Depending on what time you read this, and if all goes as planned, I am either hours from getting on a major airline jet, I’m on it or I recently completed my journey. I was aware immediately that I’d be flying on the 16th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack our country has suffered. I’d rather not fly on this day, but I wasn’t apprehensive either. In one way being on a large jet will facilitate a part of what I feel obligated to do on this day: sit quietly and reflect on what happened 16 years ago today.
By “remembering” what happened I don’t just mean recalling the horrible acts of terrorism, but remembering the people lost, remembering life as I knew it before 9/11/01 and remembering how things were different. I like to remember where I was (Calgary, Canada) what I was doing (getting ready to train members of the law enforcement community at the Western Canada Use of Force Conference) and the people I was surrounded by (Lisa and I were treated very specially by our Canadian police friends, many who I was friends with before 2001 and are still friends with today.) Two weeks before September 11th, 2001 we had taught at a conference in New Hampshire and then flew to Corpus Christi, Texas to train law enforcement officers. A friend and I had flown out of Logan Airport in Massachusetts, the same airport that the terrorists would use 2 weeks later. We carried, among our standard personal items, fake training weapons. Nobody checked very hard. Nobody seemed to care why we were carrying simulated firearms and nobody asked us anything. I turned to my friend as we walked to our gate and said, “The security here is horrendous. Anybody can get through here.” Unfortunately, my assessment of the airport was far too accurate.
We left Canada, finally returned to the United States and then to New York and then to New York City. It all seemed surreal. As a New York City detective assigned to a federal task force, I worked with the FBI. The FBI, like the rest of the law enforcement and intelligence community, had no idea if further attacks were planned and if so what the next targets would be. We had to move our work space to a new location, twice in just weeks, just in case the FBI offices in New York City were in fact targets. Home seemed the same as work…I didn’t know if I was coming or going. Lisa and I spent most hours of the day at work. We didn’t see each other much and we didn’t spend much time with the kids for 2 or 3 months. Thank God for my mother-in-law!
Not complaining. I have nothing to complain about. So many children lost parents that day. So many lost friends and family members. So many were essentially “killed” on that day and didn’t know it. They worked at Ground Zero or at the Landfill sifting through rubble and remains. Unbeknown to anyone at the time, these activities lead to cancer, blood diseases, and lung conditions. Many are still sick. I was lucky in this respect. So, no, not complaining. Just remembering. And of course, I read these words I wrote many years ago. The words you see below titled, Thoughts on September 11th. I wrote to help remember. I repost this every year because every year we have new members, but I mainly repost it so that I will continue to read and remember.–George
THOUGHTS ON SEPTEMBER 11TH
by George Demetriou
On September 11th my thoughts, like the thoughts of millions of Americans, are on the attack from sixteen years ago and on the people who lost their lives.
I think of my brother and sister NYPD officers who were not obligated to enter the Twin Towers but did so selflessly anyway because of a sense of duty. I think of those who never came out.
I think of Detective Viggiano who was an Academy mate, winner of 3 close range gun fights with drug dealers but was killed by enemies from afar, murderers who were already in hell by the time Viggiano lost his life.
I think about Sgt. Gillis, a childhood friend of my wife, who was on his way home, off-duty, when the attack occurred. Rodney went to the Towers anyway. All that was recovered was some of his equipment.
I think of the horrible images of seeing people jumping from the Towers and the one documentary where you could hear bodies hitting the building or the ground.
I think of standing before the “Pile”, awestruck, looking for something that resembled a piece of office furniture, or anything that would connect the destruction to the fact that people worked here days before, and seeing nothing, but smashed steel and concrete, trying to deal with the fact that the “pile” was once the World Trade Center.
I think of my wife, working in NYPD headquarters for her regular shift then walking down to the “Pile” because she had to “find my friends”. She never did. She was diagnosed with something called RADS (Reactive Airway Dysfunction) shortly after working at Ground Zero.
I think of the people who paid the ultimate price just for showing up at work on a beautiful September day.
I think of the children who had their mother or father taken from them.
