Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 11, 2006
WAR: Remember

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As most of my regular readers know, I worked in the World Trade Center until September 11, 2001. My account of that day, written two days after the attack, is here.

UPDATE: This April 2002 Megan McArdle post revisits the early weeks of the Ground Zero cleanup effort.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:47 AM | War 2006 | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

As none of you know, that photo was almost the exact view out my office window until August 2001. For years I had a studio across the river in DUMBO and had I not just moved to Michigan, I would have watched that awful event in horrific detail.

On that fateful morning I actually was on my way to the airport to fly back to NYC from my honeymoon in Bermuda. Our taxi driver informed us that a plane flew into the WTC, and it wasn't until we got to the airport that we knew about the second plane.

There were astonishingly no tvs at the little airport in Bermuda, so nobody really knew what was happening. It wasn't until we went back to a hotel and we saw thereplay of the tower collapse that it really hit me what had happened.

I add this not in any way to take away from the lives lost, but I can vividly remember thinking tens of thousands of people must have died while I watched those building collapse, and it is a miracle the toll was not higher.

Posted by: Mr Furious at September 11, 2006 10:05 AM

"I add this not in any way to take away from the lives lost, but I can vividly remember thinking tens of thousands of people must have died while I watched those building collapse, and it is a miracle the toll was not higher."

Amen, Mr. Furious. I worked there until September 11, 2001. When the towers fell, I never would have believed that the death toll would be less than 3,000. I was hoping for less than 30,000. One of the most overlooked aspects of that day is the fact that the towers fell straight down. If they had tipped, God only knows what the damage had been. I have no idea who designed those buildings, but I will always be grateful to him, her or them.

Posted by: WD at September 11, 2006 4:28 PM

Crank -- I came to your site after 9/11. Thanks for your account, I had not read it before. It is one of the best, most frank, accounts I have read. Thanks for all you do and for providing us this outlet to comment on your opinions and discuss among ourselves.

Posted by: maddirishman at September 11, 2006 10:42 PM

Bush turned a day of mourning into a cheap political event yesterday. Shameful.

Just days after the Republican controlled Senate reported that Saddam and Iraq had no links to Osama and Al Qaeda, Bush uses 9/11, and the nation's focus on it, in an attempt bolster support for his war in Iraq.

Where is the decency in that?

Posted by: RED at September 12, 2006 10:13 AM

The nation is at war in Iraq, if you haven't noticed. It's the President's job to keep the nation's morale up for finishing what it has started.

If you really think September 11 had nothing to do with why we went to war in Iraq, there's no explaining it to you.

Posted by: The Crank at September 12, 2006 10:21 AM

I guess we Americans get caught up in needing to have a start date on when a war happened. For us, September 11th is like December 7th, an actual start, when events had been building in both cases for many years. The leadup to December 7th was the invasion of China by Japan in 1936; for September 11th, it was Lebanon in 1982. In both cases, nothing happened from the initial results.

The difference I guess is knowing just where to strike back. In 1941, most of the world (except for South America, which did little until 1946) was aflame, as a result of actions from mosly Germany and Japan. Yet we sort of knew it was inevitable when we blockaded Japan (leading many to believe the Pacific War was about oil, which it was not). Our Olympics were shattered; air travel compromised; our embassies bombed; our battleships exploded. As Christopher Hitchens said better than I, we were at war with specific religoious elements from Mesopotamia, and we didn't realize it until September 11th.

Ground Zero is many things: a wake up call, our Pearl Harbor, but also, it is a graveyard. Many remains were never identified; to many, it is a cemetary, so I can understand the importance to them. Politics aside, let's remember that we not only understood who our enemies were, but that we also found out that we have heroes who report to work every day. Those wonderful heroes in every sense of the word, from the NYFD, the NYPD and the EMTs. Thank you all for doing what you do every day. You make me proud to be part of your species.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 12, 2006 10:24 AM

I had an office in WTC2 right above the fireball -- not, of course, on 9/11. In fact, not even close. We're talking 1980. So my experience is nothing like yours. But every time I see that shot, I think to myself, Would I have been smart enough to leave after the first plane hit?

Posted by: Attila (Pillage Idiot) at September 12, 2006 10:58 AM

Daryl, you said it well. We need to get away from being republicans and Democrats. We need to get back to being Americans and focusing on what is best for the country. An idea is not bad just because it came from the other party. If our current slate of leader (in both parties) do not ralize that, we need to start weeding them out.

Posted by: maddirishman at September 12, 2006 11:21 AM

I agree with that, Maddirish. And I agree about morale, Crank.

That said, based on his actions the past five years, there's no reason to stand in the damn hole and preach about struggle & victory. There's nothing morale-boosting about giving a speech in front of a five year-old hole.

9/11 -- because the US government has done very little to help -- is a NEW YORK event. Bush should stay the hell home. We need him as much today as we needed him 5 years ago . . . when he did NOTHING.

Posted by: Mike at September 12, 2006 4:39 PM

Mike, I agree that the Feds have done little useful at ground zero, but I prefer it that way. How to rebuild a site in a city should almost always be a local event-who needs or wants the likes of Ted Stevens telliing us what and how to build anythiing?

NYC is the center of capitalism on the planet; we can raise the money and spend it quite well ourselves.

Look at New Orleans. Yes FEMA screwed up, but while it should be a Federal issue to make sure Port New Orleans is rebuilt, or at least relocated somewhere more suitable, or something, I don't think it's a Federal issue to figure out what to do with a city, that is Louisiana's issue to me.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 13, 2006 9:16 AM

Daryl-

Absolutely. I don't want the Feds getting involved either.

I was just explaining why Bush had no business coming here last week.

Posted by: Mike at September 15, 2006 9:31 AM
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