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DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,492
is looking for volunteers to help with the Ground Zero ceremonies on Saturday, September 11. Marianne and I are signed up and looking forward to being a part of this.

From the NY Cares website:

Volunteers are needed to help guide participants, family members, and the general public around the perimeter of the 9/11 Commemoration site. Volunteers will serve as directional greeters to help maintain traffic flow, answer general questions (bathroom locations, mental health access, etc.). Volunteers will also be checking in family members. This will be an emotional project. Please keep this in mind before committing to the project. Due to the sensitivity of this project, the Mayor’s Office will be conducting background checks on all volunteers. This is a formality but participation on this project will be decided by the Mayor's Office.

The tough part is that you'll have to be at Ground Zero at 6 a.m.. We'll be done around 3 p.m. If you'd like to be a part of something that you'll remember for the rest of your life, then please click here and scroll to the first activity:

<a href="http://www.nycares.org/2_0/2_2_September11.lasso">September 11 Volunteers</a>

If you're there, we can meet up. Thanks.
Retired and loving it.


  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,492
    Meghan did this last year

    and she tells me you get to go where the general public is not allowed to go. Very, very moving.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Ken_8
    Ken_8 Member Posts: 1,640
    I hope others can help, I can't.

    Brian (Long Island) Gelber and I went to GZ (ground zero) about three weeks after 9/11. Well, we actually didn't go all the way. We were about 15 blocks north with some fellow contractors showing them my old haunts and favorite chinese restaurant on the SoHo/Village border. The three other guys in our group were from out of town and wanted to go to the actual site - which BTW, was still smoldering from the explosion(s).

    Brian and I sat in an outdoor cafe and sipped a few adult beverages waiting for them to return and the wind changed direction and the scent of the smoke wafted our way.

    I will never forget the smell of death and burned flesh and god knows what else as the breeze brought the smell to us as we just sat there. When the cab returned our three freinds, they were visibly shaken and did not want to dicuss the emotions they felt. Brian and I totally understood - and we were a mile and a half away dealing with no visual stimulation, merely the acrid scent from afar.

    Two months ago I took my nephew and niece and two of their friends into the City and realized the subway to the WTC had been reopened. We took the subway down and went right up to the fence and stared into the abyss that once was the WTC. Moving along the street, we saw the crossed iron I-beams that were the only actual remnants of the structure I had been in many times in my life... and I openly wept.

    I will never go back there again.

    I know you can understand why.

    But I urge anyone who may be able to help to do so. Just be sure to bring an extra hankerchief or three.

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  • Darin Cook_3
    Darin Cook_3 Member Posts: 389
    I wish I could help

    I will be deployed with the Air National Guard then. I too will never forget what I saw at Ground Zero. I deployed with the Air Guard to NYC. I got there at day 3. I have never seen (or smelled) that kind of devastation before and hopefully never will again. We worked at night and it looked like a huge coal fire burning there. I always think of all the firemen lined up against the walls trying to get a brief rest. They were covered with soot and ash and filth. Trying to rescue their fallen comrades. It was a hard time emotionally to be there. Especially knowing the losses people had suffered. If anyone can volunteer, I have know doubt it would be a rewarding experiance.

    Proud to be an American,

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,492
    Very moving

    I don't know if any of you saw the memorial service on TV in previous years, but the children of the dead read the names. It goes on for hours.

    Meghan said that she has never felt more a New Yorker than on that day. I want to have that memory to hold in my heart as I get older. Never forget.
    Retired and loving it.
  • steve gates
    steve gates Member Posts: 329

    please know that my heart will be with you that day. I don't think a day goes by that it doesn't come to mind. Didn't know anyone. Does that matter? No!

    God Bless America and may We never forget!!!

    Thanks for all you do!
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,492
    Don't look down.

    I have an old black-and-white photo of my family, such as it was then. We are standing atop the RCA building in midtown Manhattan. They don’t call it the RCA building anymore; it’s 30 Rock now, but you’d know this one if you’ve ever been to my hometown. It’s the tall one, directly behind the golden Prometheus in Rockefeller Center. They hoist the big Christmas tree up in front of this one each year and millions of people come to see and to look up and up.

    In the photo, I’m about five years old. My father is holding my hand and my mother has my big brother’s hand. We’re standing with our backs to the railing and beyond us is a city that is no longer the same. New York moves like a river, its people and its features always in a state of flux. The railing at the edge of the roof in the photo stops at about the top of my little-boy head. There is no suicide fence – just a stone railing that comes up to my father’s waist. Imagine that.

    I’m wearing shorts, a woolen jacket and a cap with a short brim. We’re all smiling. My father is wearing a fedora and a top coat. He looks like a tough guy in a gangster movie. My mother looks like someone who stays home with the kids, which is what she did because no wife of his would ever have to “woik.”

