09/11/2001, When Even God Cried, Anthology

 

 

Abstract

 

 

 

Introduction

 

This document consists of a series of poems, and a personal memoir, that I wrote one week after the event. It touched me deeply, as it did all Americans. I just had to express my thoughts and document the event as I felt it. I saved newspapers and magazines from that week, as I followed the coverage.  I had to wait several years for the images to become public. Here is one poet’s impressions. I hope you always remember.

 

 

 

Prologue: When Even God Cried

(A Poetic Remembrance of the 9/11/2001 Terrorist Attack)

 

 

Overview:
On a beautiful quiet and sunny Tuesday morning, Arab terrorists turned commercial aircraft into unimaginable weapons of destruction. The USA was not prepared. It was a normal business day with people going to work and running errands. What happened was totally unexpected.

Poem: When Even God Cried

OH, what a deceptively beautiful morning!
Devoid of devious due danger Warning.
Just a clear, bright, sunny September day,
Business rousing in a typical New York way.
Lawyers, accountants, and brokers condensing,
The promise of profitable commerce commencing.

OH, the Exhilaration!
OH, the Anticipation!
The True Core of our Nation.
 

 

 

OH, happily leaving home, Children at Sitters!
To read about Monsters and Heroes and Critters.
Mommas and Poppas, some to work late,
While secretaries discuss details of yesterday’s date
And accountants are placing a Water Cooler Bet
Pending whether the fan is a Giant or Jet.

OH, So Peacefully at Work!
OH, Coffee pots Perk!
At Windows Dangers Lurk.
 

 

 

 

OH, what idiocy to think that we’re Immune!
Our unguarded skies are a terrorist’s boon.
The temptation from deadly Fanatics abound,
When we see danger only from foreign ground,
And think that civilians could not be targets.
Such foolish presumptions reap anguished regrets.

OH, the Peace was Shattered!
OH, so many Lives Scattered!
Everything changed that Mattered.

 

 

 

  1. Manhattan Attacked

(Two Planes hit the World Trade Center)

Background
After a quiet, normal start, Horror falls from the sky onto a shocked and unsuspecting nation.

Overview:
A single plane hits the tower of the World Trade Center. As the news is picked up across the nation, chaos ensues with people mesmerized and in shock as they ponder the cause of this terrible tragedy. Then the second plane hits. American Airlines flight 11 hit the North tower at 8:46 AM. Fifteen minutes later, United flight 175 dives into the South tower at 9:03 AM. It’s then that reality sets in. This is planned!

The Poem:
Chaos Over Manhattan

OH, that the Planes would never have flown!
If only the unsuspecting Pilots had known
That their training Played right into an Evil hand
As the Death Squad’s leader’s fiendishly Planned
For mass destruction inhumanly cruel
Using Hijacked Skyliners loaded with fuel.

OH, the Tragic Unknown!
OH, Planes Innocently Flown!
Brings Chills to the Bone.
 

 

OH, the massive, Collective Confusion!
As the nerve-wracking news astonished a waking nation,
After that first crash caused cameras to roll
A generation left Gawking and Gasping at a Gaping Hole
While screaming sirens converged on the sordid site
Of the smoking, vented visage of the Tower on the right.

OH, the Utter Shock!
OH, Turn Back the Clock!
Our Security they Mock.
 

 

OH, when that Second Plane came into view!
That Mesmerizing Moment when everyone knew,
As it maneuvered with obvious malicious intention,
It captured a startled Nation’s undivided attention.
The Whole World Watched in dawning disbelief
As War snuck up like a tempestuous thief.

OH, the Dawning Truth!
OH, the Undeniable Proof!
Dropping on our Roof.

 

 

 

OH, How the News Agencies captured the scene!
Workers instantly died where their desks once had been.
As a Third Plane flew over Washington DC.,
America ablaze and attacked, it was plain see.
As citizens and leaders trembled in fear
Brutal terrorist intentions became Totally clear.

