9/11: Never Forget

  E-mail Rick!

Sept. 11, 2004 1:04 a.m.

I was supposed to be at Ground Zero today. Instead, I’m waiting for a hurricane in Key West that now looks like it won’t arrive.

I would’ve shared my memories and reflections as best I could during coverage of the ceremonies where the World Trade Center once stood. Instead, I’ll share what I can here.

9/11 was a living nightmare — the worst possible dream I could’ve ever imagined.  I never felt so many emotions so strongly as I did that clear September morning. Anger. Fear. Confusion. Disbelief. Sadness. Rage. Frustration. Pain. I couldn’t believe the day was real, couldn’t process the scenes playing out in front of me, couldn’t understand how the things I was seeing and hearing could possibly be true.

I was there. I stood at the base of the towers as they burned, saw the chaos in the streets, and the shock on the faces of police, firefighters, rescue workers, office workers, and people on street corners.

I stood four blocks away, microphone in hand, camera rolling next to me, as the 300-foot cloud of dust and debris rolled up Church Street moments after the first tower collapsed, and people ran towards us screaming for their lives. I took refuge in our satellite truck with one of the best people I know on this earth, Pat Butler, a FOX Engineer who showed strength, resolve, and courage in the face of this awful act of terror. Four minutes later, we went back out into the street, documenting the events unfolding before us.

I heard stories that day I hope I never hear again. Eyewitness accounts of the planes hitting the towers, people jumping to their deaths, harrowing escapes from 80 stories in the sky.

I also saw the best of mankind. Men and women doing all they could to help save lives and heal wounds, searching for survivors and trying to maintain calm as a disaster unfolded. I watched heroes at work.

We all lost someone, or something, that day. We lost friends, loved ones, and strangers — everyday people doing extraordinary things. We lost a chunk of the Manhattan sky, a big slice of innocence, and a piece of our freedom and independence.  

No one should ever forget what happened. Because the less we remember, the more likely this horrible past will replay in our future.