🇺🇸🎗 #Honor911: The Sunday after September 11, 2001

United States: The following is an extract based the Journal of our Editor, Andrew McIntosh, who lived in the Midwest from 1999 to 2006.

“Sunday, September 16th, 2001.  Today was a nice day; just a bit of rain. I was exhausted but still managed to play tennis. I asked my tennis partner if he had played during the week. He said no, “it has been a bit of a strange week.

Yesterday we were doing weekend training at Station 1. During training we had a mutual aid call to assist Willow Springs FD out further south in the County. It was to a combine harvester fire in the rolling, rural hills of Kansas. I ran hot in Tanker 1140 out to what appeared to be an Amish farm.

The combine had just finished a sweep of a corm field, was turning in the field when it caught fire. It seemed like it was fully involved by the time we arrived. 1140 was a Ford Tanker we had just acquired from department in New York State. It was the first call for both Kevin and I in the new 1140: Kevin drove and thought the air horn full on awesome.

The large tractor style tires on the combine had burnt down to nothing, completely destroying the farm equipment. The Amish farmer, wide brim hat and beard (with no mustache) and his wife (hair covered in a bun with a long flowing dress) looked on, thankful their who crop was not destroyed.

So after a workout at training and the harvester fire, then tennis, I was stuffed.

I just realized my friend who had a baby daughter two days ago was born on the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance – sad in a way, but still new life at a time of despair. Our U.S. Marshal friend was still in Kansas City, protecting the Missouri Federal Court House by may be called to out of state service.

Everyone is just exhausted by the whole episode; we just had to turn the TV off, we had the “mind numbing” overlaid people were talking about. The constant replay of the planes hitting, the work going on 24/7 (at what has now been called Ground Zero rather than the World Trade Center), was on every channel.

Monday. That is when the planes hit.Like pretty much everyone, we went to church today. The Church, on Kentucky, was more than full. The Priest, who spoke about mundane things just one week ago, today used word like war, terror, death and violence in his sermon. 

The Priest even admitted that he had wished Afghanistan would be completely destroyed by the United States. This was after consoling a parishioners during the week as they weeped about the loss of someone in New York.

All in all, he gave a good sermon. Communion was moving to watch, it reminded me of what Church would have been like back in World War II.

Heard tonight that Britain will participate in the US military action because this is the biggest loss of life for their country since the Second World War. Over 300 Britons reported killed or injured. 

We stopped briefly at 23rd and Iowa today, where the International Association of FireFighters (IAFF local) was holding a fund raiser for NY Firefighter families.

There were two green Quints there from Lawrence and Douglas County Fire & Medical (LDCFM) – a Quint is a unique beast that has a water tank, can pump, has hoses, ladders & aerial appliance capability all in one. Despite being a controversial truck (that is, a four person crew to fight a fire, expected to be the ladder company and water supply too?), the most controversial aspect seemed always to be the fact that the fleet is green. We heard stories of little kids from Lawrence growing up never seeing a ‘red fire truck’ and how that affected them for life because they could never win the argument that fire trucks were usually green, not red.

Anyway, some young teenagers were on the 23rd medium strip with big handmade posters asking motorists for to honk to support Firefighters. I gave $10 for a red, blue and black ribbon held together by a US flag hat pin. Some tow trucks were there, covered in US flags and ladies were selling cakes and pies. It had a festive feel, like the 4th of July, with kids in fire trucks, but there was sad feeling in the air. Later I purchased another ribbon (red, yellow and blue) and asked “why yellow?” All the stores in town were running out of red, white and blue ribbon. White was the first be sold out.

Firefighters and Police had come out of this as ‘National Heroes.” So many dead and missing, their trucks laying burnt, crushed and dusty, is a powerful image. People around the US have been covering fire trucks in flowers at prayer vigils and ceremonies. The thought of New York’s finest rushing up those towers as everyone else ran the other way… only to be caught in the collapse, has touched the world.

Mum said that back home in Melbourne (Australia), over 30 MFB fire trucks has surrounded the US Embassy with flashing light on as a show of support.

Well, it’s now raining as I lay in bed and it’s late. Hopefully next week will provide some normality. Michelle bought a book case and assembling it tonight provided strange and welcome relief from the 24/7 bad news story. Some are calling for the networks to stop showing the explosive impact, over and over – it’s thought to be contributing to commutative national trauma…. I can’t help but agree.

We’ve have put in the window a printed poster for the US flag that came in the Kansas City Star newspaper. On the back it reads:

“These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001.

The title of this journal “We the People” has taken on even more meaning following September 11. I purchased it at the US National Archive in Washington DC, in the gift shop in the building that houses the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution. So this journal came from just meters away from the founding documents of this great democracy and just a few miles from the Pentagon, where terror struck at the heart of freedom. I have walked through the Pentagon long, tunnel like halls. I don’t know if it was one of those hit by the US domestic passenger jet.

All NFL and Basket ball games have been cancelled. I think it is the first time since WWII.”

 

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