OH. Let there be no More!
OH, Surely this Means War!
Brazen to the Core.
 

 

  1. Peril at the Pentagon

(A Third Plane banks over Washington DC. Hits the Pentagon.)

 

Background
After 2 planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center, a third flies in to the Pentagon. This chapter begins with a lament, after the two planes had crashed, what could we have done?

Overview:
With the World’s attention riveted on New York City, a third plane takes off from Dulles airport and is in the air flying over Washington DC. It flies straight towards the Capitol building, then does a sharp turn, and crashes into the Pentagon. We’ll never know if the terrorist was having difficulty choosing his target, between: the Capitol, White House, or the Pentagon; or, was he just using the landmarks to guide him to the pre-directed goal. He chose the concrete symbol of American military might. At 9:37 AM, American flight 77 flew into the Pentagon. The Capitol city of the United States has been brutally attacked, right at the head of the military.

The Poem:
Peril at the Pentagon

OH, if we’d been guarding our home skies!
Could our airport scanners provide the eyes?
Could closer concentration to Homeland Security
Prevent the Spectral Shadow over our capital city?
Instead of focusing only on international fears
Could we have saved our Toughest Soldiers their tears?

OH, the Terrorists Caught!
OH, Destruction not Brought!
What a Sobering Thought.

 

 

 

OH, how peacefully the day had started!
Coffee brewed as positions were skillfully charted.
A typical soldier’s sentinel duties begun.
Simulated battlefield tactics were plotted and run.
The Business of defending our Nation went on
In the planning rooms of the Pentagon.

OH, So Unaware!
OH, we must Beware!
The enemy would Dare.
 

 

OH, the White House could be their aim!
The Capital or Congress would do just the same.
The low-flying Menace made Lawmakers shiver.
Then it Brazenly Banked back towards the river
Setting its sights on the powerful Pentagon.
It savaged it’s structure in cascading Conflagration.

OH, the Fires Burned!
OH, Wood and Stone Churned!
Our Military Spurned.
 

 

OH, fireballs flew far into the air!
Uniformed soldiers suddenly turned into flare.
The ill-treated Icon was woefully wounded.
Its thick weathered walls were pummeled and pounded.
Crawling to safety, scorched Seaman’s cries,
Brought bitter tears to tough Officer’s eyes.

OH, Unbelievable Sight!
OH, Massacred Military Might!
Unquenchable Pyres Bright.

Refrain:
OH, the Mind-numbing Horror!
OH, the Terrible Sight!
Death and destruction Abounding,
Chaos and Tears and Fright!
On the Day so Many Died
The Day that Even God Cried.
 

 

  1. Reaction

(The Country Realizes the Danger, and is Put on Full Alert)

 

Background
With the evidence of a coordinated terrorist attack readily apparent, our Leaders finally come out of shock and start to take action. Then for a while, things are under control.

Overview:
The two towers of the World Trade Center are burning. The Pentagon is an inferno. At last our leaders realize the danger and swing into action. Congressmen and Senators are hustled into shelters. The Secret Service gets President Bush into the air on Air Force One. The Military is put on full alert. And, in an unprecedented action, the FAA orders all aircraft out of the air. Flights are diverted to the closest landing site.

Poem:
Reaction

OH, then they scrambled for cover!
Contingency plans opened, escape routes discover.
Our Leaders protected and shifted away,
So our Country would have Government the following day;
Agencies choppered, and bunkered, and drove them.
Protecting Democracy’s precious political stem.
OH, the Chaotic Contractions!
OH, the Rushed Reactions!
Instant Critical Actions.

 

 

OH, the Terror wasn’t over yet!
This Day in Infamy we won’t forget.
Dastardly designs were broader by far.
More planes were boarded, avoiding radar.
Terrorist teams, ready to capture the cockpit,
Set their own course, provide their own pilot.

