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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. While the attack on our country happened 18 years ago time is not healing. The aftermath continues as we speak.
THOUGHTS ON SEPTEMBER 11TH
by George Demetriou
On September 11th my thoughts, like the thoughts of millions of Americans, are on the attack from eighteen 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 Joe Vigiano who was an Academy mate, a great cop in every sense of the word, survived the meanest streets in East New York, Brooklyn, but was killed by enemies from afar, murderers who were already in hell by the time Vigiano 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, 9/11, where you could hear bodies hitting the building or the ground. The producers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet were in Lower Manhattan on September 11th, 2001 to film a documentary on FDNY Engine 7, Ladder 1.
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 the day of the attack, and seeing nothing, but smashed steel and concrete, trying to make sense of 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 and the parents who lost a child.
I think of Tommy Mingione 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 342 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, Staff Sergeant David Karnes and Sergeant Jason Thomas, two retired United States Marines, who continued to search after nightfall and found trapped and injured Port Authority Police Officers. When a firefighter advised the volunteers to call it a day Jason Thomas said, “Marines, we don’t go backward, we always go forward.”
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 Mark Natale, Scott Blackshaw, Marci Simms, Mike Quinn, Jimmy Russell, Tommy Ward, Leroy Dixon, and John Goggin, friends and co-workers who died of 9/11-related illnesses.
I think of Denise, Andy, and Manu. Members of our gym, CrossFit Suffolk. On that day one lost her firefighter father, one lost his firefighter uncle and one nearly lost his life as he exited the elevator on the 83rd floor of the North Tower when American Airlines flight 11 struck the building.
I think of Rick Rescorla. Rescorla was the Vice-President 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. Eighteen 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.
I think that Rescorla’s last words to the employees of Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter are as true today as they were eighteen years ago.
WORKOUT OF THE DAY
The gym will be open at 6:15 AM for those doing the 6:30 session. The 9/11 Tribute/Memorial Workout is will take 35-45 minutes to complete.
9/11 Tribute/Memorial WOD
Run, 2001 m
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, 2/1.5 pood
11 Deadlifts, 170/115 lbs
11 Push Jerks, 110/75 lbs
Row, 2001 m
*Athletes may start with row and finish with the run or vice versa. The workout symbolizes the events that unfolded on September 11th, 2001 in its design. The Year is represented by the run and row; the month by the movements and the date by the number of repetitions of each movement. The 125lb Thrusters represent the Deaths that occurred at the Pentagon; the 175lb Power Clean stands for the AA Flight 175 that collided with the South Tower, Flight 77 and Flight 93 were combined and is represented by the 170lb Deadlift; and the Push Jerk signifies the number of floors in each Twin Tower.
George, your words are beautiful to read and so heartfelt. Thank you and Lisa for all you do and have done. My thoughts are with all of our Crossfit Suffolk family who have been effected in one way or another by this senseless tragedy. 9/11 is a day like no other, and every detail of that day will forever be etched in the minds of many, Though 18 years have passed, at times it feels like just yesterday. May God Bless our police officers, fire fighters and military. Their daily sacrifices do not go unnoticed. God Bless America!!
Thank you for your kind words Cathy! It’s hard to imagine so much time has passed but the events of September 11 2001 have such a far-reaching ripple effect that it’s still on the minds of most New Yorkers.
How could it not be?
We must never forget but I could do without another first-responder falling ill as a daily reminder that the events of September 11, 2001 actually happened.