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Memorial Day – 9/11 Casualties Remembered

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The following is an edited excerpt from my book 9/11 Debris: An Investigation of Ground Zero. Read the full chapter “Bodies” to see more images and links. To see more personal 9/11 Memorial links, go to the NY Times site or the 9/11 Memorial site.

Almost all the 9/11 victims
Nearly all the 9/11 victims. Source: Wikipedia

“[T]he mayor has acknowledged that specialists have told him that because of the great force of the collapse, many if not most of the bodies at Ground Zero have been disintegrated, or atomized. Certainly, every firefighter who has been at the site knows that there is not a piece of glass or marble to be seen anywhere, not a desk, a sink, or a doorknob. It is the virtually indestructible bunker clothes of the firefighters that have preserved their remains…. Of the 542 confirmed deaths at the World Trade Center, about 100 have been firefighters.”
– Dennis Smith, Report from Ground Zero, p. 341. From his entry on Nov. 2.

Immediately, to try to mathematically quantify the scale of the attack in the face of such crippling emotion, the possible number of victims became a crucial topic. Such should always be the case in mass-casualty events. On 9/11 a popular TV news comment was that about 50,000 people worked in the two towers. At 8:46 a.m. the number was 14,154 according to Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn, 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive inside the Twin Towers, Times Books, New York, 2005, p. 2.

Early reports (as late as Sept. 21) overestimated the number of casualties as much as two times the actual final number. The highest reported number was “6,453 two weeks after the attacks.” (Dennis Cauchon, “Not Found or Not Existing: 40 Names To Leave WTC Death Toll,” USA Today, Oct. 29, 2003. See also Jennifer Steinhauer, “Giuliani Reports Sharp Increase in the Number of Those Listed as Missing,” New York Times, Sept. 21, 2001.)

This was due in part to mistaken missing persons reports, name duplication, and fraud. “It will ultimately take old-fashioned police work to arrive at as near to a definitive number as possible, by sending detectives to interview next of kin, and rooting out mistakes and possible frauds.” (Dennis Smith, Ibid., p. 328) In his October 24 entry, Smith notes that the New York Times “unofficial tally of the missing and dead at Ground Zero, including the passengers on the two planes, [came] to about 2,950. This figure is 1,657 less than the number of victims that had been reported in the previous day’s official tally.” (p. 327) Yet he reports a larger figure the next day, from an undisclosed source – 3,958 missing, and 506 confirmed dead. (p. 329)

In 2003 the City of New York reduced the death toll by 40 (from 2,792 to 2,752), due to fraudulent claims. (“New York Reduces 9/11 Death Toll by 40,” CNN.com, Oct. 29, 2003; also Dennis Cauchon, Ibid., Oct. 29, 2003.) One example was a man claiming one of his children had gone to a fateful job interview in the trade center. Cyril Kendall was convicted of this crime, since he had received $190,000 from the Red Cross and Safe Horizon after the lie. (CNN.com, Ibid.) A similar tale came from “Tania Head” (actually Alicia), who took no money, but instead told her fantastic lie for fame and attention.

[editorial] If there were an ulterior political motive for the early, exaggerated victim numbers – say for example oil and gas in Afghanistan and Iraq by way of public outrage and support for war to increase military spending… or to go to Afghanistan and revitalize the recently Taliban-destroyed poppy crop and, thereby surreptitiously gain hold of 80% of the world heroin market (Robert Steele, “CIA Clandestine Officer” in short documentary video ) – exaggerations weren’t needed. As the mayor poignantly said, whatever the losses were, it was “more than any of us can bear.” (“It’s More Than Any of Us Can Bear,” CBS News, Sept. 2001.) Regarding motives, consider V.P. Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense and former CEO of Defense Dept. and oil rig construction contractor corporation Halliburton. He resigned from the position claiming that “removed any conflict of interest.” {Wikipedia} See how his stock soared in the following years of war in Iraq. Also, Dick has insisted upon having Secret Service protection extended beyond traditional limits. (James Gordon Meek and Thomas M. Defrank, “President Barack Obama Authorizes Extended Secret Service Guard for Former VP Dick Cheney,” nydailynews.com, July 21, 2009.) Scared, Dick? [/editorial]