I think of Tommy from my hometown. We went to the Academy together, but Tommy left the Police Department and went to the Fire Department. He entered the Towers and like over 300 of his fellow firefighters, never made it out.
I think of the Port Authority Police Officers and the Court Officers, many who came from other locations or from home and paid the ultimate price.
But I also think of the way the people of New York came together to help others.
I think of the groups of people on the West Side Highway who would just stand there for hours cheering us on and thanking us whenever cops went by them.
I think of the response by volunteers from the suburbs, other states, and Canada. They brought food, medical equipment, search equipment, search dogs, but mostly they brought the love of their fellow human beings.
I think of volunteers, David Karnes and Jason Thomas, two retired Marine Corps Sgts., who continued to search after night fall and found trapped and injured Port Authority Police Officers.
I think of the response by our military, especially the work done by our Special Operations Command and the work they are still doing.
I think of the fantastic work done by my former co-workers of the NY office of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, an awesome collection of NYPD Detectives, State Troopers, FBI Special Agents, Customs Enforcement Agents, Immigration Enforcement Agents, Port Authority Police Detectives, CIA Officers, NSA Officers, US Marshals, Coast Guard Officers and some I’m probably forgetting. I truly got serve in the company of heroes and am honored to have done so.
I think of Rick Rescorla. Rescorla was the VP of Security for Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter, the largest tenant of the World Trade Center. Rescorla served in the Army and fought in the Battle of Ia Drang, Viet Nam in 1965…the battle depicted in the book, We Were Soldiers Once…And Young by General Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway. Rescorla’s photo graces the cover of the book. Rescorla was proactive as a security official. He would have the people he was responsible for practice evacuating the building. Sixteen years ago today he effectively evacuated nearly three thousand employees of Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter out of the World Trade Center. He saved the entire company except for himself and some of his staff who stayed behind to make sure they didn’t leave anyone “on the field of battle”. The entire time of the evacuation Rescorla kept everyone calm and moving along, while singing and stating, “Today is a day to be proud to be an American” through his bullhorn.
Mostly I think that Rescorla’s last words to the employees of Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter are so true today as they were sixteen years ago.
Lisa, September 2001
“Hill could hear Rescorla issuing orders through the bullhorn. He was calm and collected, never raising his voice. Then Hill heard him break into song:
Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors’ pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!
Rescorla came back on the phone. “Pack a bag and get up here,” he said. “You can be my consultant again.” He added that the Port Authority was telling him not to evacuate and to order people to stay at their desks.
”What’d you say?” Hill asked.
”I said, ‘Piss off, you son of a bitch,’ “ Rescorla replied. “Everything above where that plane hit is going to collapse, and it’s going to take the whole building with it. I’m getting my people the fuck out of here.” Then he said, “I got to go. Get your shit in one basket and get ready to come up.”
Hill turned back to the TV and, within minutes, saw the second plane execute a sharp left turn and plunge into the south tower. Susan saw it, too, and frantically phoned her husband’s office. No one answered.
About fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. It was Rick. She burst into tears and couldn’t talk.
”Stop crying,” he told her. “I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been happier. You made my life.”
Susan cried even harder, gasping for breath. She felt a stab of fear, because the words sounded like those of someone who wasn’t coming back. “No!” she cried, but then he said he had to go. Cell-phone use was being curtailed so as not to interfere with emergency communications.”—James B. Stewart, The New Yorker, February 11, 2002
7 minute OTM: Hang power snatch (sport version: hang squat snatch)
10 box jumps 24/20″
10 hang power snatch 75/45#
30 double unders
If time permits and you want to do a 9/11 Tribute workout, try this:
2001 meter Run
11 Box Jumps (30/24 in)
11 Thrusters (125/85 lbs)
11 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
11 Power Cleans (170/115 lbs)
11 Handstand Push-Ups
11 Kettlebell Swings (32/24 kg)
11 Deadlifts (170/115 lbs)
11 Push Jerks (110/75 lbs)
2001 meter Row
Athletes may start with Row and end with Run, or start with Run and end with Row.