Sept 2001

April 17th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

11 Sept – Yisgadal

The prayer just ran through my mind as I stood there in the CSM’s office – stunned, watching the television – walking in as they were showing the clip of the second plane turning and piercing the middle of the second tower less than 15 minutes after the impact.

Polly had gotten a call from her husband. It was not a joke.

I lost friends and colleagues today. It may be weeks or months before I know exactly whom. But the Deutsche Bank had 6 floors in the WTC, Alliance also was headquartered there. I have met individuals from both organizations over the last several years.

But it is the Pentagon that strikes to my heart. Looking at the screen, seeing flames and rolling smoke. It simply is not possible, with 20+ years in the service, that everyone that I know survived. DoD is there, civilians, SES, Military that I have worked with over the years. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines – all had offices on one or more floors of that building. OTSG moved back in several years ago. The Pentagon Health clinic – friends working there. In the crash? the flames? the rescue? I will have to wait.

There are heroes that may never be sung – the pilot who took that 747 down out near Pittsburgh – choosing death, knowing what would happen to his passengers – rather than drop that plane into a city center. The fire and police of NYC who responded, some of whom likely lost their lives rescuing those out of the towers when they came down.

We have lost our innocence. We have been talking WMD for years – but we really haven’t believed it. We have been playing NBC because it is sexier than conventional. But people are the weapons, their ability to plan, to carry through. We are no longer safe at home. This operation could have been carried out by 15-20 with skill, some weapons and cell phones for co-ordination. Steal a few uniforms – or even better, get hired on the airport as cleaning personnel with access to planes. Throw in a couple of pilots for the planes you want to use to take out the Pentagon and WTC. Build in some redundancy.

Now in Germany – we are at Threat Con D. Schools will be closed tomorrow – most locations will be buttoned down. The gate are back to being guarded by US military- in full battle rattle with weapons and ammo. So I will walk to work in civilian clothes, carrying my uniform.

But no one is stupid enough to really claim responsibility for this disaster. The western world will have changed. No one is clapping.


Subject: Re: 11 Sept – Yisgadal
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 16:37:55 -0400

I am just recovering from the shock. The last time this happened, I was a 15 year old kid who ran down to the recruiting off ice on that Sunday morning. I feel the same way today. I am sure that this will not be the end of it either.. The death toll from the towers will be astronomical. As of this moment the skys are clear other than some activity over the air base in Tampa. the airport is like a ghost town. there are guards and you better have a real reason to get past them.. I am sure it will be a couple of weeks before we really get any tolls for the center.. What worries me is waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am sure that it will.. Please take care of your self and the family.. All my Love Dad

Tue Sep 11 22:53:12 2001
Subject: Re: 11 Sept – Yisgadal

My God, woman, do you have a way with words. How passionate. We closed classes here, and are closing my library early. The public schools are closing tomorrow, but the University is opening again. Excuse me? Does this make sense? A grad student was on th verge of tears because her best friend worked in the building next to WTC. A close friend of our family has an apartment next door to WTC but works also in London and Tokyo and Chicago. I don’t know where he was today. A student’s mother was this am on her way to a meeting at the WTC. We don’t know if she made it. One of my student workers has a roommate who was crying because her sister was in WTC. The sister of one librarian and friend was actually IN the Pentagon when it was hit. Communications locked down immediately, but she made it to a computer to e-mail out that she was safe. This was as they were trying to get her out of the building. She was there for a conference, just in town for the day, no hotel no where to stay, public transit shut down and she is somewhere on the streets there. So many people we can’t reach and don’t know about.

No lives will be untouched.

Tue Sep 11 22:53:12 2001
Subject: Re: 11 Sept – Yisgadal

It is just too amazing. I’m afraid to call my friends who work in the Pentagon. Let their families have the airwaves. My heart actually feels heavy. I am so glad I am home and not traveling today. It is so sad.

Tue Sep 11 22:53:13 2001
Subject: Re: 11 Sept – Yisgadal
I am currently in Telluride, CO on vacation. My cousin, whose house I am staying in called me from NYC to tell what happened. She was supposed to be here.
SF friends of mine talked about something like this, Tom Clancy wrote a novel about a similar op.
The military was supposed to come up with a JTF to include NG and AR just for this type of occurrence.
Maybe now they’ll get a move on.
All of my family and friends in NYC are accounted for except one. Will just have to wait. Contacted SOCOM and ARPERSCOM awaiting any orders to be placed on AD.

12 Sept 01 – the morning after

Perhaps the reality was just starting to come through. Certainly here in Germany it is TV and CNN, Internet and telephone. But we are not there. We only sit and wait, planning, praying and hoping. Waiting to see what is next, planning what our part might be in any future response. The prayer for many is only for the dead, the families and the survivors. For some of the rest of us, it is for our country and leaders – that they make the right choices and follow justice.

The cry is for vengeance. People are angry and want to strike back. But where – at whom – and at what price.

NATO and EU are also facing the other side of a 50 year alliance. One that was intended to keep Germany free, that no one ever thought could become an Article V action following an attack on the United States. What the reaction will be, when, and how I will not even speculate.

