This catastrophe needs to be recorded in many ways. Mine is mainstream, but appreciated by many. A picture is worth a thousand words as they say.

You continue onward, the thought of biological contaminants on your mind. If you were thinking rationally, you wouldn’t be here now anyway, would you? Play it safe, sit in the apartment, do nothing, be an observer. Hell no, onward march.

Walking through the village was never easier, no cars, no worries. Seeing people congregate next to cars, which have radios playing. It still is not clear why you are still walking downtown. It will be soon.

You are somewhere, unfamiliar land. It is the same New York City you knew, but it is tainted. What is the feeling I have now? It is familiar. You cross streets, avoiding New York’s finest with speed and finesse. They cannot catch up, you are in the clear. The presence of blue is everywhere, officers are doing their best, but confusion allows you to continue onward. Dead end. You are done. But you have a great spot for pictures of cars, which have soot and dust on them. Ashes. Black billowing smoke is everywhere in front of you. You now realize that you are there. The towers are only six blocks down, but you’re at a dead end. The lack of them confused you. You shoot more pictures, reassuring yourself with each shot that it is real. Not a movie. Danger? No, not for you. BOOM! BEHIND YOU! A ladder was pushed away from the building you’re standing next to and it is on the fence that blocked your path. It beckons. The darkness is finding a path for you. You obey and follow. It draws blood, taking a patch of skin and blood from your palm. Not the worst to happen to you today, you know it. This type of pain you can deal with, it is tangible, there is pain on the way that you will never comprehend. You make your way down to the street. Police again. You work your way east. A flaming inferno covered by black smoke. It was a tower. It is nothing now. Something that large, strong and admired is gone. What will happen to you? You are eager to find out.

Hunger pains are now gone, you have not eaten today, but did you really think you could have? There is something driving you onward. It takes care of your needs. It will help again today, on more than one occasion. Do you owe anything now?

You wander, taking pictures. You don’t know how much time has passed, nor do you care. You need nothing. You see all shops are closed, except one. A One-Hour photo. You feel the entity sending you a message again. You take heed.

You now find yourself at city hall and the court houses. Pace University is to the left. You cannot get that far. You start blending into the scenery. There is a lot. Brooklyn Bridge is still standing. There are pilgrims to Brooklyn walking across. A fire hydrant is opened, you take the opportunity to wash your burning eyes, you never know when this will be available again. It allows you to keep shooting the war. People are bloodied, but they resist treatment, they would rather chance their injuries than stand near the entity anymore. You will later understand. You find a news crew, the channel 11 WB. Its kind of ironic that they are the only news crew here and they broadcast from the top of the World Trade Center. They are uninterested in what you have seen, people there have seen and been in worse. You walk to the court houses to get a better shot, but you feel a large hand grabbing your neck and squeezing. Busted. It ends here, I know it.

No. He only wants me to go back across the street. I learn there are too many ashes in my ears to have heard his previous commands. I go back to the fire hydrant. Being deaf here could bring death. I walk up to the Brooklyn Bridge entrance, since I know that people are allowed to cross. I use this opportunity to get in closer and to mooch rolls of film from the pros. They will not go where I venture today. Much closer.

Hundreds of firemen, police and EMS workers stand, waiting. Role calls, confusion. You follow a female officer into a door that the police broke down into a local hardware store. She gives you the facemask you will wear the rest of your battle. It sooths, there is an anonymity that comes with it. You blend easier now. You are equipped. Instead of coughing and choking, you also breathe easier. You shoot the men on duty, taking their anguish, sorrow and defeat on film. You will not succumb to their fate. There is something working on your side, you are positive now. You are the only one there with a camera; everyone else was forcibly thrown out. Uh oh, you are spotted. Turn and walk … caught again. You leave, but only after taking in the flames, smoke and fury that is the beast. Back to the Brooklyn Bridge, earlier you noticed a way to pass under it, it called to you. It looked too dark then, but now it is the last option. You continue shooting faces, there are so many faces. None are the happy smiling Monday night football faces. They are faces defeated. OH DAMN, your batteries are dead and you are on your last roll. Wait! There’s that camera store! Salvation, or is it?
The camera store shows you the pictures the others have taken. They are participants like yourself, the observers will see them later if they are lucky. Refreshed and renewed, you continue your quest. You still don’t know what you are looking for, but you know it will come. You cut up and down blocks, taking pictures of the inferno, cars pass and kick up furious dust storms, hell bent on taking your eyes and ears. You pass the NYU Medical Center, they are taking blood donations. No chance, you fear needles more than the evil that lies ahead! You briefly feel bad, but only because you could be proactive in helping in this time of disaster. It would mean stopping, for good. No chance, must keep moving on. The ashes are thick. Your hat is your new shield, it is a black Gilligan hat your brother bought on Canal Street a year ago. You use your mask band to fold the edges down o cover your ears enough to hear and to protect yourself.

