Reply to "9/11 unfolds on the Motherboards: Waiting for the End of The World"

There is a list server for Tom Waites fans called Raindogs. Here is a posting from ground zero.

Sorry for mass mailing this but I've been telling my story so much I figured
this will save me telling it a few dozen more times. Firstly, if anyone was
there or had loved ones there I hope that you and yours are okay and
(physically at least) unscathed. The phrase I heard a lot while I was
downtown all day and night was what soldiers say about a war zone. I was in
'the shit'.

Our headquarters is 6 blocks from ground zero, so I was in it from the
get-go. It basically happened in front of me. The photos and TV coverage may
give one an even better picture than I saw, but watching live and up close is
something I hope never to go through again in my life. Working for NYC Dept.
of Transportation, I was called into service immediately by the emergency
response division. They sent everyone home except our skeleton crew of about
six or seven. I should add here that after the first explosion it was less
than a minute before the police and fire department mobilized and their cars
and trucks were out to the scene. I had gone downstairs to see what was going
on. About ten minutes of jaw-dropping stares later those with me on the
street watched the second explosion. Some had seen the plane hit, but most of
it was obscured because we were looking from behind it and just saw the ball
of flame and smoke projectile vomit out of the other end. I had my digital
camera and took some pictures. You know what it looks like if you've watched
any TV reports. I knew right then that I was needed and headed back to the
DOT Situation Room. I was to assess the traffic conditions on the bridges and
tunnels in the vicinity. Knowing it would be easier to get around, I headed
out on foot armed with my radio, safety vest, dust mask and credentials

I was in a daze awed and humbled and not a little freaked out Bits of debris
-- pipe (plumbing or aircraft), attache cases and knapsacks, concrete and
steel littered the street and flattened all the cars on the northern side
(Vesey Street). A mix of eeirie disbelief, hysterical crying and emergency
personnel were what I encountered. I was about to rendezvous with another DOT
worker at the Office of Emergency Magagement when I was called to the Holland
Tunnel area, so I turned north. I got three blocks when the rumbling began
and everyone, I mean EVERYONE started running. The SouthTower (the second one
that had been hit) was collapsing. I called in to my command what I was
seeing and that I could no longer see the top of the tower. The rumbling
cloud of thick smoke rolled like a tsunami towards us. The crying and panic
had risen to the visual equivalent of a throbbing, out-of-breath sobbing. If
I'd been 2 minutes more lingering in front of OEM I'd have been buried.

I did and saw so many things in the next 28 hours. I shuttled carloads of
bottled water to the triage area by the Ferry terminals. The eerie and (by
now) deserted streets of the Wall Street area were a desolate war zone.
Inches of greyish pale brown powdered dust were over everything and my car,
once blue was now the same color as the sidewalks. I closed streets, I
coordinated the influx of 75 DOT vehicles into our staging area (one block
below Stuyvesant and right in front of the collapsed buildings. I slogged
through the mud of a hundred fire engine hoseleaking soaked streets. There
were hundreds and hundreds of emergency vehicles of all types -- cranes and
dump trucks and ambulances and city busses that shuttled firepersonnel fuel
trucks and flood lights and salvation army meal vans.

There was a lot of waiting and attending briefings while Emergency Management
mobilized personnel and equipment as needed. I am proud that I found use for
some of our trucks. I was placed in charge for the night shift of all DOT
personnel and equipment in the ground zero zone, to be dispatched as needed.
The DOT Emergency Response Assistant Commissioner went home to get some rest.
The rubble was unimaginable. I basically had no real time to process
everything or even sit in front of a TV to get my own information. I made as
many phone calls as I could to all the many concerned friends and family I
have. I am blessed to be so loved. I got home at 10:30am. I had been with
this mayhem for 25 hours. I am exhausted. I got four hours sleep and now 7pm
I'm going back for another 12 hours...

One finally note before I run back there: It's incredible the bravery I've
seen, the generosity of spirit of everyone willing to help -- beyond any
notion of courtesy. Too bad it has to happen mostly in these extreme
circumstances. If we could all be this dedicated to each other -- WORLDWIDE
-- then maybe these things wouldn't happen. Fuck. We've got a long way to
go, still.

Peace and LOVE to you all,
Citizen of Earth