My goodness, how the time has flewn.
On September 11, 2001, Danny, a member of FDNY Engine Co. 216, would have driven the firetruck to the scene of the fire, but September 11 was no ordinary day. Driving with the truck meant staying with the truck, and as he watched smoke and flames pour out of the World Trade Center towers, Danny Suhr made a fateful decision…. he was going in with the crew.
Danny left the truck with a probie (a newbie firefighter), and headed towards the Towers.
Seven firefighters, including four from Engine Co. 216, rushed to him and stayed by his side, refusing to leave him. They pulled Danny under the scaffolding of a nearby building and attempted to revive him, even though it had become obvious that he'd sustained catastrophic injuries.
Father Mychal Judge administered last rites to Danny before he himself went with other firefighters to his own death in the collapse of the first tower.
But, because he died when and where he did, and because his seven friends refused to leave his side, they were saved.
Firefighter Daniel Suhr was the first fireman killed on 9/11.
Those seven firefighters were saved not only by the death of Daniel Suhr, but also by the fateful decision of one indiviual. Someone, a man or a woman, arose that morning…a morning no different than any other. Someone showered, brushed teeth, ate breakfast, read the newspaper, maybe kissed a spouse and children good bye.
That someone left for work on the 31st floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center….. This person rode the elevator up up up.. over 1000 feet…. got coffee, said hello to colleagues and began the work day….
......and within a couple of hours found that this was to be the last morning of life. That instead of choosing where to go for lunch…it was to be a choice of which way to die.
Who this individual was will never be known. But this SOMEONE was among the estimated 200 people who made the same choice that day. Nearly all were from the North tower, which was hit first and collapsed last. Fewer than a dozen were from the South tower.
There was no time to recover or identify those who were forced to jump prior to the collapse of the towers. Officially, all deaths in the attacks except those of the hijackers were ruled to be homicides (as opposed to suicides). The New York City medical examiner's office stated that it does not classify the people who fell to their deaths on September 11 as "jumpers": "A 'jumper' is somebody who goes to the office in the morning knowing that they will commit suicide... These people were blown out or forced out by the smoke and flames."
In the South tower just the sight of people jumping also saved lives. Many had a close-up view of people plunging to their deaths from a building that was a mirror image of their own.
"I looked at a couple of people jumping, and that was it. I'd seen enough. We've got to get the hell out of here,' " says Jaede Barg, who worked for Aon, on the south tower's 100th floor.
Eric Thompson, who worked on the 77th floor of the South tower, went to a conference room window after the first jet hit. He was shocked when a man came to a North tower window and leaped from a few floors above the fire. Thompson looked the man in the face. He saw his tie flapping in the wind. He watched the man's body strike the pavement below. "There was no human resemblance whatsoever," Thompson says.
The story of the victims who jumped to their deaths is an interesting and sensitive aspect of the Sept. 11 tragedy. Most newspapers and magazines ran only one or two photos and then published no more.
The media was wrong to self-censor photos and video of the jumpers. It was an important part of the day, a terribly heartbreaking and dramatic component to the story — and one the rest of the world saw, but Americans, for the most part, didn’t.
Our magazines and newspapers increasingly run photographs of bodies and corpses from battlefields all over the world. It was irresponsible journalism to leave the full story of what happened on September 11 incomplete, simply because, in this case, the disturbing images happened to be those of Americans. We should have been horrified, not protected.... and we should remain horrified to this day.
For those who jumped, the fall lasted 10 seconds. Count them…ten seconds is actually a long time. They struck the ground at just under 150 miles per hour — not fast enough to cause unconsciousness while falling, but fast enough to ensure instant death on impact. People jumped from all four sides of the North tower. They jumped alone, in pairs and in groups.
Most came from the North tower's 101st to 105th floors, where the Cantor Fitzgerald bond firm had offices, and the 106th and 107th floors, where a conference was underway at the Windows on the World restaurant. Others leaped from the 93rd through 100th floor offices of Marsh & McLennan insurance company.
They kept jumping until the tower fell. They jumped through windows already broken and then, later, through windows they broke themselves. They jumped to escape the smoke and the fire; they jumped when the ceilings fell and the floors collapsed; they jumped just to breathe once more before they died.
They were all very much alive on their way down.
Americans responded to the worst terrorist attack in our history with acts of heroism, sacrifice, generosity, and martyrdom. But for some, out of horrific necessity, their last response was to be one prolonged and agonizing leap of faith.
THE FALLEN by LBC (Seeker)
Facing an opening into sky and smoke beyond all night.
Behind you an inferno.
Clutching the edge of the building.
This day God wrote the letters upon your hands… see them…
A moment held…. a tiny sliver of one hour. See it drip away.
The word "now" ticking like a bomb behind you.
Nothing to do but fall.
Your heart… melting in flame and the pall of smoke.
Your soul flying.
All of this falling slowly,
Only rushing wind.
Caught in one last desperate moment, of one last desperate day…
Hands awake. Pulling upwards.
Out of pain.
Memento Vivere…Remember you live.