A total of 2,753 human beings were killed as a direct result of the attacks on the towers, including the 147 victims in the two planes according to CNN in 2009 and Wikipedia Jan. 2011 (not including terrorists). As of April 30, 2004 per the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City (OCME), of the AA Flight 11 total 87 dead (not including 5 terrorists), 52 were ID’d, 45 of those by DNA. UA Flight 175: 60 died (not including 5 terrorists), 27 ID’d, 26 by DNA. (Robert C. Shaler, Who They Were – Inside the World Trade Center DNA Story: The Unprecedented Effort To Identify the Missing, Free Press, 2005, p. 302) One gem of investigative journalism said, “USA TODAY documented 1,434 who died in the north tower vs. 599 in the south tower. (Locations could not be determined for 147 of the building occupants.)” (Dennis Cauchon, “For many on Sept. 11, survival was no accident,” USA TODAY, 12/20/2001.)

As of June 2005 there were 19,915 remains recovered, with 1,591 out of 2,749 victims ID’d (1,294 of which were DNA ID’s, 822 of those times DNA was the only method of ID. [Shaler, Ibid., p. 320]) – numbers per Charles “Chuck” Hirsch, Chief Medical Examiner, the man “ultimately responsible for identifying those who died at the World Trade Center and for returning their remains to the families.” (p. 340)

2,749 was the number of Death Certificates issued (stats as of 2004). Of those, 399 were issued with physical remains. 1,186 were death by Judicial Decree only. In 1,161 cases, identified remains were returned to families after the Judicial Decree. Recent news reported a new DNA identification June 2013, making the total known dead 1,636 (59% identified). The next month another ID was made on retested DNA. May they rest in peace.

The WTC dust will have killed many more before it’s all over. That is why Felicia Dunn-Jones (dead Feb. 10, 2002) was added to the list of victims in 2007, bringing the total to 2,750. (Anthony DePalma, “For the First Time, New York Links a Death to 9/11 Dust,” New York Times, May 24, 2007.) Later the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund – (FYI, quoting a 2011 Associated Press article “Congress created a $2.78 billion fund late last year to compensate people who might have been sickened by exposure to trade center dust and ash and set aside $1.5 billion to fund health programs for rescue and cleanup workers.” [AP, Ibid.]) – Considering Felicia’s case, the Fund agreed that “the disease was linked to the dust and awarded the family $2.6 million.” For a while in 2004 Hirsch said that conclusion lacked proof, since he thought some disease was already present in Felicia. In 2007 he changed his mind – and the Death Certificate – to say homicide. (AP, Ibid.)

July 10, 2008 another certificate was issued (not because of dust) for a man last seen Sept. 10, a doctor who had been added to the list of 9/11 dead at first, then removed in 2004 due to insufficient scientific proof. (AP, July 10, 2008)

Sept. 11, 2009, a 2,752nd name was read for the first time at the ceremonial 9/11 anniversary Ground Zero/Memorial name reading – Leon Heyward (mispronounced “Lennon” actually) (Lisa Foderaro, “9/11’s Litany of Loss, Joined by Another Name,” New York Times, Sept. 11, 2009.) Then July 17, 2011, victim 2,753 was added, the 3rd to list WTC dust as the murder weapon. See the chapter Dust, below.
Among the list from the World Trade Center were 658 from the firm Cantor Fitzgerald (all trapped above the impact of the first plane), 343 from the Fire Department, 37 Port Authority Police Department officers, and 23 from the New York City Police Dept.

The FDNY family loss was most tragic, considering “About 6 firefighters die in the line of duty annually, which would mean 228 had been killed since I [Dennis Smith] became a firefighter in 1963.” (Smith, Ibid., p. 292.) The 343 included “46 lieutenants, 21 captains, and 23 chiefs, including the chief of department and the first deputy fire commissioner, 1 fire marshal, 2 paramedics, and 1 chaplain.” (Ibid., p. 193.) Rev. Mychal Judge, seen being carried out of WTC 1 after Tower 2’s collapse in the Naudet film as well as a famous photo, was listed as case DM-01-00001 at the Medical Examiner’s Office, for the Disaster in Manhattan, in ’01. (Dan Barry, “At Morgue, Ceaselessly Sifting 9/11 Traces,” New York Times, July 14, 2002. See also Robert Shaler, p. 14.)

