As we flew over the Brooklyn bridge, the shock at the sight that was unfolding was tremendous. Thousands of people were running towards us fleeing they believed for their lives. Everything was covered in dust, papers and debris. My company trudged forward to the command post to wait with others for our chance to dig. The sound of an overhaul plane brought everyone to attention thinking as one "not another". Later we would find out that it was a surveillance plane accompanied by a fighter jet.
We were put to work, and the sight that greeted us one of utter destruction and unimaginable ruin. We started to dig through the rubble with brother cops and firemen, all united with one goal, finding someone still alive. Fatigue was not in our mindsets and we dug and dug until we were pulled out because of the imminent collapse of WTC-7. Once down we were at work again. What followed were sights that would change me as a man forever. Finally a chief told us it was too dark, that’s enough. This was met with a chorus of "just thirty more minutes, chief". But he was right as there were no lights set up yet.
I am writing this as therapy, and to offer my personal tribute to everyone involved in this tragedy. My love and endless respect to all my brothers in the FDNY, EMS, and NYPD, who always shine and stand tall, no matter what the consequences. The men and women of NYC who are rising in a time of uncertainty. To the girl scouts who dropped off 150 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to our firehouse in our time of need. The 12-year-old boy who used his allowance to purchase flowers and donate the rest towards the widows and orphan fund.
The ironworkers and carpenters working endlessly and without complaint. Charlie Heeran – one more chance to tease you about looking like Matt Damon. Frank (Mondo) Monaghan – one more joke or song old pal. Steve Belson – to hear the bells chime. Pete Mulligan – one more fly ball. Matt Burke – one more smile. Kevin Dowdell – always running in when others run out. Wally Hynes – heaven must be expanding and God needed someone to help with the deal. Rich Allen – walked into that building a junior man and now stands among legends.
Jim Riches – one more rebound. Chris Grady – one more runner cut down on the bases. Vernon (Vernamo) Cherry – one more stanza of the national anthem. Leon Smith – Smiling "oh go on now Doyle". Vinny Brunton – one more lap. Tim Stackpole – your courage and determination. Gene Whalen – one more chat.
My family and friends whose hugs and words keep me going. Mond. Geraghty – for your comforting words. Mayor Giuliani – your caring and composure for being a rock in a time of need. My brothers in Eng.254 and Lad.153, who shine in times of adversity. Lastly to all the missing men and women, we will all meet in heaven at the right hand of our Father. Watch over us all Lord and God Bless America.