Enough, you’ve had enough, you’ve seen it all, there was misery everywhere, you need to see something refreshing and familiar. You worked on Wall Street for a law firm this summer, you like that area, so why not drop by? You hear the song you’ve heard so many times on Little House on the Prairie, “Onward Christian Soldiers” playing in the back of your mind. You are NOT defeated. Coming to Wall Street, you see all of the familiar places, no crowds of people, but they annoyed you anyway, so the quiet is kind of nice. You realize the next target. The question is, who is going to get there first? You are. Lady Liberty, its so obvious, I hope she’s still standing. You walk down further to Battery Park, stopping to wash the bleeding wound caused by all of the walking you’ve done. Security guards tell you it’s a very bad looking cut, but you can think of many worse injuries bleeding uncontrollably a couple blocks away. You move quickly through the area since even the bums don’t disappear in disasters.

There she is, in all her glory, your heart is raised again. You will need it later. You are pointed to your opening again, following Robert Wagner Jr. Park, South Cove and Esplanade around south, then up north. You walk faster, knowing the destination is near; you can smell it and taste it in every pore of your essence. Walking faster you realize you might not be ready.

Finding the weak links in the police barriers keeps your mind off what you are walking towards. You know what you will not find gracing the Manhattan skyline. Looking thought the links in the fence allows you to get a glimpse, but not anything worthy of your weapon of choice, the camera. Again you find a weak spot in the police defense, you know this is the final one, beyond it is the beast, this is the path. Hundreds, maybe thousands of firemen greet you as you find the light at the end of this path. No open arms, no smile, yet not defeated either. You have found what you are looking for, at least in part. Determination. Dedication. Honor. These are all traits lacking in these malignant perpetrators.

You still do not know the time, you think you’ve been walking for a couple hours, but know it is more. Major, hard miles have been put on your shoes and they are now cutting your feet apart. Blisters and deep wounds from debris. A great senator once said, “I don’t have time to bleed.” You are inspired even though you forget the movie. The tread life left on your feet will be finished within an hour. You resolve to finish by then, you will, won’t you?

You are walking through sludge, a combination of river water, asbestos, cement dust and ashes. The ashes disturb you the most, even though you know what is in that revolting river water. You find them the worst part of this experience because you don’t know what or whom they came from. You see faces in the puddles, trying not to find the face of a friend or family member. You are keeping it all real, surrealism will kill you. Finding the way is only half of the task, keeping your grip is what really counts.

Pictures of the aftermath are now your concern, you try to focus on the heroes. The time is now 3:20p.m, a nice policeman told you as he kicked your ass down the street. Ok, next street will be the one………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………­………….OH………………GOD…………………..NO.

