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Listening to 911 Firefighter Tapes
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Saturday, September 11, 2021
 

BY ED NORTHEN

 

A decade after 911

I listen

 

To audio tapes

Of Fire operations

In the South Tower

 

Take note of

The command structure

Problems to overcome

 

The development

Of a strategic plan

To make it happen

 

I hear

The breathless voices

Of firefighters

 

Who when elevators failed

Climb 78 floors

Carrying their equipment

To locate fire

 

Which they communicate

They could extinguish

With two additional hose lines

 

Then a proliferation of requests

A Truck Crew radios

They are trapped in an elevator

 

Trying to cut

Through the wall

To get out

 

Another requests

More resources needed

To rescue

Hundreds of people

Whose egress is blocked

 

And again another

An Engine Co.

Gives notifications

 

Of injured

And dead

 

Civilians

And Firefighters

After a partial collapse

A resolve is heard

In the voices

To continue the mission

 

Fulfill the tasks

Rescue people

Put out the fire

 

The assurance

It would be done

Accomplished

 

Press on

Ignore

The inner conversation

 

Of weary feet

Exhausted bodies

Fear

 

The realization

This is not routine

But epic

 

Time to fulfill the oath taken

To serve

Sacrifice your life

To save another

 

A silent prayer is said

Even by the non-religious

For strength

Courage

Safety

 

The ability

To finish the job

Return to the station

To home

 

To wives

Children

To loved ones

 

The tape ends

With the roar

Of Collapse

 

And the silent voices

Of my Brothers and Sisters

 


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