The GWOT from a 911 survivor’s point of view:
Courtesy post of DC’s comment


This isn’t Bush’s war. It’s America’s war. Bush will be gone in a few months. It’s America and our way of life that is on the line here. Not Bush. He’ll go on to be Bush the private citizen after this. But, if you want to know what is at stake in this war….regardless of how you feel about Iraq or any other action taken by this president…..take a look across your dinner table at your family. Look at your neighbor…your friends. Everything that you hold dear…is at stake in this war.

FA reader, DC

I was catching up on some threads a few minutes ago, and caught both Missy and Wordsmith’s responses to commenter, DC, on the “Bush link to Saddam to 911” thread.

DC shared his survival of that day with us. I was as awed and humbled by DC’s story, as Missy and Wordsmith. And all of us agree… this is worthy of a post all to itself.

So, DC, if you don’t mind, I am posting here as it’s own story…

There are many things about that day (9/11) that the general public doesn’t know.
For example: many of us thought there were “3” attacks (not 2)

After the 1st collapse, visibility south of the area was lousy. The sky was entirely blocked out. Visibility was very low. At one point, I was crawling on my hands and knees trying to help an elderly woman climb over construction and power generators on the west side of the building as the aftermath of the first collapse raged around us. (like being in a hurricane of debris and dust) At that point, we knew it was “planes” that had hit the buildings and that we were under attack.

Here’s the point…..we could not see…but we could “hear” jets going super sonic over us. We thought it was more rogue planes. (it was only later, that I found out that they were in fact “our” planes) And as we shuffled along towards the brooklyn bridge…some people were praying…and everytime a plane would go over…people would start to moan, shuffle a little faster…and people just tried to stay calm and keep moving. There were “thousands’ of people. Shoulder to shoulder. We were using our shirts, whatever, to try and breath.

Every now and again…another plane…moans, a scream…and people would calmly press forward and say keep moving, keep moving. There were woman, children, injured, elderly, ….and we all pressed on. Some helping others, some carrying others, some just left by the wayside, who had abandoned all hope. Then came a quick Swwwossssshhhh….BOOM and a huge rumble/explosion. (it was the 2nd collapse, but we thought it was another plane (a 3rd) landing close by).

A blinding rush of debris/dust came rolling up the foot of the brooklyn bridge, onto the bridge. People disappeared in the cloud right in front of us…and you could hear screams. Then…some started jumping off the bridge ramps. People panic’d and rushed back down the bridge ramp…and others tried to stop them. The family in front of me..eyes wide….started to run back….realizing we could not go back…then tried to go forward, realizing they couldn’t go forward…then jumped off the side of the bridge ramp down to the street. All of them. Baby included. (it’s about 15-20 feet).

I had to stop and get my self straight. I held my head with my hands to try and drown out the screams…and I started shaking. I knew I could not go back. And I knew it was only getting worse…so I pulled my shirt over my face…and held my breath…and started pushing forward as fast as I could.

When I entered the debris….I started stripping over stuff I couldn’t see. My hand came off my face. And the dust blinded me. I reached out with my hand and I could hear people around me….but I couldn’t see them. And I kept walking. I ran into a car or something on the bridge. I could not really even see it. I felt around it and kept walking.

By this time, my lungs were about to explode, I let the air out and I took a quick shallow breath which was so acrid…I immediately began coughing. And the more I coughed, the worse it got. I fell down on my knees…I was right next to the railing. And I heard another plane. I thought about jumping. And then my lungs were in full panic mode.

There is this moment of great clarity. It’s like the difference between “thinking” you’ve locked your keys in your car….and looking through the window to see them dangling there. That was the feeling. A sinking feeling, where the possibilities for other outcomes run out. I knew I was going to die. And my mind raced with thoughts….what about my wife, what about the bills, what about..etc..and they quickly left because you realize…ain’t crap you can do about it now. And although I was very scared, and panicked….I kind of knew…it was going to be ok. That people I loved…”knew” I loved them. Thats all that really mattered at that moment…that I was not leaving the world with things unsaid to the people I love. I was just going to try and make it as far as I could.

But, it wasn’t that long..the air started to dissipate…clear. The smoke got thinner. The air got clearer. Although my eyes were crusted and watering…I could see. I was still coughing but it was easing. The screams were becoming muted behind me and seemed far off. And I “knew” I was going to make it. I stopped, next to an old woman gasping for air…in what was left of her tattered dress. And we watched people come out of that fog as we caught our breath.

Out of the fog…very calmly, walks this wall streeter. His suit, torn and burned off. Some of it stuck to his burned skin. His scalp was laid open…sticking up. Blood from his nose. He was carrying only the handle and what was left of the top of his brief case. Like he was going to work.

The woman and I just shock as he teetered down to the bottom where a temp aide station had been setup…and they rushed out to get him. I walked into a deli on Atlantic Ave to get some water. There were 2 ME men, celebrating, laughing as they watched the planes on a small tV flying into the buildings over and over. The entire scene was so out of place I could not even take it in. My brain was shutting down.

I struggled to get a bottle of water, and just started to walk out and one of them said something. I realized I had not paid for the water and he was asking for a dollar. I reached in my pocket…and it was full of glass/debris and dust and wadded up bills. I piled the entire thing up on his counter and left. I have no idea how much was in there. But, I was going into shock and my systems were shutting down and it was getting harder and harder to think and I knew I had to try and get somewhere.

