September 11, 2009

Still Raw, Still Visceral

Eight years later, all I can clearly remember is the sinking feeling in my gut and the unnaturally blue skies we had in the Hudson Valley that morning.

This says so much more than my words can.

Via Instapundit, on Facebook.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 11, 2009 07:23 AM

I worked at a financial institution in mid-town Manhattan near Grand Central Station. I will never forget this day and the pain, suffering and intense fear it caused. Standing on the trading floor with my co-workers watching the terrible scene unfold; the cries of horror and disbelief, people running out the door knowing their loved ones were in those Towers. The devastating losses of family, business associates and friends. The stream of silent, shocked people walking up Lexington Avenue through the day; the endless scream of sirens and seeing fighter jets overhead; the posters of the missing on every building and pole; standing on Fifth Avenue at 2:00 in the afternoon and seeing the spire of smoke that was once the Trade Center. The bomb scares in the days following and hundreds of people pouring onto the streets in fear. The long dark days of seemingly endless funerals and memorials on the streets of New York. Never forget and never let anyone demean this Day of Remembrance. RIP.

Posted by: Catherine at September 11, 2009 08:35 AM

I worked refueling planes at N.O. International(Now Luis Armstrong Int.).
Late flights had me hopping, and I over heard something hit the tower, and speculation was a cessna or private jet. . . Back out to work another of the late flights, when suddenly, the workers on one of my flights disappeared. . .
I will never forget.

Posted by: JP at September 11, 2009 12:22 PM

I am sorry I am late to this thread. But I rarely feel right posting about it, maybe because it still cuts like a knife, I'm not sure.

I think, no I know that this event was much like Pearl Harbor for our generation. It is a thing where you will never forget that day, where you were, what you were doing, and the feeling you had in the pit of your stomach.

I was with 3/8 Weapons Company. We were on our way out to the field for a static line shoot with the big guns (.50 and MK19). The range we were going to required us to leave base. We stopped at a red light and an old ugly blue van with rust all over it pulled up along side of us. Nothing unusual about it. But instead of the driver simply looking ahead and waiting on the light to turn green, he turned to me, sitting in the passenger seat of our HMMWV, and said. “You boys are about to get really busy. Someone bombed the World Trade Centers.” Before I could ask anything the light turned green and he drove off. I figured he was just another crazy old guy wanting to mess with us. It couldn’t have happened here, not on our soil. I quickly pushed the encounter from my mind and back on the task at hand.

A few miles down the road the OOD came on the radio and told me that I had to bring the entire section back to the rear and secure everyone to their rooms. Leave the weapons out of the armory and have them take them to the second deck lounge, and place a gear guard on them.

Odd, but nothing too unusual, plans change all the time. Maybe the 4 forgot to lock the range on and they were trying to find another open range. There was no telling. I didn’t even think to give any validity to what the crazy old man said.

After I worked out a roster to rotate the gear guards for chow and what not I went back to my room in the BEQ grabbed a soda (Dr. Pepper) and a tuna sandwich (Swiss cheese, mustard and mayo) from the mini fridge and stepped out onto the catwalk to have a smoke.

I lived on the third deck on the side of the BEQ that overlooked the road that lead to the PX. From that vantage point you could see the traffic circle, the main LZ by the field house, and all the way down to K street. We lived in HP2345 at the time, and it was on C street.

After a few moments a group of five Harriers flew overhead, fast! Still nothing unusual. They were constantly flying near our barracks. It was a straight shot from New River to the B ranges they used to drop bombs. Then another five. And another. Then a group of 18s. After a bit of time in, you can actually learn the sounds of the various birds, it was always a game of ours to sit there and guess what type of bird was flying overhead. Well when I heard the 18s I actually looked up. 18s normally came from Cherry Point, and that is a totally different direction, and they were coming from that direction. But what made me look up is the fact that there are no ranges in the direction they were traveling. Well when I looked up I knew something was odd. Really odd.

Normally birds fly empty, no munitions when simply flying, and when they are going to the bombing range they only load a few. Never a full stack. But these were armed to the teeth. But they were not carrying bombs. Then I kind of looked out over the parking lot to the road and saw Abrams driving down the road. I only thought it odd because normally the flex mounts on the TC hatches were normally void of their machine guns while traveling down the road. But sure enough they were mounted and had rounds on the feed trays. The Abrams turned towards the PX, that road leads to the main gate. Then I saw an AAV park itself upon the grass in the center of the traffic circle, then off to my left by the fire station there was two vehicles from LAR.

I checked the news and sure enough the WTC was hit, and while I was watching the smoke rise they cut in to say that the Pentagon had been hit.

The Ops Chief showed up a few minutes later with ammo and briefed us.

I was pissed. So pissed that I remember not being able to see straight. A deep seeded kind of pissed off that I hadn’t felt before. I had been in combat before, I knew what it was like. But never before did I ever wish death upon someone.

Well we were on ACM at the time. So we all knew what was going to happen. We checked our Marines' gear once again making sure they had everything they needed. By two o'clock there were buses waiting to take us to Cherry Point. Setting on the tarmac was a C5. Engines spun up ready to take off. My CAAT team was going to be on the first flight out with Lima Company. We sat on the Tarmac with that same bird, engines spun up, for days, waiting to go break something. But the call didn't come, so we went back to Camp Lejeune and sat in our rooms, no training, no PT. Just sitting there waiting on a call to go.

Posted by: Matt at September 12, 2009 07:47 AM