It was a beautiful September Morning.
The first embrace of crisp morning air, autumn’s first breaths whisping upon our faces.
The fleeting warmth of the waning summer sun, trailing off in to the shadows of the seasons changing of the guard.
Fire House Kitchens were alive with the smells of coffee, hearty breakfast & the banter of husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, friends & neighbors around the tables.
The gong sounds, chairs, cups slide & thud, heavy foot steps towards the apparatus floor.
Donning St. Florien’s Centurions armor, apparatus doors slam closed.
Diesel engines roar to life, creaking heavy doors ascend, lights flash, sirens scream with urgency.
The wagons charge into the streets, like the bulls of Pamplona an unstoppable force.
Racing to the incident address, tall buildings one and all.
Pandemonium unfolds freely in the streets, fear & Uncertainty.
Explosions, citizens panicking & crying abound, body’s fall to escape certain death.
Smoke billows from high above, plan in hand the men go to work, they climb.
They climb to help their fellow man, some knowing the end is near, still they climb.
The second air liner strikes the other tower, still they climb.
The day tour is here, the pervious night tour is here, the off tours are tricking into the ever unfolding incident, still they climb.
Valor, fortitude, steadfastness are the sentiments of the day, the bitter taste of why, still they climb.
The Towers fall one by one, unbelievable, deafening, a plume of dust engulfs the Island.
There are no words to express the scope of tragedy, loss, sorrow, hopelessness.
Still they climb, sun light peaks trough the dust in places it has not been seen in a hundred years.
Men sit in empty firehouses with phones ringing, unable to answer the questions.
The shoes on the firehouse floors never to be warn again by the names on the riding assignment chalk boards.
The Pentagon, Flight 93, the day unfolds tragedy is afoot a very large serving almost unbearable.
Persevere, we must for those that can not, too little, to feeble, unable to cope we have a moral obligation to carry on for those that willingly gave for us.
I am a little soul; we can carry the deeds of the few for the many onward. Brotherhood survives, still they climb.
They Climbed all & all, for all, on that warm September 11th day.
God’s speed Brothers.
JZL T5 Baltimore City Fire Department, SHCo Division 5 9/11/12
Photography credit Andrea Gunnarson