It is there; you recognize the bridge that joined two sides of the street. That bridge is now lying on the street, there is an inferno burning in a building with scaffolding all over it. The building looks old, majestic and on fire. It is dead, there is no resurrecting it this time. Its death throws can be heard, but not above the other taller 40 story high rise, later to be known as 7 World Trade, which is burning out of control and throwing its shadow over the remnants of the WTC shell. It is nothing more than a couple floors of facade, surrounded by thousands of pounds of concrete dust and ashes of the fallen. You now see what happened. It is laid out before you like a story, the buildings, the fire trucks, the ambulances all are buried in the fallen steel, rubble, dust and an occasional concrete block, which did not disintegrate on the way down. What is left of the trade tower appears to be that of the American version of the Italian Coliseum. Nothing but a shell with arches and spaces where windows once stood. NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION. It now sinks in that this is a graveyard. A massive funeral for innocents and honorable men in the line of duty. Great men and women have fallen here. I can see it all around me. Chaos created by cowards and the lowest form of scum imaginable. Mothers, fathers and the heroes to children lie in the ruins. What did these people do outside of living fulfilling lives? What demons possessed the cowards and swine that carried out this abomination? There will be no win for anyone in the world today. The cowards will all die. Maybe we will stare them in the eye as they die, maybe we will watch them on cameras mounted in the head of a missile, we will see them die. Cursing them. RAGE. FURY. Nothing will ever be normal again. New York City is never going to be normal again. You climb the stairs in the Two World Financial Center building to shoot from the second floor. The carnage and destruction is amplified by height. You wonder briefly what the view looked like on the top of the tower when you went with your girlfriend last. This thought scares you to death. Shaking and chattering, you take pictures remembering the dead. Being careful to not become one yourself, you lean through the skeletonized windows shooting the unmerciful scene below.

Another building is burning out of control, it is 4:50pm and you hear on a police scanner close by that they are losing the battle with the fires raging inside and they are pulling all men out and are going to wait for it to fall. Not encouraging news at all. Did you come here to feel good? Did you come here to get a pat on the shoulder and to be told that it’s all under control? NO. You saw a plane hit the World Trade Center one half hour after its smaller twin was struck. You witnessed both buildings fall and the human tragedy that followed. You are here to make sure you do not forget. That noone forgets, that what you saw was real, not your mind at work. It doesn’t matter though, mainly because nothing looks familiar. It’s all a deadly playground. You don’t see anything other than the bridge that brings you to the scene. It’s all just stuff. It will click one day, maybe not now, but one day. Taking your pictures brings you to a triage center where they wash your eyes. Ahhh, refreshing. Yeah, that doesn’t last too long.

You get back to the Two World Financial Center spot where you have the best view of everything. Or nothing, it all depends on your glass half empty or full perspective. Taking pictures again of the shell and the ruins. The fire raging on the 40 story high rise has reached the boiling point, the moaning has started. Screams. YOURS!

“GET THE HELL OUT, GET THE HELL OUT NOOOOOW” You scream to the veteran journalists whom you showed your second floor spot, they hesitate, almost waiting for an interview with you to understand why the building is falling and why they should run for their lives. It comes down everywhere, smoke and dust filling the air with its thickness only sliceable with a knife. There is only one raging inferno you can see left, mostly on the rooftop of the old building, but spreading fast and consuming more of your city. The city you love, the skyline the world loves, the place you live, work and have fun in. There will be no fun today. Only gathering of information so the rage and sickening horror are felt by all.

You escaped the falling death, it is behind, in front and on your sides, but you arise unscathed, again. You gather yourself and take a finger and toe count. All accounted for. The building across the street, on the other side of the intact bridge is looking tempting, its farther from 7 World Trade, which just went down, so you don’t have to smell the pungent smoke. Top photographers such as James Nachtwey, Steve McCurry and Graham Morrison have been standing in safety, which you will try to do now. Walking under the bride and through the doors to the next building, you find yourself dripped on by unknown liquids. This building is darker, more eerie. There are dust devils of ash whipping through the interior making it hard to see. It feels as though there are demons in the building that don’t want you there. These are screaming to you to leave, you aren’t done with your chore yet, it’s too early to get rid of you. Planes have been hijacked and exploded, buildings have fallen (the most recent was almost on you) and now something screams stay away. You listen, making a hasty retreat from the war torn building. If it stands, your loss will not be great, you’ve seen much worse today, there are no buildings whose view will shed any light on the day’s events. You will live in darkness for a long time, pulling yourself out of the depths only when necessary, but only to see if the world has righted itself again. That is to come later.

You start thinking about the Oklahoma Bombing as you walk around watching the journalists and firemen go about their jobs. There were children there. How many were here? These evil bastards will die. Retribution will be served.

