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| Category: || General Poetry |
Posted:|| March 7, 2020 Views: 154|
Chapter 2 of the book Day Four and Other Memories of 9/11
I penned this epic poem on the fourth day of our grieving.
"Day Four: Hope from Ashes Part 2"
by Mary Kay Bonfante
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The help streams in, from near and far,
In giants of steel, by truck, by car.
But for our dead, no claw of iron
Can lift our burden, or quiet our crying.
So the cranes loudly groan as they clear what stands,
But the living rubble needs human hands.
As the brave venture forth, into holes in the ground,
Loyal dogs seek a scent, and all seek a sound.
Our Bravest, our Finest -- their finest hour.*2
Hundreds braved the burning towers.
Saving our neighbors from crushing embers,
They gave their lives. A nation remembers.*3, *4
As those at ground zero breathe dust and smoke,*5
They discover the gruesome, they gag and choke,*6
Picking through ruins, painful labor of love!
Where strong towers of concrete once loomed above.
Risking their lives, they persevere,
For a tapping sound they hope to hear.
A sign from the rubble, all toppled and ashen,
O God of all hope, pour out your compassion!*7
We're America, guys, don't you get it?
We vote in elections, we buy on credit.
We have medical tests and examinations,
If we can afford it, we go on vacation.
Get your "holy war" out of here!
Give up your unholy hate that breeds fear.
Get on your knees, get on your face.
Behold the God of love and grace!
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* The patch shown in the photo above was a gift to my husband, when he was volunteering with the Red Cross of Greater New York (RCGNY). A group of volunteers were eating a meal in St. Paul's Church downtown near the WTC site, and workers came in and gave out the patches. Such souvenirs, and food, were the only rewards received by RC volunteers such as my husband Jorge -- they did it out of kindness for others and love for their city and country. One of the labor unions and the Port Authority workers gave them the patches.
* Please enjoy this moving rendition of the popular song "Hallelujah," performed by the Ten Tenors:
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The footnotes continue, consecutively numbered, from the previous chapter. Here are the footnotes cited above:
*2 New York Fire Department (FDNY) firefighters are known as New York's Bravest.
New York Police Department (NYPD) police officers are known as New York's Finest.
*3 Some information about those who perished in the 9/11 attacks (including our first responders):
*Of the 2,977 victims killed in the September 11 attacks, 412 were emergency workers in New York City who responded to the World Trade Center.
~343 firefighters (including a chaplain and two paramedics) of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY);
~37 police officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD);
~23 police officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD);
~8 emergency medical technicians and paramedics from private emergency medical services; and
~1 patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol.
*From a separate but related source: most of those who perished were civilians except for:
~343 firefighters and 71 law enforcement officers who died in the World Trade Center and on the ground in New York City;
~another law enforcement officer who died when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania;
~55 military personnel who died at the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia; and
~the 19 terrorists who died on board the four aircraft.
*6,000 people were also injured in the attacks (not including others who suffered illnesses resulting from the attacks months or years later).
*The attacks were the "deadliest terrorist act in world history, and the most devastating foreign attack on United States soil since the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941."
*At least 11 pregnancies were lost as a result of 9/11.
*One police dog was also killed in the attack on the Twin Towers -- Sirius was not on duty, but waiting in a cage for his police partner who was unable to return to him before the building collapsed.
*4 Please watch this 10th Anniversary video honoring our 9/11 heroes:
*Bagpipes have a long tradition at the funerals of civil servants in the United States, particularly police and firefighters. Besides their suitability due to their mournful sound, the history of Irish workers, who came to the United States in droves in the 1800s because of the potato famine, included tremendous bigotry against them for a long time -- which meant that often, they took the only jobs available to them, which included the dangerous work of police and firefighters. And so the tradition of the bagpipes began.
*5 The term "ground zero" was used loosely in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in reference to the Twin Towers (One WTC and Two WTC), much as it would be used to refer to the epicenter of any disaster such as an earthquake or bombing. With time, the term took on official significance, as it became known as Ground Zero, the place where the Twin Towers once were. This continued until the rebuilding of One World Trade Center and the construction of the Reflecting Pools on top of the original footprints of the Twin Towers.
*6 "The dust from the collapsed towers was "wildly toxic", according to air pollution expert and University of California Davis Professor Emeritus Thomas Cahill."
*"As of June 2019, the 10 most common conditions certified by the World Trade Center Health Program were chronic rhinosinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), asthma, sleep apnea, cancer, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic respiratory disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, and anxiety disorders. The most common cancers were skin cancer and prostate cancer. A full list of physical and mental health conditions covered is available on the World Trade Center Health Program."
*As of September 2019, 241 NYPD officers (10 times the number killed in World Trade Center attack) and 202 FDNY personnel have died from 9/11 illnesses.
*It has been reported that over 1,400 9/11 rescue workers who responded to the scene in the days and months after the attacks have since died; as of August 2013, medical authorities concluded that 1,140 people who worked, lived, or studied in Lower Manhattan at the time of the attack had been diagnosed with cancer as a result of "exposure to toxins at Ground Zero".
~The numbers from these last two sources seem to be hard to reconcile, however it is important to remember that many other workers and volunteers besides NYPD and FDNY participated in the efforts: the National Guard was there; civil servants came in from out of the area and surrounding areas; and there were many construction crews in various specialties and ordinary people volunteering.
* "33K 9/11 first responders suffering and hundreds dead, horrific number continues to rise, reported September 2019."
~I don't know if it's possible for 33,000 rescue, recovery and cleanup people to be sick from the 9/11 aftermath, because I don't know if that many people could have worked on it. However if you add civilians who were living, working or attending school in the area, that number, as a total of civilians and Ground Zero workers, is certainly possible. There was an elementary school, a high school and a college in the immediate area, full of children and youth. The downtown area also was, and is once again, a business district teeming with humanity.
*9 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. --Romans 15:13 NIV
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and 2 member cents.
© Copyright 2016.
Mary Kay Bonfante
All rights reserved.
Mary Kay Bonfante
has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.
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