As time goes on, we will naturally start to forget what happened on September 11, 2001 . . .

Firefighters memorial

It was the office workers leaping from the towers to escape the flames that firefighter Maureen McArdle-Schulman could not block from her mind.

“Somebody yelled something was falling. We didn’t know if it was desks coming out. It turned out it was people coming out, and they started coming out one after the other…. We saw the jumpers coming. We didn’t know what it was at first, but then the first body hit and then we knew what it was. And they were just like constant…. I was getting sick. I felt like I was intruding on a sacrament. They were choosing to die and I was watching them and shouldn’t have been. So me and another guy turned away and looked at a wall and we could still hear them hit.”

Emergency medical technician Mary Merced was transfixed. The images remained vivid. “I see debris drop. And I look and it was people. I could tell you almost every color clothing all the people that I saw fall had on, how they fell, if they tumbled, if they swan-dived.”


[Fire Chief Mark] Steffens could not shake the memory of a lone probationary firefighter he encountered on the street.

“I saw one proby — he had proby on the helmet — by himself, walking by himself. I tried to get him to come with us. He said: No, no, I’ve got to go back. We washed his eyes. I gave him something to clean his face. Then he turned and went back into the cloud. I never saw him again.”

“Do you recall his name?” a member of the administrative panel asked.

“No, young, young guy.

“I didn’t want him to go back and he wouldn’t listen to me,” Steffens said. “He just walked back into that big black cloud.”

— From a Los Angeles Times article on New York firefighters’ recollections of 9/11

  2 comments for “Remember

  1. MS
    12 Sep 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Some things you never forget. For many people, the details of that day will remain etched in their memories until the day they die. I was just there a few weeks ago, and the memories and emotions of September 11th were as strong as they were on that day and the days and weeks that followed, even seven years later. The subway map showing the WTC stop “temporarily” closed, the empty sky, the giant hole in the ground, even the construction signs referring to it as the “WTC Site”, all those things made what we saw on television and the Internet even more of a reality. I wonder if it will be different when they finally rebuild on that ground.

    The question of the last few previous decades “Do you remember where you were when you heard JFK was shot?” will be replaced by “Do you remember where you were when you found out about the attack on the World Trade Center towers?”

    I wonder how many will remember the details of the Flights 77 and 93 though.

  2. PE
    14 Sep 2008 at 9:53 pm

    My brother lived on Long Island and worked in Manhattan at that time. It took us 3 hours to reach him and find out he was okay.

    Without really thinking about it, I stopped at 7-11 on the way to work and got some coffee because that’s what I always did. I would have walked out without paying for it if the cashier hadn’t yelled at me.

    I said, “Sorry, I don’t know what I’m doing this morning.” I pointed at the news on the TV. “My brother is there.”

    I remember Flight 77 because a co-worker had a brother at the Pentagon, who turned out to be okay but it took until mid-afternoon to find out.

    And I remember Flight 93 for “Let’s roll.”

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