‘Wound that never heals’: Fire chief Von Essen on grief, heroism during 9/11

‘Wound that never heals’: Fire chief Von Essen on grief, heroism during 9/11


Remembering the Sept. 11 attacks is painful — even 20 years later. It’s a wound that never heals.

There’s an expression I heard the other day — “We should never ever forget. But we really don’t want to remember.” It’s so true.

I remember what happened like it was yesterday. I got a call that a small plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. It turned out to be a commercial jet.

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I went into the North Tower lobby past windows that had already been blown out. All hell broke loose. The water lines had been severed.

Ten minutes later, we felt a vibration. We thought there was an explosion in the elevator shaft.

I was told the South Tower had been hit. We had half the leadership from the Fire Department go from the North Tower to the South Tower.

Former FDNY commissioner Tom Von Essen reflects on the 9/11 attacks as a

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