Thanks to their protective and distinctive clothing, nearly all of the firefighters remains were recovered and identified. Rick Hampson and Martha T. Moore list three families still waiting for remains in “Closure from 9/11 Elusive for Many,” USA Today online, Sept. 4, 2003.) A fireman not listed there was ID’d as recently as July 2013, when his remains were retested using updated technology and matched to those of firefighter Jeffrey Walz. See the news announcement. In April 2013 we read: “Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son, Christian, is among the more than 1,100 victims whose remains were never found, said it’s proof the city gave up the search too soon,” when a 9/11 plane part was found blocks from GZ. (Vera Chinese and Corky Siemaszko, “9/11 mom angered after Boeing confirms wreckage found near ‘Ground Zero mosque’ is from one of planes that brought down Twin Towers,” nydailynews.com Apr. 29, 2013)

According to the Dennis Smith quote from November 2, more than 200 of the recoveries occurred after the 2 month mark. This fact goes far in describing the painstaking effort given to the search for human remains, in perhaps the most dangerous work site ever… for some physical symbol – no matter how small – to lay to rest in a proper burial. One WTC widow called this a basic human need, … to escape what another widow called “the ‘vanish factor:’ not having anything tangible on which to focus the last goodbyes.” (Eric Lipton and James Glanz, “DNA Science Pushed to the Limit In Identifying the Dead of Sept. 11,” New York Times, Apr. 22, 2002.) Dennis Smith noted that a large portion of firefighters’ families were Catholic, “and the Catholic Church will not provide a funeral mass without a body or a body part.” (Smith, Ibid., p. 306.) For this reason many of the 5 or so daily services for fallen FDNY in October and November were called “memorials.”

“Michael Ragusa, is the only New York firefighter of the 343 killed that day who has not had a funeral or memorial service. His mother has said for nearly two years that there could be no funeral without something to bury.” (Rick Hampson and Martha T. Moore, 2003, Ibid.) The same article says she “reached a bitter conclusion about her son: ‘He was incinerated.’”

TOM BEARDEN: ‘Of the 2,823 people who lost their lives at the site, 1,796 have never been accounted for. Even though recovery at the site has now concluded, officials plan to continue sifting through debris that has been shipped to a landfill, hoping to identify additional remains through DNA testing. Monica Iken’s husband, Michael, is one of the missing. He was a bond trader on the 84th floor of tower two.’
MONICA IKEN: ‘It’s very difficult for me right now, because I don’t have any remains, and I had hoped that I would get something back even if it was bone fragment, just to know that he didn’t go ‘poof’ one day. You know, he got up and went to work and went ‘poof.’ Where is he? And the… it just brings me back to 9/11. It makes me realize that he’s not coming home. 9/11, I knew he wasn’t coming home, and now he’s really not coming home.’” – PBS “Newshour” May 30, 2002 (The “last” day of work at the site.)

About 11:30 p.m. on December 11, 2001 Brendan Ielpi (Ladder 157, FDNY) got the urge to drive to Great Neck and visit his dad’s house. His dad Lee Ielpi was Special Operations Company Rescue 2, FDNY, and Chief of Dept. at Great Neck Vigilant Fire Department. Comforting his dad would help him, too, after the loss of his older brother Jonathan (FDNY Squad 288). Lee Ielpi had searched the pit countless hours for his son Jon, all the while recovering other firemen and civilians, but personally to no avail. When Brendan got to the house, Lee wondered how he knew to come over, because Lee just minutes before had got the phone call – that they had found Jonathan at Ground Zero. So they went down there. Brendan recalls:

All the guys were lined up already, like they do for every guy. They line all the guys up and they salute them, when they bring the body up. And when we walked down they saluted my father on the way down. That was something that touched me. I know it touched him. I’ve never seen that down there before, how they saluted him on the way down. When we got down there, and he was in the Stokes [stretcher], he had the flag on him, covered up already. – See the smile on my dad’s face – he got on his knee and patted him on the back and said ‘We gotcha buddy. We got ya.’ And to smile for something that – that horrible…. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense – that was, probably the greatest day of my life, being able to carry him up the hill.” – “Report from Ground Zero,” based on the book by Dennis Smith, a film by Greengrass Productions, 2002. The story above is told at about 1:26:00

Small posters of missing loved ones line NYC streets.