OH. We must Beware!
OH, Thousands in Midair!
Great Danger is Still There.

 

 

 

OH, the quick thinking in terrible times,
Reduce the recurrence of continuing crimes.
Alerted, the FAA’s alarm was sounded.
Ordering Every plane that was in the air Grounded.
Thousands got diverted. Others were delayed.
Soon the skies  emptied, while the Nation prayed.

OH, They Brought them Down!
OH, FAA’s Renown!
Fanatic Mullahs Frown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Patriotism in Pennsylvania

(Passengers Fight Back in Pennsylvania and Die)

 

Background
Two towers in flames. Pentagon ablaze. President in the air in Air Force One. Another plane is clearly identified as terrorist controlled heading for Washington DC. The President orders it taken down.

Overview:
There is one more plane in the air, commercial flight United 93. It’s not responding to messages from the Air Traffic controllers. It took off from Newark airport 8:42 AM bound westward for San Francisco, but had altered its course to go East towards the Capitol Building. On this flight, after terrorists had overtaken the plane, passengers were on cell phones communicating with family and friends. They knew what had happened in New York and Washington. Meanwhile, President Bush, in Air Force One, orders scrambled jets to take the plane down. That wasn’t necessary, as the passengers themselves attacked the terrorists. Tom Burnnett, on the phone with his wife, issued those now famous words, “Let’s Roll”.

Poem:
Patriotism Over Pennsylvania

OH, still one flight failed to respond!
Its Westerly course curled completely around..
The President, deciding domestic destiny,
Gave the grim order to cut caution free.
When that innocent impediment is caught enroute
The jet-guided bombs will blow bodies about.

OH, Awful Responsibility!
OH, National Security!
What must be, Must be.

 

 

 

 

OH, how peaceful that flight had started!
The detour begun shortly after the flight had departed.
Above Pennsylvanian pasture, passengers heard of other flights.
Cellphone calls captured all of the News sound bites.
Determined travelers drew up drastic action
To bravely Battle in Flight the Fanatical Faction.

OH, The Courage Found!
OH, Terrorists were Downed!
All Buried in the Ground.

Refrain:
OH, the Mind-numbing Horror!
OH, the Terrible Sight!
Death and destruction Abounding,
Chaos and Tears and Fright!
On the Day so Many Died
The Day that Even God Cried

 

 

 

 

  1. A Country in Chaos

(Panic and Analysis Begin to Set In)

 

Background
Four planes have crashed. The airspace has been shut down. The President is in Air Force One. The whole country is riveted to TV screens. Reporters and Analysts are busy sorting it out.

Overview:
Two Towers in New York are billowing smoke, the Pentagon is in flames, a plane has crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. The FAA has shut down the airspace. The entire country is aware of the tragedy playing out. All work stops, as everyone is watching CNN and other news coverage, and analysis begins. People are asking, “Why?” Meanwhile horror, panic, and destruction unfolds upon their TV screens. People are being evacuated, others are jumping to their deaths. The streets are full of people running for their lives.

 

Poem:
A Country in Chaos

OH, the Proud Monuments in the Manhattan sky!
Mortally wounded, we’re wondering, Why?
Tragic targets of ubiquitous unheeded Hate,
Holy War victims, brought to a feral fate.
Selected symbols of American financial might
Ambushed and unwittingly drawn into the fight.

OH, Had we Known!
OH, Hatred Shown!
All Bargaining Blown.
 

 

OH, Hundreds of Innocents instantly died!
While thousands and millions looked on and cried.
Pennsylvania, Manhattan, and DC. ablaze.
The Nation engulfed in a black smokey haze.
Caught in the web of a Maniac’s Dreams,
Ensnared in the plot of his nightmarish schemes.

OH, We were so Stunned!
OH, The Warnings Shunned!
Curse the Evil War Fund.
 

