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The Synthonic Orchestra, Band & Choir:

9-11-2019 - I SHALL NEVER FORGET

Posted on September 11, 2019 with 0 comments

9-11-2019 – I SHALL NEVER FORGET

9-11-2001

Arrived at LaGuardia (AM) from Reagan (DC). Caught a cab to 5th Ave. and saw the first big ball of flames just after being hit.  Taxi driver and I thought it was a Hollywood stunt for a movie.

Worked for an Engineering/Occupational Safety & Health National company, with an office across the street from the Empire State Bldg. I was scheduled to meet with a telecommunications company (whose antenna tower was atop one of the buildings) to inspect their Manhattan facility and develop an H&S Plan.

By the time I arrived at my office, everyone was watching the events on television.  Then the next building was hit. The rest, everyone knows. 

The streets were shoulder-to-shoulder people in disbelief and awed panic.  The subways were shut down along with all forms of public transportation. My return flight was useless.

All auto travel exits out of Manhattan were reportedly blocked or closed. I already had booked a room, days before at a nearby hotel. Our office building was evacuated due to the Empire State Building being across the street and fear that it would be hit next.

Everyone was trapped out on the street.  I checked in, to the hotel after several hours of winding and swimming through a sea of people in disbelief. My scheduled H&S appointment had also been canceled. Cell phones no longer worked.

9-12-2001

Went out the next morning and walked to Ground Zero.  People still in shock.

There was total armed security surrounding the Site, blocked off by side-by-side dump trucks and other vehicles hiding mountainous piles of igneous and billowing, volcanic-like rubble.  The massive smoke cloud, choking the sky, wafted away towards the E/NE. I was due to return to DC that day, but now no way to leave.  The hotel let me stay an extra night for free, including the night before.

9-13-2001

Penn Station was reportedly open and I arrived to wait in line for some 5 hours to finally buy a ticket and catch the next train to DC, Union Station.

Arrived at Union Station later and caught the Metro to Reagan Airport.  No one was in the airport, and an empty graveyard of hundreds of docked aircraft around the tarmac. 

So, I walked to the parking lot to retrieve my car.  No parking charge and I drove toward Maryland, passing the Pentagon with massive smoke clouds hovering over the north, across the Potomac. Mine was one of a few cars driving during afternoon rush hour. 

A sadness lingered everywhere as I drove on empty roads that I had driven over for decades and bicycled over to DC as a kid to walk inside all of the government buildings at-will and unhindered.

I felt I had entered Hell.

About a Month Later

Was scheduled to monitor dust removal operations with all HVAC duct systems in several buildings surrounding Ground Zero, as employee absenteeism was reportedly due to the HVAC systems being in full operation during and after the 9/11 Event. The 9/11 dust was believed deposited within the HVAC duct systems with the dust and charred and powdered human remains of the Event. Every time the system kicked on with sudden system vibration, it was feared (or believed) it was continually blowing the disturbed dusts into occupied spaces through the supply air registers.

Arrived a second time in another building.  This time, I afterward walked the streets and still saw people with photographs of their missing loved-ones, imploring/asking/begging people, “Have you seen this person?” with ever-failing hope and horror. After several hours of this very saddening and heart-wrenching experience, I returned to my hotel room and wept all night (the tears always come every 9/11).  Left the next day, as the dust abatement had passed the testing and inspection of the completed duct system abatement.

Aftermath

Lost a close business colleague that Day from Texas, to whom I spoke over the phone many times concerning upcoming projects for his company, which I would be conducting.  I will never hear that friendly voice ever again.  The company I was working for, had a long-standing multi-million dollar contract to begin monitoring and testing for asbestos abatement at the two now-vanished buildings.  Soon after, the company slowly folded. I left before then and started my own company.

I Shall Never Forget.