Like many others I’m sure, I’ve found my mind drifting today to think about all those who died in the twin towers eleven years ago. I watched something last night about a guy who somehow survived the tower falling, hunched up on the stairwell of floor 22, I’ve looked at footage on You Tube of the planes hitting, police rushing to the scene, heroic handsome fire fighters heading into the first tower not yet knowing that it was so dangerously unsafe. I’m a bit ashamed to say I even watched some of the footage of some ‘fallers’ – those who found it so unbearable that they chose to jump. I noticed a number of times some jumped at the same time, almost together and wondered did that give them any comfort at all? I think I read that 3000 died that day, with a whole long list of statistics as to how many were found, how many were identified visually, how many by finger prints, dental and some just by a very small fragment used for DNA identifiication. My mind can hardly take it in. 3000?
But then you read a little further into what happened next. Thousands of police and fire fighters and ordinary men and women who helped dig, looked for survivors, cleared rubble and swept up, now all dying from all manner of terrible cancers, caused by the dust. Then of course the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was in New York after 9/11, on the night that Bush announced they were going in. I was with a whole bunch of American firefighters for St Patricks day. We were drunk, talking about Ireland, drinking, sex and 9/11. But we were talking different languages though as they struggled to grasp my desire for peace, my belief there was a need for caution and for passivism.
I got to thinking about how many more have people died as a result of that bleak day eleven years ago. I did some searching, read a few websites, wikipedia, news reports and in the end I’ve had to stop as it’s made me feel so so sad, sick even. Some sites say over a million people. Some list them out 200 here, 10,000 there and some are more conservative at just over 100,000.
I don’t mean to disrespect or take anything away the courageous acts of our service men and women, they do the things I can’t and are more brave and strong than I can ever imagine being. I’m proud of them. Especially Conrad Lewis, RIP 353.
But did it have to be this way? Was and is there another way? I have no idea, I just wish there was.
Thinking of everyone who perished that day and everyone since and hope our guys come home soon.