    America was innocent then. They’d let you up on top of such a building where there were no fences to keep you from jumping. But there weren’t many people jumping back then. We were innocent back then and I remember the man who took the photo. He, too, wore a fedora and he handed my father a cardboard receipt. The photo arrived in the mail and I remember that day too. We were standing on top of the world and I thought that that made us very special.

    My father picked me up in his arms the day the man took the photo. He held me tight to his beer keg of a chest and then he leaned slightly toward the edge a few times. He said, “WHOA! WHOA!” and I screamed and laughed at the same time and I can still smell the Chesterfields on his breath as he laughed and tried to make his boy tough. My father was just ten years back from his war and he wasn’t afraid of anything in all the world. He had stared down death on those beaches and he was a tough guy. He scared the crap out of my brother and me more than once like this – in the water, on the roof, in the car, swaying from one side of the road to the other and yelling like a champ – and always it was to make us tough. Today, they’d probably throw him in jail for doing these things but we were all so innocent then and this was the way a New Yorker raised his boys. He’d lean toward the edge and laugh. We’d scream and laugh and my mother would say, “Don’t look down!” and she would laugh as well.

    I was working for a rep years ago and we needed to see an engineer from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey about some plans for a building that was going up. These people were in the World Trade Center, way up near the top. We rode an elevator that made your ears pop because it moved that fast and then we waited in the outer office until they called us. I was a kid in the business back then and the other guy was going to do all the talking. I was there to listen and to learn.

    His drafting table was near the tall, narrow window. I looked down and got that queasy feeling that I always get when I look down from places this high. You’d think I’d be used to this by now, but I’m not. “We sway a bit in the wind,” the engineer said.

    “You do?”

    “Not much, but you can certainly feel it.”

    “What’s that like?” I said.

    “Not bad,” he laughed. “It’s not like we’re going to topple over. It’s all engineered into the place. If it doesn’t sway a bit in the wind it’ll break.”

    I looked down and got queasy again. But I couldn’t help but look down. It was too compelling.

    One day, a little Frenchman named Phillipe Pettit got up on the roof and somehow managed to get a tightrope strung between the twin towers. I watched on the TV as he spent a good part of his day dancing back and forth above my city’s streets. I got sick to my stomach just watching him on the TV but he seemed as natural up there as the wind.
    Another day, George Willig climbed up the side of one of the towers and I watched him on the TV as well. “Don’t look down,” I mumbled. They arrested him up on top of the building and then they all posed for photos and laughed, and that’s the way it is in New York City.

    I took Marianne to the Windows on the World restaurant for dinner one night. We had gotten a babysitter and this was a special time for us. The tables were set up like stadium seats so that you could see forever no matter where you sat. We looked out onto our city to the places where we were born – Yorkville for me, Greenpoint in Brooklyn for her. And we looked out toward Long Island. It was a blizzard of lights that night. “I can see our house,” she said and she smiled.

    “Where?” I asked, leaning closer to her.

    “There,” she said, pointing into the blizzard, and she turned to me and smiled and there was an innocence in the night and it was so very good to be in New York City.

    You cross these little bridges on the way home from Jones Beach during the summer. They connect a series of tiny islands. Robert Moses built these bridges a long time ago when America was younger, and building great roads and bridges was noble and nothing could ever stand in the way of such work. If it’s not too hazy, you can see the Empire State Building and the twin towers of the World Trade Center from these bridges. They’re off there on the horizon. Kelly and Meghan and Colleen and Erin, our little girls, would sit in the back seats of the Ford van and one of them would be the first to spot “New York! New York!” and she would squeal it out with delight and beat her sisters to the punch that day. And Marianne and I would look over to our left at the towers and then back at each other and we’d smile. Common memory is the true treasure of a long marriage.

    She was reading the papers one day and she said, “No one can really understand this if they don’t live here.”

    “It’s happening to all of America,” I said.

    “No,” she said, shaking her head. “They don’t know it like we do. They can’t possibly understand this.” And the look on her face closed that conversation for good.

    We were flying back from Chicago on a Sunday in late September, right after it happend. LaGuardia was ahead of us and there was hardly anyone on the plane. She sat next to the window and I sat next to her. “Where are we?” she asked. “New Jersey,” I said, watching the refineries come into view. And then we were over the harbor, and then we saw the Lady, and then there was Ground Zero.

    And there is not a camera in this world that can capture the scope of that place, such was the the devastation. And tears welled up in my eyes.

    “Don’t look down,” Marianne whispered, but it was too compelling not to look down. You had to look down, and you had to remember.

    You had to remember the time of our innocence.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Darin Cook_3
    Darin Cook_3 Member Posts: 389
    Not long but very touching

    9/11 left a big scar on all of us, but truly that had to be one of the scariest moments in your life. Look forward to seeing you again John. I was glad we got to share a beer in Mad Dogs basement.

This discussion has been closed.