Bard's Hall: essay / tribute to those who have given their lives for country, Hon Mention
|"That was our third call and it's only 9:30. I haven't 'ad my breakfast or my coffee, so you ladies watch out," said fireman, Bill Walker to the men as they got settled in Engine 42 to head back to the station house.
"Yeah, we heard you like your women with hairy chests and legs. Oh and a big mustache, so watch out Lopez," said fireman, Andy Kaplan. He slapped at the wheel of the big rig.
All the guys laughed. Hemi Lopez smoothed out his mustache and grinned.
"Buncha comedians," said Walker sitting back in his seat.
"Kaplan, go north on any road. One or both of the towers of World Trade Centers were hit by a commercial jet and are burning on the upper floors. I'm still getting in intel," said Lieutenant Henry Abrams with his one hand holding his phone to his ear and his other hand pointing to the right. "We should be getting the call to assist any minute."
"I remember a helicopter hit a building when I was a kid," said Lopez.
"Yeah, my ol' man worked that fire," said Walker. "
"Engine 42, Engine 42. Multi alarm fire with casualties. Both South and North Tower World Trade Center. Both South and North Tower World Trade Center," said the dispatcher. She continued calling ladder companies and other engines one by one.
Kaplan switched on the lights and sirens and turned the fire truck right to head to the financial district.
"Holy mother of God," said Lopez as he crossed himself once the towers were in view. The towers looked like huge smoke stacks exhaling ugly black breaths.
The men of Engine 42 were geared up and ready to go. Precious air was held in tanks hung over their backs. Yellow and white reflective tape encircled their black jackets gray with evidence of prior encounters with danger. Hoses, crowbars and axes rested on their shoulders.
"I jus' heard they're having problems with the elevators so it's gonna be a long climb," said Walker to the group of men standing beside their truck.
"You heard right," said the Lieutenant as he walked up. "We're going in the South Tower up stairwell B in the southwest corner. Up ten floors then stop to rest and rehydrate for no less than three minutes. The captain is on his way. He'll man the radio communication for us.
"Speaking of radios, everyone check theirs?" asked the Lieutenant as he tinkered with his radio.
Everyone responded in the affirmative. Their faces were serious. There were so many lives at stake on the floors above the fires. They looked eager to do their job.
"Good. Stay close and be alert. This could get nasty in a hurry. Head out," said the Lieutenant leading his men into the building.
The ground was littered with glass as all the doors and windows in the lobby were blown outward from the explosion. The fireball of flames sought it's escape downward via the elevator shafts and through the lobby to the world outside of one of New York's vertical cities.
An assortment of injured or confused people hurried passed the firefighters as they moved deeper into the building in which everyone was fleeing.
The Lieutenant stopped inside the door of the stairwell and looked up between the staircases. The beat of feet echoed as they descended from the microcosm in the sky. He checked his watch. 9:55 a.m. He said, "Let's go." The heavy footfall of their boots added to the frantic sound of evacuation.
In memory of the 343 firefighters that gave their lives on the day terrorist attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.
The South Tower collapsed in 12 seconds at 9:58 a.m. followed later by the North Tower and Building 7.
Word count: 629
Bard's Hall Honorable Mention 6/3/16