Driven, committed, anxious, angry, frustrated, controlling, guilty, traumatized, haunted by flashbacks: my life is out of control. This new lifestyle of mine has drained my soul, altered the person I was over the last two and a half decades. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
Since the fall of 2001, I have not slept through the night, relentlessly haunted by thoughts of the biggest tragedy this country has ever witnessed. Tossing and turning, cold sweats, and insomnia have become a nightly ritual because of an event that was beyond my control. Visions of the dead, burning rescue vehicles colossal in size, fire trucks with a gross vehicle weight of over 35,000 pounds, crushed like a soda can that has been compacted by a stomping foot. Remnants of bodies scattered as if discarded by a person who has carelessly littered the streets with trash. Human beings pushed to the point of making a choice: get burned by fire, suffocate by thick black smoke, or plunge over 1,000 feet to their death. Massive fires began to consume surrounding buildings room by room, floor by floor.
These buildings, which once stood one hundred stories tall, were reduced to sixty-foot high piles of rubble and debris. They no longer served the purpose of conducting business or as a symbol of greatness or the city, but as a crushing tomb that claimed the lives of thousands.
A tremendous feeling of helplessness started to overcome my body. I started to experience tunnel vision, everything around me was moving in slow motion. Voices were muffled, not understandable to me. How can this be happening? Where is Michael? Has anyone seen Engine 28 Ladder 11? My life at this moment, that very day, collapsed with the same crippling force as did those buildings.