But the planners I am sure are busy. Like before the Gulf War, units are getting ready on the chance that they might be called. The Navy has activated the Comfort ~ 250 ships personnel and ~500 medical types. For training of course, short notice. Affecting the care out of Bethesda Naval.
The Air Force has essentially staged their medical folks out of Wilford Hall. Needless to say Brook Army is a bit busy, having gotten patients both transferred and dumped. And it will stay busy as now the only operating military hospital in San Antonio.

Army Medical is holding in place – trying to get our patients in the gates as all the posts are at Threat Con Delta. Here in Germany, absolutely no question that the way in to work was foot or bike, short lines, minimal waiting. With a car, well – checking the vehicle just takes time. Most patients chose to reschedule rather than face the hassles today.

More critical – the schools are closed and for the foreseeable future. On the German side, there were three bomb threats against German schools here in Heidelberg that I am aware of – Nina and Noah were not all that concerned, and they were able to get back to class rather quickly, Holderlin the same, Helmholtz gave up and sent the students home.

We spent most of the day in meetings. From 0700-1900. Plus the television -I am just overwhelmed.

The out pouring of support from Germans is over whelming. They do understand and are horrified and the first confirmation of German casualties (four so far identified on the high jacked flights). There will be little in the press about the casualties out of the WTC – it is not the practice here to stick microphones in the faces of grieving relatives and names are not released with out family permission.

to sleep, and not to dream


13 Sept 01- memorials

On this side of the ocean, the support continues from our neighbors and allies. I do not think that the US TV has covered the vigil that been in front of the Berlin Embassy since Tues. Young and old, standing, waiting and praying, candles continuously burning. Between 200-400 individuals around the clock, taking this personally. The fence covered with flowers and memorials. The offerings of help from the medical communities, of everything from blood to supplies to personnel should we need them. The offers from firms and individuals for assistance should we need it.

I have received email and phone calls from allied officers with whom I have worked over the last several years. The reaction is uniformly shock, condolences, support. Strangers are stopping many of our people to express their regrets.

There are here, as well, fools and idiots who are calling in bomb threats and other wise disrupting on-going operations. The US schools are still closed. We have moved to Threat Con Charlie. Gates still guarded, clips in pockets. Potential for schools being opened. I do not know that much has changed, but the school considerations are critical.

There are still over 300 Germans who worked in the WTC and surrounding buildings who are as yet unaccounted for. Kathy mentioned that there was a moment of silence across the Bundeswehr at 1000 this morning. Every major city is holding at least one, if not more, memorial service every day. The military chaplains are offering memorial services daily.

The lists of the “not located” out of the Pentagon are starting to grow. Name identifications, initial notifications of next of kin that family members are currently counted among the missing. I almost do not want to look at the list. DSPer Army seems to have been in that section, already I know two off of the short list that I have seen.

George is out at his Stamm Tisch. We have heard from just about all of our German friends over the last several days, checking on us, wanting to know if anything is needed.

Light a candle, say a prayer. For Justice, understanding, for doing what is right.


Fri Sep 14 18:07:51 2001
Subject: RE: 13 Sept 01- memorials

Beautifully reported. We truly have many allies; more importantly, we have
friends and families.

At 06:21 PM 9/13/01 -0700:
Yisgadal? Prayer for the Dead?

Fri, 14 Sep 2001 05:09:20 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: 11 Sept – Yisgadal

yes, Kaddish

“Yitgadal v’yitdakash sh’may raba, b’alma dee v’ra che-rutay v’yamlich
mal’chutay b’cha-yaychon uv’yo-maychon uv’cha-yay d’chol bayt Yisrael,
b’agala uviz’man kariv v’imru: Amen”

“Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the Universe
created from Eternal Will. May the Kingdom be established in your lifetime
and during your days, and within the lifetime of the entire House of
Israel, speedily and soon, and let us say: Amen”

14 Sept 01 – quieter

“In violence we forget who we are.”

A quieter day today. Bits of this and that. Small crises, nothing major, nothing that could not be solved with collecting up information from here or there.

Karin’s son and his friend got in this morning – George got them off the train from Wien via München this morning. Kids hit the shower, got some food and then were glued to the TV for a while. Long while. Hard to catch up with news when you are traveling around via trains and youth hostels. Kathy was in this morning – going through all the files and notebooks that she left me. Makes me feel almost guilty for not getting her the stuff that I have for her completely organized (grin).

Meetings – lots of those, does it not figure?

Atlantic Fleet is out there, Air Force is moving planes, people and supplies around. Army is leaning forward. Memorial services across the country – over 300,000 attending in Berlin alone in and around the main cathedral, flowers and cards at the gates, independent groups organizing fund drives and remembrances.

Took the kids down the hill to services tonight. The military really must have paid for only two chapel designs, and then built them over and over and over. In Heidelberg, the Jewish chapel in the one to the right off the main sanctuary – Würzburg it is the left one. The stained glass Magen David is repaired and mounted up in the corner such that no fool can move it around again. Only a couple of old faces in the crowd, lots of turn over in the last four years. We walked down, and took the kids right back up the hill afterwards.

Working on the house this weekend. Will and Eric cleaned up after dinner last night and want to help. So, for how ever long they stay (and as long as they want is fine) looks like I have box moving and outdoor help!

Now if we could just get the rest of the siebenschläfer out of the wall between the living room and the dining room, I would be really happy.


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