How many survivors were found in Oklahoma? Not many, but the loss of the building was not total. It did not plunge from a 120 floor height, rapidly obliterating itself with every extra inch of drop. This is a different tragedy, but hopefully the outcome will be the same. Justice served. That’s why you are in law school isn’t it? Justice, America, the ability to understand complex events. This event however, is not complex. The plan is simple. To destroy. There is no creativity, no intelligence, just sneaking around like snakes in the grass, hoping not to get discovered before their bite. Any snake can survive until you hunt them. Flush them out of the holes they breed in, drown them with swift justice. Eliminating their threat. They will not survive. You know this. It still does not help. You are standing in the midst of their bite. It took a city. Yet still you know it didn’t, but swallowing that is hard now. You talked to a fire chief and he estimated the uniformed loss between 400-500 people. When asked about the civilian casualties, he snaps out of his coma. Thinking. Not throwing out an indiscriminant number, he can’t round these people up or down. He says he hopes people were late to work today. A man next to him spits out a number. 30,000. Maybe more. They couldn’t get people out of the building fast enough. Shell shock is the old World War term that he used to describe them. It could be posttraumatic stress syndrome by today’s verbose, but that phrase does not appreciate the horror that causes its condition. Shell shock, if it fits, wear it.

The smoke from the collapse is still thick in the air; you don’t think you’ll be able to get back to your spot anytime soon. You take a walk behind the buildings shielding your eyes from the horror, only temporarily though. Others have been through worse today. You don’t know the extent of your damages yet, who knows when you will. One thing is for sure, you will forever be happy when you hear the Israelis killed another suicide bomber or rock throwing Arab. These people will not win through a campaign of terror there or here.

You arrive at a triage/eyewash station behind 3 World Financial Center and take the opportunity once again to refresh your eyes with the cool water, this time it is fresh. The men look at your camera and that you are not a fireman, but again, they understand that the heroes must be recognized along with the act. They are the men of the hour now. Taking the road less traveled, you wander around the buildings up to Vasey Street where you can get the opposite view of the whole scene. It is strange, you comment, that the scene does not look as chaotic and hectic as from the other side. Yet it is far worse. You see it all from the top of a dirt mound next to 3 World Financial, taking it in as you have done for the past nine hours. The longest, hardest nine hours of your life. Memories you’d like to wipe out will follow you to the grave. When will your grave be dug? Not today if you can help it. There is activity everywhere, people scrambling this way and that, not realizing where to run or what to do when they get there. There is nothing to be done. There is too much danger looming overhead. World Trade 5 is critical rumors circulate that 1 Liberty Plaza will follow the same fate. Both will at least stand for enough time to get survivors out. They find a man that plunged over 80 floors to survive with two broken legs. Nothing makes sense anymore, but you can use this tale, because it is shows the will of the strong American to overcome the yellow bastards who perpetrated this catastrophe.

This survivor will be the man and example to follow. He rises out of the ashes to spit in the face of the evil. He destroys them by living, as we all will. They will not succeed. Their demise is inevitable; you want a hand in it. Your role is the story you now live with, what you have seen, who you now are. You are their worst enemy, hell bent on their destruction in any way possible. You want to see their blood flow in the streets. Pray for the innocent, pray for America, and pray that we bring the war to them, we must kill for peace.

You feel your day coming to an end, but you are not in the clear. Your feet and legs are blistered, cut and sore from all of the debris you’ve walked through. There is no guess you want to make on how many bodies are below the debris everyone is walking on. Survivors call out, no one can hear. The tragedy will never end; there is no amount of justice that can compensate America. No amount of terrorist blood that can offset our loss. They are worthless. Simple, one-celled creatures that live to do one thing…destroy. They and their kind will be wiped out. This is a small world and no country will close its borders to us, the angry wounded powerful United States of America. In a like fashion, no country will open their borders to the murderers behind this. We will chase them to the farthest depths of hell where they come from, they will not escape. The anger wells within you as you take your last looks at the disaster zone, glimpses of what hell and this war look like. You walk home in silence, the dust mask, layer of ash on you and your face tell people where you have been. You look like death. Yet there is life here, there is hope. We will rebuild. This will be your revenge.


Never forget the victims.

