six days at ground zero
sept 13 - 19, 2001
the trip so far...     contact kevin & aimee

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Sept 11, 2001
The Pier
The Early Volunteers
Crossing the Hudson
First Sight
The Observation Room
Change of Priorities
The Scariest Night
Avoiding Detection
Selected Stories from GZ
Spirit of New York
More Stories from GZ
The OEM Arrives
The People
Back To The Real World
Thank You, To Everyone

Chronicle Journal, Sept 13
Personal Journal Documents Days Events

Chronicle Journal, Sept 17
Lakehead Grads in on Intense Volunteer Support Effort

NY Daily News, Sept 17
Camping at Ground Zero

Chronicle Journal, Sept 20
Hope, Horror Clearly Visible in New York

Welcome Home
It didn't really hit us until we were there, in Union City, New Jersey, and saw the new skyline for the first time. We drove up to our old neighbourhood and stopped at the small park next to the Boxing Club, a happy place to sit and look at the city. There was still a huge cloud of smoke and dust and debris down at the south end, but it was clear that something was missing. Something should have been there, something other than sky and smoke. They really were gone. We held each other and cried.

Joey was home. Joey lives in Apartment 17 of our old building. He's a great guy to ride the bus with, always animated, always emotional, always has a funny story. The curtains were drawn, all his lights were off. He didn't look well.

He had been woken up by the sound of the first plane hitting the North tower, and ran outside to see what had happened. When the second plane hit, he was still watching from his balcony. He had known there was going to be a second plane. He knew the first was no accident.

He was screaming when they fell. The Twin Towers were his favourite buildings in the city. In grade school he'd done a project on them, covering everything from office space to sewage production. He used to go down to Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken for the great view of the south end of the city across the Hudson River. But he watched them collapse from his apartment balcony, his favourite buildings, an anchor on the New York skyline, clear as day.

And since then, he hadn't left his apartment in two days. He locked himself in, closed the curtains, turned off the TV and the Internet, and other than a few phone calls from his mother, had cut himself off. Our visit was the first he had had in over 48 hours.

We gave him someone to talk to, made sure he was alright, and gave him the best advice we could: get out. Get out of your house, get away from the only view you've had when you look out of your balcony. Take a walk, or better yet, go see a movie. Escape for two hours. We phoned the local theatre, the Summit Quad. It's one of those crummy little local theatres, four-dollar admission, bad sound, but it's something other than ABC news where all they were showing was the plane crash and the collapse, over and over again.

As far as we could see, there are only two ways to overcome something like this: The first was to get away from it, like to see a movie, and the other was to do what you could to help. We told him we were on our way to 70 Hudson St., the Jersey pier that was dispatching food and supplies to the workers. We wanted to feel like we did something at the very least, even if it was just lifting a bag of ice or a box of coffee and putting it on the boat. He didn't feel that he would be up for that.

If we couldn't help there, we told him, we'd be back for him to go to the movie. After all, if we couldn't help the relief effort directly, the least we could do is help one person. We said goodbye, told him to take care and said we'd probably be back in an hour or so.

We headed down to the pier in Jersey City.

Current Location
Union City, NJ

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© 2001. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman.