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Listening to 911 Firefighter Tapes
Saturday, September 11, 2021



A decade after 911

I listen


To audio tapes

Of Fire operations

In the South Tower


Take note of

The command structure

Problems to overcome


The development

Of a strategic plan

To make it happen


I hear

The breathless voices

Of firefighters


Who when elevators failed

Climb 78 floors

Carrying their equipment

To locate fire


Which they communicate

They could extinguish

With two additional hose lines


Then a proliferation of requests

A Truck Crew radios

They are trapped in an elevator


Trying to cut

Through the wall

To get out


Another requests

More resources needed

To rescue

Hundreds of people

Whose egress is blocked


And again another

An Engine Co.

Gives notifications


Of injured

And dead



And Firefighters

After a partial collapse

A resolve is heard

In the voices

To continue the mission


Fulfill the tasks

Rescue people

Put out the fire


The assurance

It would be done



Press on


The inner conversation


Of weary feet

Exhausted bodies



The realization

This is not routine

But epic


Time to fulfill the oath taken

To serve

Sacrifice your life

To save another


A silent prayer is said

Even by the non-religious

For strength




The ability

To finish the job

Return to the station

To home


To wives


To loved ones


The tape ends

With the roar

Of Collapse


And the silent voices

Of my Brothers and Sisters


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