I walked 7 miles to a friends house which was the only thing I could force my mind to remember or remember the way to get there from where I was. It was there, that I pulled pieces of what used to be a human being out of my hair in the shower. They say I slept for almost 2 days, then just sat in the back garden and stared…drinking large amounts of alc.

I still have bouts of PTSD. I still have trouble with some things. But, one thing I “don’t” have trouble with…is understanding what that day meant and what kind of a war we are in, and that it goes FAR beyond “Al Queda” in caves in Aghanistan and Pakistan or a few dozen disgruntled well to do saudis kids attending college in Europe. I knew it was far beyond a logistical/tactical military campaign. It was more the realization that EVEN my own damn neighbors…had been part of this, supported this, gave money to this, recruited and even trained for this….offered logistical support to them, etc. People who lived “here”. How were we going to change that? How were we going to fight that without loosing who we are and what we are as Americans?

Regardless of what anyone believes…what has happened in Iraq….is what needed to happen to change this dynamic. Even as we fought in Afghanistan….people STILL held up Osama as a hero and supported his call and cause. Now, because of Iraq and what they have done there…people are rejecting them and their ideology and beliefs.

They reject it also because they have in front of them a future that they concluded would never exist for the majority of people who live there (courtesy of OIF and our coaltion partners thank you very much) and have watched AlQueda, and others try and dismantle and destroy any semblance of hope for that and to try and replace that with ethnic cleansing and holy war to divide everyone along those lines. They reject it because it has been exposed for what it truly is and what it stands for…despite their “glorious” propaganda they can use knowing us so well…and with help from people like Adam Gadhan (may he rot in hell).

I’ve always understood, since 9/11, that this was a “war” and that Iraq was a 2nd front in a larger war. It took Iraq, and a bunch of very, VERY brave young men and women who have sacrificed enormously….while we play dressup and pretend we live in repression at home (if real dictators were only as easy to get rid of) to get to the very heart of this, expose AlQueda and groups like them and slowly begin to turn this around.

This isn’t Bush’s war. It’s America’s war. Bush will be gone in a few months. It’s America and our way of life that is on the line here. Not Bush. He’ll go on to be Bush the private citizen after this. But, if you want to know what is at stake in this war….regardless of how you feel about Iraq or any other action taken by this president…..take a look across your dinner table at your family. Look at your neighbor…your friends. Everything that you hold dear…is at stake in this war.

You may not know it. You may not feel it like some other families do who have people right now with their lives on the line in this war. But, you ARE part of it and your life “is” on the line every single day. Even if all you do is just show up for work one bright sunny Sept morning.

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I don’t mind.

There are many, many thousands of stories to be told about that day that may never be told.

This GWOT is only a small battle that has been going on for a long time. Ever since Islam has left the Arabian Penninsula, it has been mostly spread by the sword.
I wrote a post about it on Sept. 12 Jan Sobieski Day. It was on that day that the Pole Jan Sobieski saved Vienna from the invading Turks. One of many battles between the West and Islam.

Spain at one time was overtook by the Islamists, and North Africa was Christian before the Islamists conquered it. Most of Eastern Europe had been invaded and we hear stories of Vlad the Impaler, the saviour of Transylvania.

This is not Bush’s war or even a US War. It is a long war between the West (mostly Christian) vs the Islamists that want to take over the world in the name Allah.

Thanks for including that even larger perspective stix. The “West”, long gave up it’s Christian Crusades and became more secular and diverse in gov. In that sense, the Islamists are fighting a battle against a “West”/enemy/identity that no longer exists.

Great writing Dc. I’m glad to see someone who “gets it”.

In a lot of ways you that is true. And that is the reason Europe is more or less Eurabia now.

Great story you wrote and I am glad that you made it out in one piece.

Thanks for this account…….Dc, I am so sorry for what you went through.
This personal, moment by moment account of the horrors (who knew that each plane over head was thought to be more attacks at the time? And how could it not have been perceived that way?) REALLY REALLY ‘brought it home’, as if most of us needed it? I see that I did.
The image of that Wall St type hanging on to his briefcase handle, suit burned to him, haunts me and probably always will. How the heck can YOU not have some post traumatic stress syndrome yourself, Dc?
You people who saw what you had to see and felt the fear you had to feel are unsung heroes, in my eyes.
The very thought of those MEers cheering is so hard to consider. I lived in Paris, France when this happened and the neighbors on the same floor across the street were rich Arabs……they had a party, holding the door open as men arrived (no women) and pointing to the television as if to say “How’s THAT!?” Slapping each other on the back! Do you know, I swear that I went through every single TV channel in Paris hoping there was an outstanding soccer game going on, hoping that’s what they were going on and on about? But, alas. Then, I knew.
God bless you…..I’d be an alcoholic if I went through what you went through!!!


That’s the moment that I “knew” this was going to be a different kind of war.

STIX 1972, said: “It is a long war between the West (mostly Christian) vs the Islamists that want to take over the world in the name Allah.”

DC, replied: “Islamists are fighting a battle against a “West”/enemy/identity that no longer exists.”

I WOULD say: It is a war between Civilisation and Barbarism.

Atleast we get to see the other side of the story. Are you a part of some International Air Ambulance Service? Just asking.