MISSING

In the days after 9/11, hundreds of worried family members wandered the city visiting hospitals, carrying pictures of their loved ones. Desperate 8 ½ by 11-inch posters soon painted the city with grief. To accommodate the bereaved crowds, a Family Assistance Center was set up September 17th at Pier 94, where victims brought DNA-laced items like razors and toothbrushes, along with dental records (Martin Mbugua and Dave Goldiner, “Grieving Kin Continue to Wait for Word of Missing,” nydailynews.com, Sept. 18, 2001). Earlier, on Wednesday September 12th, “a temporary collection spot” was set up at New York University Medical School (NYU Medical Center next to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York [OCME] headquarters building). (Robert C. Shaler, Who They Were.., Ibid., 2005, pp. 52, 144.) “Then at an armory on 26th Street, and finally at Pier 94 on the west side of Manhattan.” (Shaler, Ibid., p. 144) On 9/13 Police “wrested control of the entire Family Assistance Center operation” (p. 54) away from OCME, who feared NYPD wasn’t qualified. More specifically “the New York City Police Department’s procedures were the genesis of a nightmare.” (Ibid., p. 52) Errors would occur.

“Grieving family members were filling out a seven-page questionnaire by hand and supplying a photograph of a missing person.” (Ibid., p. 52) This Victim Identification Profile questionnaire was designed by Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, DMORT (p. 144), “a group funded by FEMA” (p. 35) who worked in the OCME lab “for two twelve-hour shifts each day,” and were “terrific.” DMORT stayed until May 2002. (p. 36) Tattoos, jewelry, X-rays… any and all info could be cross checked during the identification process.

The methods of NYPD data management early in the effort left Shaler and crew wanting (pp. 52-55), with nothing being tracked electronically. “Some samples were not labeled properly and thus could not be used.” (p. 187) The DNA lab scientists had many concerns with computer software (pp. 110, 116, 120, 183, etc.) for comparing various data sets – some then on paper that needed to be entered by human hands on keyboards, as well as some data from different types of DNA tests, because with the badly decomposed DNA, one test often wasn’t enough to satisfy the recommended statistical probability to officially make an ID (See a few paragraphs below, KADAP).

All of this work of course transpired for the families, many of whom needed a detailed explanation of the ID process, or just more assurance. Shaler helped them directly face to face when the NYPD or DMORT struggled. Many families were frustrated, mostly from rumors or “misinformation from the print and broadcast media.” (p. 141) Between the OEM, the DDC, and the Mayor’s office, those supposedly managing the operation could not help. Some families only asked why hadn’t their loved one been found? Could they be lost at Fresh Kills, to the birds? (This fear was expressed to Shaler by victim’s families. [p. 141])

It was a cold fact that there were very few “whole” bodies found – 293 total. (p. 320)
According to the Medical Examiner’s Office July 26, 2004, there were 526 IDs by dental X-rays. It’s best we don’t know how many heads were recovered with the teeth. Note 98 times the dental ID was the only method, plus 428 ID’d also by other “multiple modalities” such as DNA (single modality: 822; DNA with multiple: 472). There were at least 268 fingers, who knows how many attached to hands and arms, used to obtain that many fingerprint IDs. (single modality: 52; with multiple: 216) Tattoos were used to ID six times alone. (p. 320)

No DNA identifications had been made until October 19, the “first real match.” (p. 123) By Oct. 31 there had been 10 DNA identifications of the 193 total ID’d, the 8,655 remains recovered, and 3,354 personal effects (razors, tooth/hairbrushes of the deceased) at the NY State Police. (p. 112) By Nov. 30: 55 DNA IDs, 10,055 remains received; 3,429 personal effects at the police. (p. 136) By Dec. 31: 99 DNA IDs; 12,360 remains recovered. Jan. 31, 2002: 666 Missing ID’d and 132 DNA IDs. By Feb. 25: 741 Missing ID’d and 146 DNA Ids….

Sept. 17 recovery at Ground Zero

“We really did not begin making steady direct identifications – matching World Trade Center site DNA profiles to personal effects – until Howard Cash [president, Gene Codes Forensics] delivered the first version of MFISys on December 13.” (Shaler, Ibid., p. 170) A story on genomeweb.com tells us that “M-FISys [Mass Fatality Identification System, pronounced emphasis] was developed by Gene Codes in the months following the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy under a $10 million contract with New York City’s OCME [Office of the Chief Medical Examiner]. According to the city, that amount was later increased to $13 million.” (Uduak Grace Thomas, “Gene Codes Sues New York Over 9/11 Victim ID Software; City Countersues, Calls for Dismissal,” genomeweb.com, Nov. 5, 2010.) Dan Barry of the NY Times reported in July 2002 the cost of $24 million. (Ibid.) MFISys helped combine the up to “nine software packages” being used by OCME at one point, “five of which were directly related to DNA.” (p. 183)