Link Posted: 9/10/2004 8:47:39 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 8:48:03 PM EDT
Even though I was on the other side of the continent when this happened, I took the attack as every bit as personally as you did. I had applied for ajob that summer which if I had got, would have had me in the South Tower at Morgan Stanley HQ for training on the morning of 9/11/01. I didn't learn this until a month after the attack, but I could have conceivably been one of the targets.

not that it really mattered.

The fact I was 3500 miles away that morning did not alleviate the depression and sadness and pain I felt that awful morning. I will never ever ever ever forget, and my political awareness and activity will always center around punishing and killing terrorists and preventing another 9/11. I am never going to say "Well, that was a long time ago, and it'll never happen again."
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 8:50:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2004 8:54:43 PM EDT by Defcon]
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 8:52:49 PM EDT
Thank you for sharing
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 8:53:38 PM EDT
The news needs to do this all day tomorrow.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 8:59:57 PM EDT
Do any of you mods here think we could get this tacked? A least until Sunday.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 9:02:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ar10er:
Do any of you mods here think we could get this tacked? A least until Sunday.

Link Posted: 9/10/2004 9:04:17 PM EDT
This deserves a tack.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 9:04:21 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 9:05:47 PM EDT
Thanks Bee.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 9:05:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:

Originally Posted By ar10er:
Do any of you mods here think we could get this tacked? A least until Sunday.


Link Posted: 9/10/2004 9:07:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:

Originally Posted By ar10er:
Do any of you mods here think we could get this tacked? A least until Sunday.


Thanks Mike!
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 9:12:19 PM EDT
Well first of all, well said Balzac72

Yes I remember that day. After seeing the news in the Dayroom myself and the other 11 Drill SGTs picked up 220 soon to be Infantryman (11B ARMY) up from 30 AG replacement det (FT Benning GA).

Of course they received the initial Drill SGT treatment upon arrival and even after the wake up call some did not have a clue what they have gotten thereselves into.

We briefed them on what happened (WTC and Pentagon) and of course some of them thought we were BSing them.

Moments later we brought out the TVs with the CNN footage and the 1SG stood up and told them:

To this day I will remember the look of horror, utter disgust and anger on the faces of these young soldiers. For on this day their lives were changed forever.

I can speak for most of them (except for one piece of shit that went AWOL) which are still serving and serving proud. Hopefully all are all still here.

Today as said before we must remember the sacrifices of these Americans and the other Americans that will die in this war. Honor them today and everyday so their sacrifices are never forgotten.


Link Posted: 9/10/2004 9:38:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2004 9:59:57 PM EDT by Dave_A]
My parents say they remember where they were when JFK was shot...

I certainly remember where I was when I heard of the attack...

I was a student at MSOE, and didn't have class or work that morning, so I had slept in... WI is 1 hour behind NYC time, so it was well underway by the time I found out...

My sister came home from school which I thought was odd... I asked her what she was doing home... She said "New York's been bombed". I said "What?" She said "Someone crashed planes into the WTC, they think it's terrorisim." I said "Oh great, we're going to war!"

Prior to that, I'd been planning on applying for the Air Force after I graduated from MSOE, trying to become a pilot. I had allways thought the next war would be China or Iraq... Of course, AQ had only hit us here once before, and done a miserable job at it (1st WTC bombing), so prior to 9/11, they had never been any reason to immagine they'd be this brazen.

The USS Cole & the Embassy bombings were acts of war under international law, but this was something no President could ignore... Of course, with the anemic response to prior attacks, a 'big one' was inevitable... I had a feeling that Bush was going to change all that - he had to... And he did.

No foreign power had ever managed to take Afganhistan in centuries...

Within a few weeks, US Soldiers, Marines Sailors & Pilots, with help from the locals, had the Taliban dead to rights, and Osama was running for his life instead of training followers in 'protected' camps... The pundits said we'd be chased out with our tails between our legs, or at the very least take massive casualties. They put Rissian vets who had served the USSR there & then come here on TV to talk about how hard it would be... And guess what? We proved 'em wrong again...

9/11 was a terrible tragedy, but like Pearl Harbor before it, the world will be a better place for what we have done and will do BECAUSE of it!

As for me & the AF, I got MDQed for bad depth perception, and am now attempting to get into Army OCS... Unless I'm turned down, I'll be a part of it all soon enough...

