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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering 9/11

Telling this story may be lazy of me, but the events that stand out most in my mind about the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened weeks after the fact. The newspaper I worked for then, asked me to find a firefighter who had worked in that town but later moved his family to NYC so he could fulfill his dreams of becoming a New York firefighter. I found the guy. I also found that he was the only survivor in his battalion. But he handled the emotional toll so well, that his bosses in the FDNY called on him to do an unenviable job following the attacks. So a photographer and I went to New York to spend some time with him and get his first person account and learn about what he went through in the days and weeks afterward. It is a long story, gut wrenching to me, but worth the read if you have 10 minutes to spare. Whenever folks read this story, I'm always asked afterward if my subject's meeting at Ground Zero with old bosses and co-workers from his old town was staged. I'll tell you in advance, it was not. Pure luck of the draw - the kind of incident that can turn an interesting story into a good story, in spite of the author. Email me if the link doesn't open.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy: Easing the Pain

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  • Very touching article, James. A wonderful read.

    When 9/11 happened - my father was a retired firefighter in Washington State - he cried for all his "brothers" lost. We all did.

    By Anonymous Karmyn R, at 1:44 PM  

  • Truly an excellent, emotional story. Well done!

    By Blogger Buffalo, at 1:44 PM  

  • God, that article makes me feel bad for my Yak-shaving day blog.

    By Blogger Evil Spock, at 2:29 PM  

  • As good this year as it was last year.

    (And I'm glad that I'm not the only one who got a little lazy and recycled material.)

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 3:27 PM  

  • Karmyn R and Buffalo, thank you, very much.

    Evil Spock. No worries. It's a day of reflection and observation. No rules that say we can't or shouldn't keep going about our other interests.

    Queen, thank you again. And no, you're definitely not the only one to recycle.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 4:11 PM  

  • Very nice... I didn't post anything about 9/11, firstly I didn't quite know what to say that hadn't already been said, and I know so many others had posts... I still thought of everyone though.

    By Blogger Aunt Jackie, at 3:54 PM  

  • That was a moving story, beautifully told.

    I grew up in New York and the events hit me perhaps harder, even, because I was living in California at the time. There was an irrational guilt, as if I should have been there, if that makes any sense.

    Thank you for sharing this nuts & bolts piece about real people w/o the romantic, spiritual or political speculations that abound when this day is remembered.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 8:19 PM  

  • Thanks, James. Yours was the only 9/11 piece I read this year. I didn't watch the news or listen to the radio. I even avoided the Times website all day (egad!). But I came here and knew you'd have something to say that I respected and needed to read. Thanks again.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 10:55 PM  

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