A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

World Trade Center Tales - Ten Years After

Jack Kemp

In researching a possible second 9/11 movie, and coming up on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I read some interesting and informative accounts of what happened. I am reluctant to go into a lot of facts and stories that are more technical, but I felt compelled to mention two dramatic tales.

The Phantom Phone Calls

Days after the Twin Towers fell, relatives of victims were getting phone calls from loved ones saying they were alive. One teenage girl contacted the NY Port Authority Police requesting that they go to a site of a bar and breakfast food stand in the underground mall where her father said he was located. Unknown to both the girl - and the Port Authority Police at the time - is that the flood of cell phone calls going both into and out of the Twin Towers on the morning of 9/11 resulted in an overload that got the calls transferred to computer storage at the cell phone company. Over the course of days, the backed up calls were parceled out to a diminished capacity system. The teenage girl had, in fact, gotten a two day old phone call from a father who was probably deceased.

The Port Authority Police, familiar with the shops underneath the entire Trade Center, climbed down into the area with high powered flashlights, over jagged metal and near openings that could lead to a four story drop. They found the breakfast stand in the bar in fine condition, its bottles covered with thick dust but unbroken - yet there were no people in the place. This is the result of a phenomenon of physics called a "shock cocoon" where some areas are relatively untouched by great force. This is why we have skeletons - and wine bottles - found at Pompei after the Mt. Vesuvius volcano exploded in 79 A.D. Had the girl's father stayed in the bar, he may well have survived 9/11. But now the Police couldn't make that happy call and had to tell her they couldn't find him.

Before leaving, the Port Authority Police decided that the rows of dust covered but intact liquor bottles behind the bar were too tempting an invitation for recovery workers to get drunk in a very dangerous underground place full of sharp metal and open voids. They started smashing the bottles against a far wall. The more they smashed, the more they let out their frustrations over what they had seen those two days and what they'd soon have to tell the teenage girl on the phone.

King Solomon's Decision at Ground Zero

At one point, the night commander of the Port Authority Police, Lt. William Keegan, Jr., was forced to make a decision for real that King Solomon only "made" as a bluff when he decreed that a live baby should be cut in two to "satisfy" two competing women's claim of motherhood.

Rescue workers had found the bodies of two Port Authority Police Officers wedged near the surface with a dangerous steel beam overhang that had to be quickly removed. It looked like there was no other way to get the bodies out but to cut off their lower halves, leaving the grieving families without even a head and chest to view in a coffin at their funerals. Reluctantly, Lt. Keegan was forced to agree that if there was no other way, he would agree to the cutting.

But two volunteer rescue teams working seperately on the two bodies, were able to dislodge them whole from the rubble. The teams were volunteers from San Diego and Miami, each one having a surgeon as a member. Covered with blood from incisions made to release bloating, the surgeons' hard work was able to avoid a real Wisdom-of-Solomon-type decree from becoming a horrid reality.

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