9/11 2001 -- 3 YEARS -- NEVER FORGET

They started it:

We're finishing it:

Mullah Omar & buddies lost their jobs...
(I'd post something for that, but cameras wern't on the Taliban's good side...)

66% of Al Queda's leadership is either captured or eliminated...

And this guy took over:
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 10:02:56 PM EDT
This might be the single most staggering photo I've ever seen regarding 9/11. The scale of the devastation really hits home. It absolutely looks like men crawling among the ruins of a nuclear war.

I used to work on Broadway and Houston in NYC. I could see the Trade Center clearly from my windows. I would sometimes take a pair of binoculars and look at the WTC, and I could actually make out people milling around on the outdoor observation deck, where I had gone myself many times.

I could see a building across the street from my office to a height of about 150 feet, before the rest was lost to view above me, and I used to reflect in amazement that the WTC towers were 9 times taller, or 1,360 feet. Seeing that pic above makes their fall horribly real.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 10:28:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 2:20:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 3:15:25 AM EDT by vito113]

Three years ago the world changed… for ever. Militant Islamic Terrorism brought mass death and destruction to the world and declared war on us and made it clear they intended to wipe us and our way of life out…


We did not cave in, we fought back and the world trembled… but alas they tremble no more.

Our own side is winning the war for the Terrorists, our own liberals are the best army of apologists Osama could ask for. Every mistake or hiccup is trumpeted by our own side as a 'defeat', every small 'victory' by them is trumpeted as proof of our impending defeat.

But the thing that sickens me the most is the way the media have sanatized the horror of 9/11 to 'protect' the people.

On that day I was in Italy and we had live feeds, no censorship, just the true horror of that day, and it was a truly horrific day. When I got back to England and saw the US news I was shocked to find that the Networks had 'chosen' to 'spare' their viewers by editing out the most horrific scenes of that day… the hundreds of people who faced with the aweful choice of dying in the fires, jumped, hundreds of them.


This is a terrible thing, we now have people who think that on that day the planes hit the towers and the people just 'died'. No they did not, 3000 human beings died in the most horrific ways imaginable, but our Media wants to 'spare' us and has quenched the rage we should feel. Why was this allowed? why? Already the fires of rage and the demands for revenge are dying in the West, Osama must be very pleased with our Media's success at cooling down the War on Terror.

God be with you all, and be safe… and remember, your true friends are still with you.

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 3:32:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 3:32:35 AM EDT by Yojimbo]
Thanks Balzac, I will never forget and I wil never forgive.

I'm going outside now to lower our flag to half staff...
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 3:59:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 4:03:54 AM EDT by BRONZ]

Still hurts
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 5:11:38 AM EDT
...wow... brings back some memories...
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 5:22:01 AM EDT
tack please..
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 5:25:39 AM EDT
Lest we should ever forget..............................................................................................................

I hope that if you don't still fly your flag daily, that you at least have it flying today.

Great thread. Thank you, no matter how hard it hurts.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 5:28:31 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 5:30:44 AM EDT by MrClean4Hire]
Thanks balzac ,nice memorial and well done. We should never forget, no matter what the media wants. I pray that Kerry does not get elected and W can keep going strong on the war on terror.

There is one pic that I will never forget either. It was a woman with glasses dancing in the streets in palistine if I remember correctly. That one pic to me summed up the muslim response to terrorism.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 5:34:30 AM EDT
I had been watching the coverage this morning on FOX, but it didn't really affect me until I read your words.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 6:00:45 AM EDT
Thanks Balzac
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 7:07:49 AM EDT
Thanks for sharing this Balzac.

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 7:10:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 7:11:01 AM EDT by sydney7629]

We've talked about it, idly conversed,
"Oh, sooner or later," we'd say
Today is a day now eternally cursed,
Later didn't wait today

Deep inside we believed it won't happen here
Though we feared that it could come our way
Heartless cruelty, faceless rage,
Later didn't wait today

For all our riches, all our worth
and our freedom, more than some can say
Today our crystal bubble burst
Later didn't wait today

And here we are in the aftermath
on whom can the blame be laid?
Of only one thing can we be sure,
Later didn't wait today

Though we fight for justice and for truth
and to live the American Way
The hopes and dreams of thousands died,
because Later didn't wait today

So please say a prayer for all those lost,
the families, the cities and say
Oh Heavenly Father have thine own way,

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 7:14:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 7:59:39 AM EDT by sgtstinger]
Here's some pictures of the REAL Heroes of 9/11/01...

