Lord, take me where you want me to go.
Let me meet who you want me to meet.
Tell me what you want me to say.
And keep me out of your way.
A million stories in the naked city
: The Observer has a wrenching piece following up on the lives of the people who Were There That Day. It’s awkward online; the story is about people in pictures we’ve all seen and they didn’t put those pictures online. Nonetheless, we know these people: the fireman climbing the stairs, the dust lady… Their nerves are still raw. A U.S. Marshal who helped rescue people:
My whole life has changed. There’s not a time I’m talking to someone, whether it’s talking about the disaster or talking about work, that I don’t see images in my mind. It’s a video that goes over and over in my brain. Especially working in the city, I can’t get away from it. East Side or West Side, I keep expecting to see the Towers, but they’re gone. I can still function, but it’s always there. Some days I don’t feel like getting out of bed. Everything reminds me of it. I don’t watch it on TV. What am I going to see? A building falling? I don’t need to see that on the screen because I was right at the bottom of it. A burning building? I saw it right in front of me. People jumping out? I was there when it happened. So what do I need to watch it on TV for?
The lady covered with dust, as so many of us were:
People call me the Dust Lady now. At Halloween a lady who lives in my apartment building covered herself in flour and went trick-or-treating as the Dust Lady. I don’t think they realise how much it hurts. I’m just tired of crying. My whole life has gone downhill since 9/11…. don’t have juice or milk in the refrigerator for my daughter. She’s eight years old and doesn’t want to be here with me anymore. She comes after school, but then she goes to her dad’s house. Sometimes I lay on the couch crying and she says, ‘Why are you crying so much?’.
The firefighter on the stairs:
People don’t realise that the plane hit at the worst possible time for the fire department. We change shifts at 9am, so there were two shifts of guys hanging around the firehouse, having coffee, talking. When something like that happens, everyone wants to help, so all the guys went to the Twin Towers. It’s our job, to help people and possibly put the fire out. That’s why we were in the stairwell. At one point, I felt like no firefighter should go up there. Not that I was afraid, just that it seemed a little crazy. It’s easy to say now, but you knew something wasn’t right.
The soul survivor from a firehouse helped start a website for his fallen brothers as he tries to recover.
A businessman who helped lead people to safety:
I’ve been given a mission from God. Now I feel like my life has a reason and I have to search until I’m sure what that reason is and carry out whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing. I thought for a while God brought me there because I was able to maintain my composure and lead everyone to the emergency exit. I wondered if one of the people in that office was going to turn out to be important, or maybe a very important person was going to be born from one those people. But now I believe there must be more. I don’t know what it is, but my feeling that there is something more for me to do sits very heavily with me now. If there’s one thing that’s changed about my life, it’s looking for that reason. My wife also believes I was saved for a reason and is keeping her eyes and ears open, searching for the reason.
Yes, the nerves are still raw, the dreams still stark, the questions still large. It was only yesterday.