NY Daily News: Pete Hamill remembers September 11th and details New York's day of loss

September 11th, 2011

9/11: Pete Hamill remembers September 11th and details New York’s day of loss

BY Pete Hamill
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

Originally Published:Sunday, September 11th 2011, 4:00 AM
Updated: Sunday, September 11th 2011, 9:15 AM

Journalists from the Daily News were standing below the twin towers as the planes crashed into the World Trade Center.

David Handschuh/News/KRT

Journalists from the Daily News were standing below the twin towers as the planes crashed into the World Trade Center.

Pete Hamill, author and former Daily News editor-in-chief.

Gino Domenico/AP/AP

Pete Hamill, author and former Daily News editor-in-chief.

1. NOW

We moved up from street level, through chicken wire passageways that smelled of sweat and concrete, passing working men squinting at blueprints, cutting pipe, moving concrete blocks on flatbed hand trucks.

Light bulbs danced on cords, casting uneven light. We heard grinding sounds, hammering, occasional shouts above the din. Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, led our small patrol. All of us wore hardhats. We were in a hardhat world.

Then we moved outside to a terrace that was open to the gray New York morning sky. We could hear falling water, steady and strong, the sound of an unseen falls in a forest. Ahead of us was a parapet, about 4 feet high, its top made of shining dark bronze, most of it on this day covered with taped cardboard. As we approached, the sound of falling water grew more powerful, and in the torn gaps of the covering, we could see names. The names of our dead.

My wife and I looked over the bronze-topped parapet.

I gasped. My wife squeezed my hand. Ward glanced at me, nodded.

Below us, and in front of us, was the Memorial. No photograph, no video clip had prepared us for its power and beauty. There were two square fountains, 176 feet wide on each side, occupying the footprints of the murdered twin towers.

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