 

OH, how helpless is guiltless humanity!
Finding overrated freedom in False security,
As suicide weapons cause thousands to die,
American workers are attacked from on high.
The Grim Reaper is leering and laughing at the gate,
While hopeless Victims leaped to their Fate.

OH, the Bodies Crashing!
OH, Heads like Pumpkins Smashing!
On the Concrete Bashing.
 

 

 

OH, hundreds of stories of glass and steel,
Shuddering, quacking in a sickening reel.
Structures that shook, groaned, and melted.
Panicked people below were torn and pelted
With jagged debris that was utterly grim.
They stampeded and scattered for life and limb.

OH, The Bloody Rain!
OH, the Gripping Pain!
Scene Totally Insane.
 

 

 

 

  1. Helpers Die Too

(Police and Firemen Rush In and Die Helping Many)

 

Background
With four planes crashed, the airspace closed, and chaos reigning everywhere, the rescue workers come and become heroes, and then tragically die.

Overview:
In New York, the first responder rescue workers rush to the scene, set up their command posts under the burning towers, and bravely enter the burning buildings, climbing the stairs to the blazing heights. They organize evacuations and assist those in need out of the towers, then rush hurriedly back in. Meanwhile, a Franciscan Priest, Father Mycal Judge, a Chaplain of the New York Fire Department, entered the inferno with his flock, and died with so many others. There is a now famous picture of a fireman carrying his broken body out of the North Tower lobby. His body was laid on the altar of nearby St. Peter’s Church. A total of 411 rescue workers died when the towers collapsed crushing rescue vehicles and command centers.

 

Poem:
Helpers Die Too

OH, the Brave Heroes entered and died!
Saving thousands of frightened occupants inside.
Organizing exit traffic in black choking smoke,
As burning towers Trembled and Broke.
Victim’s screamed out their mortal fears.
Officers never saw such chaos in their long careers.

OH, They Tried to Reach the Top!
Oh, the Horror Wouldn’t Drop!
Duty Wouldn’t Let them Stop.
 

 

OH, See the Priest kneeling, giving Last Rites!
Oblivious of danger and demonic sights.
He whispers absolution for failing firemen.
Buildings begin to crumble as he gives a last Amen.
A dusty Halo surrounds his Holy Head.
Then, falling debris strikes him instantly dead.

OH, Weep but Don’t Falter!
OH, Bloody Sacred Halter!
Broken Body Laid on the Altar.

 

 

 

OH, Policemen and Fireman’s heroic deaths!
Command Posts are manned to their dying breaths.
Emergency equipment established their positions too well,
Crushed in an instant when the buildings fell.
Sudden panic produced a huge Human wave.
Instant initiative facilitated who Fate would save.

OH, We Gave Our Best!
OH, Unspeakable Test!
Buried and At Rest.

Refrain:
Oh, the Mind-numbing Horror!
Oh, the Terrible Sight!
Death and destruction Abounding,
Chaos and Tears and Fright!
On the Day so Many Died
The Day that Even God Cried.

 

 

 

  1. Deadly Devastation

(In a Final Spasm of Horror, the Towers Collapse)

 

Background
With buildings burning, four planes crashed, death and destruction everywhere, and rescue workers in place doing whatever they can, the unimaginable happens. The Towers collapse.

Overview:
As TV cameras roll and the shocked Nation watches, a final drama unfolds. In Lower Manhattan, the two main towers of the World Trade Center, each a hundred stories high, rumble, then collapse into the ground. They don’t topple, they just melt into a crumbled mass of steel, concrete and glass. As they come down, a caustic cloud of dust, vapors, papers, and grime billows outward in a huge wave of fiery filth through the streets of New York. Panicked dust coated survivors run for their lives. There is a famous photograph, of the collapsing towers billowing smoke, which has a demon’s face formed in the cloud.