Victims’ families supplied personal effects with DNA of the victim, but also DNA from any next of kin was needed to help make DNA matches. These DNA samples included mouth/cheek swabs mostly (buccal swabs), referred to as “kinship swabs.” (p. 121, etc.) Shaler mentioned “many of the samples they [NYPD] collected were inappropriate. For them, it was mission impossible!” (p. 54) Did they draw blood? Given the circumstances of their pain from losing comrades and the “chaos of the time,” Shaler said afterward, he understood and commended NYPD. (p. 55) The New York State Police DNA lab in Albany worked on STR profiling the family samples. WTC remains were handled elsewhere. (p. 57, etc.)

“More than 5,000 cheek swabs have been taken from blood relatives, and more than 15,000 personal articles have been collected. Some items, like a victim’s teddy bear or pillow case, have been of no value, while others – including 1,400 toothbrushes, 140 razors and 126 hairbrushes – have yielded valuable DNA.” – Dan Barry, NY Times, Ibid.

In all there were 6 DNA laboratories working on the WTC project, 7 if you include the important research of Dr. John Butler at NIST. (link to his book Forensic DNA Typing: Biology, Technology, and Genetics of STR Markers, Elsevier, 2005) This was long before the NIST investigation, of course. Beyond these 7, an entire field of experts convened on a regular basis to hear about the ID work, and to discuss: the Kinship and Data Analysis Panel (KADAP). Read their detailed recommendations document at massfatality.dna.gov.

Myriad Genetics Laboratory “operate[d] a state-of-the-art robotic format for its STR DNA testing.” (p. 58) Beginning the job with them meant OCME had to carefully transfer prepared remains from their 1.5mL tubes to Myriad’s 96-section microtiter plates. (p. 99) STR (Short Tandem Repeat) was/is the standard DNA test on samples prepared by OCME – yet “From the World Trade Center data I was receiving from Bode, Myriad, and our in-house work, a large percentage of the [WTC] samples were giving little or no STR data.” (p. 132)… “[O]nly about half of the samples were giving usable STR results because of the extreme damage done to the remains in the building collapses and subsequent fire. Eventually, the number of DMs giving borderline STR results would exceed 60 percent.” (p. 114) Myriad would also do profiles for the State Police lab in Albany, of personal effects, antemortem DNA. (p. 170.)

The Bode Technology Group (Springfield, Virginia) handled bones. (Eve Conant, “Remains of the Day,” Newsweek, Jan. 12, 2009 [mirror]). Not usually, but they could do it, they promised. Shaler relates when Oct. 8, Tom Bode’s evidence clerk drove from Virginia to the NYC OCME to pick up “approximately two thousand bones.” Shaler immediately says “they delivered on their promise.” (Shaler, p. 65) By mid-January, 2002, “Bode had received 7,120 bones. … Sadly, only 2,014 samples, less than 4 percent, yielded a sufficient STR profile to make an identification.” Each of those IDs would made all the work worthwhile. (Coincidentally, Bode was acquired by ChoicePoint in early 2001, the latter of which 9/11 profiteer [think PNAC/Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell] Richard Armitage was a director. See Another Nineteen: Investigating Legitimate 9/11 Suspects by Kevin Robert Ryan, Microbloom, 2013, p. 40.)

Celera Genomics of Salt Lake City apparently “leaked to the print media that it would have a significant role in the [WTC] work” (p. 122), after Shaler had unofficially invited them. Celera and sister company Applied Biosystems began in Sept. 2001, planning to work with mitochondrial DNA. “Nine months later, I was still waiting for the Celera promise.” … “their mtDNA effort had become a monumental project and was, at best, complicated.” (p. 230) They did help, though.

Orchid Cellmark in Dallas Texas worked with SNPs, single nucleotide polymorphisms. Shaler called these variations of “the base pair, the rung of the ladder” … the ladder being a DNA molecule. (Shaler, Ibid., p. 130-133). Of these SNPs, “there are literally thousands,” so comparing them made sense. But by using them to make identifications Shaler “was wading into uncharted waters.” (p. 264) For DMs (remains) with partial STR profiles, though, SNPs (like a mitotype from mtDNA [p. 233]) could add the required statistics to make a possible match a clear match. “On December 11, 2003, we had our first SNP identification.” (p. 260)

Rewind to the beginning of the process. When making a recovery, the possession of the remains had to follow the chain of custody documentation procedure known in all matters of evidence as accession, ending with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York (OCME), home of the Morgue.