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 7:21:12 AM EDT
Thanks for the pics, guys. They're a good reminder of the very worst and the very best mankind is capable of. I'll keep the private thoughts private here...
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 7:23:41 AM EDT
Thank you Balzac72. 3 years ago they brought it to our door. Their attempted to break us. They attempted to strike fear in our country. They attempted to divide us. In all of their attempts they FAILED! We are not weaker, we are not scared, and we did not run. We are stronger ! My heart swells with pride for my country. I am proud of quick response of my country. I am proud to be an American. AND I WILL NEVER FORGET! To all of those who gave their all. Brothers and sisters , you will never be forgotten.

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 7:41:45 AM EDT
A very solemn tag and a thank you to Balzac72.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 8:08:18 AM EDT
I was in Manhattan sept. 9-12 of 2001. Two reasons for this , 1. my bro who lives in upper east side had a dog needed looking after while he was on vacation. #2 Mybirthday falls on sept. 13 soI was there for my birthday partyas all my family would congrate in Manhattan that day. But as usual T-stox slept through the whole thing!!!!!!!!! I had stayed up all night sept 10 then at approx. 9:00 am sept11 I put in a video tape (so there was no way I could be alerted by the news!!!) after 10 mins ofthe tape and having been up 24 hours straight,I fell asleep!!! Then at 2:00 pm I got woken up by phone ringing. I was too tired to answer and phone machine would'nt pickup. I let it ring. BAM! 30 seconds later another call this time it rang for 30 times in a row. Now I'm stubborn and angry I could'nt get any sleep so again I refused to answer. But by nowI waswide awake. it stopped for like 10 seconds then started up again I was so mad I ran tophone and answered screaming "WHAT!!!!!!!!!" It was me mom screaming "what are you doing ?why areyou still in New York?" I had no clue what she was talking about. Then she told me to turn on the TV. I could'nt belive it. Now, in manhattan you gotta understand that while it is thin, about 4 miles, it is very long about 200 city blocks long. I was about 80 blocks from the WTC. So I talked with my mom then hung up. I went outside to decide what to do. IT WAS TOTALLY NORMAL! it waslike nothing was happening. I walked to the deli, and people were walking their dogs,eating at resturants etc.
People were aware of the attack but there was nothing but idle talk about "WHO DID THIS?" but no real panic. all i really heard was the occasional siren in the distance. I went to John Jay board walk with my dog. This walk goes over the FDR drive, I wanted to see if it was jammed with cars trying to flee across the bridges, It was'nt. Situation normal.... Like something out of the twilight zone. So I decided to stay in New york until the 12th to decide what to do, surely I could still have my birthday party ? everything just seemed to normal not to. Then I went to the apt. that's when the phone calls started. Everyone was calling even my relatives in other countries to see if everything was OK. Then the phone system stopped working. I think it was just too overloaded with calls. so suffice to say I stayed glued to the TV for the rest of sept. 11. It was'nt until the 12th that NYC became weird. I decided to leave but first walk the dog again. When I went outside there was noone in sight like an early sunday morning. But it was 12:00 pm on a wednesday. about half of all stores were closed. And when I went back to the Boardwalk there was not one car on the highway. then a parade of fire and police trucks went racing down towards the WTC at top speed but with no sirens on. Seems that the east and west side highways were all closed off to civilian traffic. Then I heard a sonic boom and looked over head and saw two military jets flying in formation. that was all I needed to see. I jumped in my car and had to be guided by the police detours to the triborough bridge. on crossing the bridge I noticed that they had a police and military roadblock stopping and searching all traffic going into manhattan. Now I was freaked out! Suffice to say I made it out of NYC.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 8:34:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 8:37:29 AM EDT by 1911lover]
Where did we screw up?

Was it when we saved Europe and the rest of the World from Hitler? Then rebuilt Europe?