Poem:
Deadly Devastation

OH, now hear the loud rattle in the hot rolling roil,
As the Earth began shaking our innocent soil,
Crushed metal and vapors, as wrecked windows bust,
Explode to pollute air with all-consuming dust.
Commercial confetti of torn, twisted debris,
Makes ghostly impressions as the grime-coated flee.

OH, the Spectral Sight!
OH, This just isn’t Right!
Such Panic-driven Fright.

 

 

 

OH, such careless, callous carnage!
Witnessing the worst domestic disaster of our age,
The whole World watched in rising rage,
As Hell’s fury turned over History’s page.
With Satan’s face leering through the Billowing Dust
Citizens lost life, limb, family, and trust.

OH, The Paper Strewn Skies!
OH, Burning Dust in Our Eyes!
So Many Sad Goodbyes.
 

 

OH, Tottering Towers began to compress!
Tons of structure under simmering stress
Left those inside with no chance at all.
When the damage made the doomed decking fall.
Indifferent to whether a Victim or Hero,
Grinding metal came rumbling down to Ground Zero.

 

 

 

OH, so many Died!
OH, So many Tried!
Then, Even God Cried.

*

 

  1. After and Then

(Epilog, the Aftermath)

 

Background
All the terror and chaos of the plane crashes, and the towers crumbling is over. What remains is the horror of the smoking ruins, and the body bags, search for loved ones, funerals, and coping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview:
There have been a few events during this author’s life where a memory is so strong you remember where you were and what you were doing at the time, forever. The death of John F. Kennedy, and the Moon Landing come to mind. But nothing compares, for me, to this event. As I’ve mentioned, I wrote these two poems one week after the event. It came spilling out. I had to write it.

Poem:
After and Then

After we bury our dead

After the mourning is done

After all the farewell’s are said

After all the survivors are known

After all of the tears have been shed

After all the immediate dangers are gone

After our children are all safely in their bed

After the home skies are secured for everyone

After our victim’s and hero’s stories have been read

After all the sirens and flashing red lights are no longer on

Then will our nation arise

Then will our just plans be set

Then will we raise up the battle cries

Then will terrorist justice be capably met

Then will we gird up our chest and our thighs

Then will they see when our anger has been whet

Then will they see what safety their blood money buys

Then will our enemies start to be taught to seriously regret

Then will we fill up Afghanistan’s cities, mountains and skies

Then will the rest of the world belatedly learn on which side to bet

We promise to honor our dead well

We promise to be discerning and just

We promise to ring a Taliban death knell

We promise those Afghan leaders will bust

We promise liberty and patriotism will swell

We promise to smash Al Quida into pieces of dust

We promise to make them drink from the bitter well

We promise to go anywhere and do whatever we must

We promise to rid the whole world of the terrorist’s smell

We promise to eradicate all Osama Bin Ladin’s evil blood lust

A 9/11 Experience

My Personal Account of the Terrorist Attack

 

Background:  Many People were impacted on this terrible day in 2001, which forever changed things, far worse than me. Never the less, this is my story of how it unfolded for me. My prayers and thoughts go out to all the victims and families of this horrific event.

I am forevermore impacted by the events that occurred on 9/11/2001. First of all 9/11 is my birthday. Since that day, my birthday has never been the same. Also, whenever I present my driver’s license or fill out a form requiring that date, I always get a comment. So I take, and I took, this event personally.

However, beyond that, I was in New Jersey that day traveling on company assignment. Lockheed Martin had just put my division in Eagan, Minnesota, under the common purchasing group, located in Moorestown, New Jersey, which was then called the Northern Material Acquisition Center (NMAC). They were assigned to buy all components and commercial parts for all of MS2. At that time, MS2 consisted of 9 separate sites. However, we were not on a common purchasing system yet, so the plan was that Eagan’s requisitions would be transferred to Moorestown, and their Buyers would place the Purchase Order (PO) on our P1100 System. So, I was sent to Moorestown to train their Buyers how to input POs on P1100. Since this event was larger than me personally, I was there on my birthday along with Scott McLagan to do 2 days of training. We arrived there on Monday evening 9/10.