See the OCME webpage memorial. Doctor Robert C. Shaler was Director of the Forensic Biology Department, a.k.a. the DNA lab, at OCME (retired 2005).

“Refrigerated tractor trailers from UPS, Ben & Jerry’s, and other companies began arriving on 9/12. Shiya [Ribowski] segregated them on 30th Street into preprocessing and postprocessing stations; ‘processing’ refers to the autopsy. At one point, tractor trailers formed a line on Second Avenue from 30th Street to 38th Street. Eventually, they lined both sides of 30th Street between First Avenue and the FDR Drive. . . . The Department of Transportation paved the area and the sixteen tractor trailers were lined up, eight on a side, their back ends facing each other. Eventually, on October 11, the trailers were covered by a large white tent. . . . The area at the FDR end of 30th Street became known as Memorial Park.” – Robert C. Shaler, Who They Were – Inside the World Trade Center DNA Story: The Unprecedented Effort To Identify the Missing, Free Press, 2005, pp. 13-14.)

It is important to remember the dedication of those searching in the rubble, including those also hampered by the need for speed at Fresh Kills. Again, see section above, NYC DDC, from which I’ll copy and paste: wtclivinghistory.org: “[T]he fight between ‘speed in debris removal’ versus ‘the civilized recovery of human remains’ embodied the one over-arching and driving conflict that both separated us from the external administrators and joined us (in our 8 perspectives that actually did the work at Ground Zero) into a common goal.” Those 8 were “construction, iron workers, engineering, supply and logistics, NYPD/ESU [Emergency Service Unit], PAPD [Port Authority Police Dept.], FDNY victims’ family members and workers in recovery.” Speed in debris removal was a force from the “external administrators.”

Again, those administrators worked for the city’s DDC – Kenneth Holden and Michael Burton. As an October 31 CBS program noted, “Holden is under pressure to get the job done.” (60 Minutes II, “Under Ground Zero” – Watch it here on YouTube [911datasets.org release 25, 42A0140 – G25D56], where Dan Rather says “enormous pressure.”)

When a body or body part was found at Ground Zero, the spot was marked and noted. (“America Rebuilds,” Ibid. [mirror]) See the grid used for this purpose (source: OEM-EMDC FOIA, 1430_pa_groundzero.pdf, or see Shaler’s book, p. 278, image included below in Appendix 2 of my book.) Due to hand-held GPS equipment issues [“interference” according to the MCEER document, Ibid., p. 12.] the fancy system was not always possible. The GPS system was “not much use” according to mapping expert Dr. Sean Ahearn (WTC: Rise and Fall of an American Icon at 1:07:06.) A Dec. 2001 SatNav News article touted its successes during recoveries, for one. I haven’t seen any photos of FDNY using high-tech scanners, though.

While not 100 percent complete or detailed specifically, a document with pinned recovery locations has been retrieved showing progress as of November 6, 2001 – which includes various other items. (Source: Independent FOIA) The final version of victim location documentation was created by the FDNY Phoenix Unit and the EMDC. (Source: FOIA) Yet “FDNY did not begin collecting grid data until sometime in October 2001.” (Shaler, Ibid., p. 277) In at least one case Shaler used a victim’s “grid number” in the ID effort. (p. 306)

Of course many weren’t searching so much as they were pulling things, cutting them out of the way. For most the job was 12-hours a day, 7 days a week. Remains were recovered because of these people. By these people, to their dismay. One ironworker, who incidentally helped erect the towers, left the site on Sept. 20 because he “just couldn’t take it.” It reminded him of the Vietnam War.

“One particular day they found a woman, all right. Parts of her. I don’t even know if I want to tell you – they found a woman and I just couldn’t take it, you know. Too much devastation. Too much death. When you see a body bag that’s not even full, you know. You see a body bag and it falls in the middle. So… It was just too much for me.”
– Paul Gaulden in the film Metal of Honor, Ibid.

Much respect to Paul and all others who worked there.

//

end excerpt from the 17-page chapter “Bodies.” Read the book.

Written by Matt

May 25, 2015 at 11:05 am