Was it when we had to stop Japan? Then rebuilt Japan.

Was it the billions and billion and billions in aide to other countries? Then billions more?

Was it because of the generous nature of the citizens of the USA?

Was it because we have had a gutful of the UN telling us how to run our own country.

Was it because the USA did not give more, cave in to pressure from other countries everytime one of them whined we were not doing enough?

Have the people sinned against humanity so terribly because most of us want to make a good life for our families, have a few bucks in the bank, drive a nice vehicle or provide for our kids as well as we can. Are those the big sins that justify attacking and killing 3,000 of us?

Are our Gods so terrible to justify it?

Does the existence of our way of life repulse so many, that perhaps our country, it's people and our way of life should cease to exist?


Perhaps it may be due in part to gutless politicians acting in a manner that could make the Bin Ladens of the world feel that we are a weak, corrupt nation of fools, who will crumble easily.

Maybe our history as a Nation has been incorrectly re-written by the libs?

Has abortion on demand, corrupt politicians, drug/alcohol problems, greed and that "gimee, gimee" attitude many people in this country have adopted as a creed makes us appear to be soft, easy targets?

Ah, surely it must be capitalism, that most evil of all foundations of economic bases. Some have more than others, often because of sweat, hard work, thus not fair.

Then there is the liberal mindset as a way of life. Expounding on that here is like preaching to the choir.

As I read the above posts, I could not help but wonder about the reasons for the sheer hatred the terrorists have for us and their motivation for not only doing what they did, but for their continuing to want to destroy our way of life. I cannot believe it is soley based on religious grounds.

If it is, we have no hope of changing their minds, until every single one is dead, no matter the cost.

I fear that too many bad decisions have been made already in the way we have dealt with these people. The sheeple in this country will not recognize our enemies for what they really are and their intentions, which causes many problems in how we deal with those who mean to destroy us.

It is a hell of a mess. We will survive, but at what price if it is done wrong/slow/ineptly?

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 9:00:38 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 10:23:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 10:24:51 AM EDT by thompsondd]

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 10:49:04 AM EDT
I haven't turned on the TV yet today, but I can only imagine they're replaying all the footage and showing all the images... at least on stations that still think we should be at war as a result of this. Which pretty well narrows it down to one station.

Does anyone think of Rise of the Phoenix when seeing the Freedom Towers?
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 11:02:00 AM EDT
You have done it again Sir Thanks so much I hope no one minds me linking it .. Thanks again

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 11:29:04 AM EDT

This is a 20MB Shockwave file with images and sound.

Produced by AR15.com's own The_Macallan
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 11:30:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gunjunkie:
You have done it again Sir Thanks so much I hope no one minds me linking it .. Thanks again

No problem, I'm glad I'm making an impact.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 11:35:58 AM EDT
Thanks for reminding us. Everyone needs to be reminded of what we are against....
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 11:44:09 AM EDT
I've got three roll of film I developed on Sept 13th when I got home from Ground Zero, I haven't been able to look at them since. And it's nothing gory, just what I saw over those two days.

It's all in my head anyways. It'll never leave.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 11:45:54 AM EDT
that made my fucking skin crawl...............

i will NEVER forgive
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 12:15:43 PM EDT
I thank God and fate itself that I have an opportunity to do something about it, not just sit on my lazy ass like I've done for a good portion of my life.

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 12:58:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Defcon:

Thanks for sharing Balzac.

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 1:55:31 PM EDT
Avenge our dead.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 2:12:19 PM EDT
Anybody have the picture of the firefighters going up the stairs in the towers, that's a haunting picture cuz if you look in their eyes they know what's going to happen but still Charlie Mike.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 2:26:18 PM EDT
More heros can be found here...


Thanks Balzac.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 2:42:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 2:43:28 PM EDT by vito113]

Originally Posted By Shrike9:
Anybody have the picture of the firefighters going up the stairs in the towers, that's a haunting picture cuz if you look in their eyes they know what's going to happen but still Charlie Mike.

Link Posted: 9/11/2004 2:46:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MarianLibrarian:
More heros can be found here...


Thanks Balzac.

Thay are All here
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