On the morning of 9/11, I was in a conference room with about 20 buyers. We had a TV set to use for an Audio-Visio presentation as part of the training. I believe it was an overview of the Eagan products and Programs to orient the Buyers on the things they would be buying. At the time the 1stplane hit the World Trade Center, I was making a presentation using an overhead projector, and using a laser pointer to highlight my presentation when the door slammed open and I was rudely interrupted by a person who grabbed the TV set. I started to protest – “Hey Buddy, I’m giving a presentation here and need that!” He just blurted: “A plane just flew into the World trade center”. As I just stood there with a dumbfounded “What!” on my lips, the room emptied along with the TV set.

Out in the main office, the TV had no rabbit ears, so no one could get a picture. Finally, a local Engineer had a spool of copper wire in his desk. Don’t all Engineers have that? He hooked the wire up to the back of the TV and strung the wire out an open window creating AN ANTENNA. None of us ‘Sourcing’ people would have thought of that. The TV finally focused in just in time for us to watch the second plane hit the tower. When the first plane hit, we thought it was some sort of major tragic accident. After, the second plane, there was no doubt that it was a terrorist attack. This was New Jersey. Some of the people in that office had family and friends IN THE TOWERS. So immediately everyone got on the phone. There was shock, horror, and despair everywhere you looked. Scott and I called home and in to work to let everyone know where we were and that we were OK. We heard that Les Bruchal and Paul Roselle were diverted into Canada. Lockheed was trying to get a hold of everyone on travel status. Since Jersey is just across the river from New York, the next thing that happened was everyone piled into their cars and drove over to a nearby park where the New York skyline could be seen. From there we could see the Statue of Liberty, and beyond it the smoking towers. There were tears, cursing and “OH my Gods” from everyone present.

The next thing to happen was that several people headed for New York only to be turned back because the bridges and tunnels into NYC were shut down. People were milling around in shock and didn’t know what to do. Management decided to get people back into the class room since there was no communication or transportation possible, so it might help them to settle down and get their minds off the tragedy for a while. So we got everyone we could find back into the classroom, but after a while it was obvious that nobody, including me, could focus on anything else, so we broke up the training and cancelled the sessions for a future date. Scott and I went back to our rooms and tried to book a flight out only to find out that all flights had been grounded. So we watched CNN the rest of the day.

On Wednesday the planes were still not flying. We went into the office and hung around with the locals. We heard all kinds to tragic stories. Several people were still trying to find their friends or relatives. Many were angry, but couldn’t do anything about it. People wanted to go in to New York, but still couldn’t. I told Scott that if the planes weren’t flying Thursday morning, be ready to check out and drive home. So, on Thursday, we took off. We didn’t call Avis, we just got in the rental car and started driving. We figured we would drop the car off in Minneapolis. That drive took us 22 hours straight through. I drove the whole way. Air traffic was still grounded, so the roads were bumper to bumper and slow moving. Never saw so many semi-trucks on the road. Everyone was driving. We got into Minnesota at 5 AM, having left New Jersey at 7AM the previous day. I dropped off Scott, took the rental car home, kissed and hugged my wife, then went over to my bed and passed out.

The next morning was Friday. After a couple of hours sleep, I dropped off the rental car. Avis didn’t even ask, just processed the bill. It must have been an off Friday, because, in any case, I didn’t go in to work. My wife told me that they were holding a special Mass down at the Cathedral of St. Paul for the victims of the terrorist attacks and that the Archbishop was presiding. You bet we went! He gave an eloquent sermon, but what I remember the most was when we said the Our Father. When we got to the part “AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESSPASS AGAINST US”, there were tears streaming down my face and I choked on the words

 

Synergy of Poetry and Verse. Author, Poet, Photographer

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