Monday, September 28, 2020
Monday, September 14, 2020
Friday, September 11, 2020
By JIM PURCELL
9-11: So here we are again. The truth is that no one who wasn't there or who lost someone can know the horror of it all. It is 2020 and I have been living with it for 19 years. I worked one shift, on September 14th, 2001 and I cannot get it out of my head. The people who worked at the pile, towers North and South, have seen terrible things. It was enough to drive me mad for awhile, and in the years since then I hate September 11th. For years I tried to forget about it and act 'extra sane' on its anniversary. But, I am older and retired, so I truly do not give a damn what anyone thinks one way or the other.
There is dying and then there is how these people died. It still makes me angry, and sad. For weeks after my shift, I would break down and cry without any notice or warning. There were times I would have to pull my car over or I would have had an accident. Sometimes, I cried very hard and for a long time. I casually knew a few people who perished. But the sight of the body bags on the sidewalk next to the bank has never left me. The lady at her desk on the 2nd floor of Tower South, the sides of the building peeled away, looked like she was just taking a nap at her desk. I could even see family photos on her desk.
I was 33 years old then. God has seen fit to let me become 54. Other workers at the site have died through the years, of various cancers and related illnesses. And, for a long time, I thought I would join them. I would not change one single thing about going Downtown with the Keansburg Police Department and off-loading non-perishables for the workers.
When we were on the scene, I noticed that the Kreissparkasa Bank building looked broken and loomed over everyone on the site. It turned out to be a trick of dirt and light, but all of us thought that, at any minute, that building could fall on us. I went there with Jimmy Piggott, the assistant chief at Keansburg. I pointed out the building to him when we got there. He said, "No, that does not look healthy at all." I asked him what we would do if the building fell. He told me, "You won't have to worry about it, you'll be dead right away." Actually, that was some comfort.
Before 9/11 I thought that my heart had been broken by my ex-wife. But, it hadn't. I knew real heartbreak in the months after the attack. I cannot put into words what changed in me. Yet, I know something is missing now.
I can pretend nothing is wrong, but I do not want to keep the charade up anymore. I called my therapist today and told him I cannot do our appointment today. I want to mourn again. I want to allow myself to feel what happened in my heart again. And, I do not want to pretend for the sake of anyone.
People always want to make today political. I can't stand them. I remember that some of us felt we had to do what we could to help. I see the 9-11 hate stokers as a virus that should be ended with a vaccine. Yeah, some Arabs got together and killed a lot of people. It doesn't mean every Muslim did. People are people, for the good and bad.
Do not judge people as a group. Judge people one at a time, as they come. Today, I am still being treated by the 9/11 Health Program. I am thankful for it, and I hope everyone keeps it going: because I need it and depend on it. I am so over hate and ideas of vengeance. I want to live a quiet life and grow older with my wife. That's about it.