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

 << Back to Day 15, Rhode Is.

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

OEM: The Final Acronym
It was late afternoon on Tuesday when the OEM moved in to take over. We had just finished a meeting that had lasted for three hours in which we outlined an entire chain of command and organizational structure for the supply stations. It was a mind numbing meeting trying to get through all of the particulars of what needed to be done and who was going to do deal with each item. It was also strange to be in the meeting knowing that there were people back at the booths who would be pissed off at you when you told them what had happened at the meeting and you were now the official in charge of that area. It was going to be a very, very difficult day to get through but at least there was the hope of organization once the egos were dealt with.

Our job was to return to the Flea Market and try to spread the word of the meeting and the chain of command. This alone was a huge task because during the three hours we were gone, the key players at the Market had once again changed. As we were preparing to deal with this, another rumour hit us. The Office of Emergency Management were moving in and consolidating the supply areas. We had heard this rumour before so we didn't listen very closely until about 6 trucks started appearing from nowhere and carting things away. A lot of men in white shirts started ordering men around and it became very obvious that OEM was in fact taking charge.

It's hard to understand the feeling of relief that washed over both of us at that point. Not a single volunteer was trained for emergency management - we were all just doing what we felt was best. So to see the officers and the trucks arriving to take over was a great relief. It was the first sense of peace we had had since arriving. About 6 volunteers just grabbed a Gatorade and for the first time, we all sat down together and talked. We weren't angry, we weren't asked to leave, and we didn't fight them. We just accepted that the people who knew what they were doing had finally arrived.

It was then that Kevin and I decided to leave. We spent an hour saying goodbye to fellow volunteers. We also decided to see the pit one last time. If ever the army were going to catch us for being unauthorized and escort us out, this would be the time. But that didn't happen. We walked around the pit and said our goodbyes to the devastation. We hugged a few firefighters for the last time and then simply walked up to the police boat on the water and asked for a ride across the Hudson back to Jersey City.

They were more than happy to do so, but we had to tag along while they dropped of some men at the Javitz Centre. It was our first ride up the coast of Manhattan. One thing that Kevin commented on was how nice it was to ride in a boat that wasn't "childproof". There were only a couple of guardrails on either side, but the small boat was obviously meant for speed, not safety. I found his comments kind of funny after having spent six days at the pit.

Current Location
Hangin' with Hodge on the Hudson

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© 2001. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman.