Sunday, September 11, 2016
Fifteen years ago, I saw this image on the computers of the dot-com where I was working at the time. I knew a dozen people who worked within blocks of the World Trade Center. I called them. I know that when you are inside a disaster, you can lose the larger perspective. I wanted to be just a bit of perspective from outside New York City for Joe Chang, Helga Tilton, Esther D'Amico, Rob Westervelt, Rick Mullin and Andrew Wood among many others. Those I was able to reach reacted like the New York journalists they are, calm and ridiculously confident that all would be well.
In 2009, in Iraq, I spoke about September 11, 2001, and my long road to Iraq from the day Islamic Terrorists attacked America. In Iraq, I spoke about Helga Tilton. She walked home from south of Ground Zero to the northern end of Manhattan in heels. She was born in Germany in 1943 in Frankfurt, one of the most heavily bombed of the Germany cities. Helga grew up in rubble, and now in 2001, at nearly 60 years old in her adopted country of America, she walked through that rubble to go home. Helga died in November of 2007, not long after I re-enlisted. I still wonder if the dust of her birthplace and the dust of Ground Zero contributed to her death.