Thursday, September 01, 2011

9/11 Stories, Firefighters

Preparing for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, let's take a few days to hear from those who were there ... and lived to tell and remember that fateful day ... in world history.

Remembering 9/11

Career firefighters Kevin McCullagh and Jerry Walsh had retired weeks before terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Their years at Ladder 126 in South Jamaica, Queens, were over. But when they heard the news, they didn’t hesitate to drive across the Hudson River and volunteer to support their fellow firefighters

McCullagh took along his retirement gift: a camcorder. Aware that history was in the making, he started filming snippets of what they saw from a firefighter’s perspective: a giant pall of smoke rising over the Manhattan skyline, ash a foot deep, firefighters sifting through a sea of rubble, little fires burning here and there, trees blown on their sides, gouges in buildings, and, yes, the collapsed Twin Towers.

“It was unbelievable,” McCullagh recalls. “It was surreal. I realized what we were in for when I saw a fireman coming toward us. He was just beside himself. I asked him, ‘What’s it like over there?’ And he briefly described what it was like and I knew it was going to be something quite unique. There was carnage. There were a lot of crazy things.”

One sight especially surprised the two friends. Amid the twisted metal and burning rubble were smashed fire engines, crunched flat and caked with dust. “I had been around fire trucks my whole professional career and you’d never seen anything like it,” McCullagh says, still amazed today. “You see them as indestructible. When the big red fire truck shows up, everything is going to be OK. And seeing them tossed around like little toys, and smashed and burned, it was pretty amazing to see them like that.” ....

Offering up a prayer of gratitude for our nations 1st responders ... each one ... the making of a hero.

xtnyoda, shalomed

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