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GROUND ZERO PLUS 1094 DAYS, (3 DAYS TO GROUND ZERO PLUS THREE YEARS)--New York, NY, Wednesday, September 8, 2004--In 72 hours, for some of us, time will stand still. It will freeze as though we were showered with liquid nitrogen.

The hubbub of New York City will suddenly cease. Taxis rushing here and there will freeze frame. People taking hurried steps up or down town will be locked in motionless perpetuity. Einstein's Theory of Relativity will apply to the survivors of Nine Eleven.

I will be one of tens of thousands who will be immobile on September 11, 2004
I will be one of tens of thousands who will be immobile on September 11, 2004

I will be one of tens of thousands who cannot move for a moment. My mind will be thrust back to the day of "infamy" when Terrorism snuck into my children's living room and snarled its fangs at my grandchildren, and their children.

September 11, 2004, is a moment when those of us who witnessed the horror of Ground Zero live, who stood looking up at the people leaping from the towering buildings, will relive in a thousand different ways.

None of us will be able to describe the details of that day with any relevance to its impact on our souls, for we died that day but yet still live.

Anyone who witnesses horror first-hand loses some of their humanity. Chunks of human innocence fall away, like rotting skin, revealing the dark hole of the human soul where Fear, Intimidation and Complacency vacuum life and beauty into a core whose gravity is beyond comprehension.

I have been asked many times: "What was it lke being at Ground Zero?"

How do you tell people what it was like to witness the Battan Death March, or the extermination of people in German concentration camps, or the killing of innocent children by mad Terrorists in Russia?

As a witness, a piece of you dies with each victim
As a witness, a piece of you dies with each victim

You only know that as a witness a piece of you dies with each victim. You know that because you felt a hole in your soul when the body of a person you saw leaping from a burning building soars magnificently for a few seconds and then is swallowed behind another building, disguising the sound of crushing flesh and bones and splattering blood.

A part of your humanity soars with the flying soul heading for instant death. You whisper a prayer to the figure flailing as it descends from nearly a quarter-mile up at 120 miles per hour. You know the figure soaring down at terminal velocity has chosen the freedom of personal free-fall death over the torture and agony of it by flames and smoke.

Those who jumped defied the Terrorists in their own unique ways. They elected to not be consumed by Terrorism's fiery tongue and deadly smoke...and flew to eternal freedom, however horrible that freedom was to watch.

There are countless other moments of that day that slap themselves against the back of my eyeballs and hang for an instant, then dissipate in a blink.

I still see the ball of convoluted death...
I still see the ball of convoluted death...

I see the black ball of convoluted death rushing toward me like a giant fist as the first Tower collapsed. Suddenly it appeared, boiling with black and gray indentions resembling some naked monster's brain from a B-grade horror film.

It shoves its hatred at me as though it had me in its crosshairs, roiling angrily as it presses agains the sides of buildings in battering-ram thrust to consume all life in its path.

...from the first tower rushing toward me
.........from the first tower rushing toward me

I see it as the face of the Beast of Terror, a mangled face, riddled with the molecules of thousands of victims it just crushed, hurling them at me with nuclear force. I often hear the laughter of the Beast in the background, a chilling shrill of glee as though joyous that it caught us all by suprise, off guard, unaware, unprepared.

I cannot remember the faces of the women next to me who cried: "We're all going to die...we're all going to die." But I awaken to their voices many times. They were masked by smoke and dust, human figures without countenances, crying on the cusp of death.


Go To Yesterday's Story: "Lessons From Nine Eleven: Are We Ready For Nine Twelve?"


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