Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th - 10 years later

I was watching cnbc when they broke into live coverage of
the premarket with video of the first tower that was hit.
We had just gone to New York on vacation 2 weeks before, and
we went into the south tower to Windows on the World, but
they wouldn't let us on the roof, it was raining slightly.
I said don't worry, we'll come back to New York another time.
-doh. When they showed the first tower was on fire, I said
"that's the building we didn't go into" and I went back to
eating my cereal. I with my head down in the feedbag I didn't
see the 2nd plane hit, just the resulting red glow of the
steel after the fireball subsided.

Strangely enough, we left home. I brought my wife to school
and I went to the office. Even with war starting I was scheduled
to go offshore the next day and I had to do some preparatory
work on a unix box at the office. My boss called from NO
and said they were evacuating and I could go home too, but
I wasn't finished yet, so I rolled a tv out of a conference room
into the hallway where I could hear it. Every website
I knew was down, it wan't until later in the afternoon that
I discovered Instapundit, so I was stuck listening while
software slowly ground through some data. When they said
that the south tower had collapsed, I couldn't believe it,
I pictured the top falling off, or partially collapsing. I
couldn't picture the building collapsing because it was so
freaking huge. Just seeing it on tv didn't describe it's size
you had to walk around it, and look up from the base to see
up the dizzying heights to appreciate how giant those buildings
were. I didn't imagine it collapsing into a pile of dust and
twisted steel.

I finally finished and went home, then I went offshore that
night, arriving to fourchon at 5:30 to take one of the last
helicopters that week, because they shut down all helicopters
as well later that day. I spent the next week working in
a logging cabin, and reading about what had happened on
blogs, the best information was on Jerry Pournelle's
The stories about firefighters running up the stairs
to the 75th story were pretty amazing, but the most amazing was
the story of Rick Rescorla, who was singing Men of Harlech while
getting his people to evacuate, and staying until the building
collapsed around him.

Men of Harlech

Men of Harlech stop your dreaming
can't you see their spear points gleaming
see their warrior pennons streaming
to this battle field

Men of Harlech stand ye steady
Let it not be ever said ye
For this battle were unready
Welshmen do not yield

From the hills rebounding
Let the war cry sounding
Summon all, the clarion call
the mighty foe surrounding

Men of Harlech on to glory
This will ever be your story
keep these stirring words before ye
Welshmen do not yield

Fight for father, sister, mother,
Each is bound to each as bother;
And with faith in one another,
We will win or die!
Tho' our mothers may be weeping,
Tho' our sisters may be keeping
watch for some who now are sleeping;
On the battlefield,

Still the trumpet's braying,
Sounds on ever saying,
Let each bowman pierce a foe,
And never stop the slaying,

Till invaders learn to fear us,
And no Saxon linger near us;
Men of Wales! our God doth hear us,
Never will we yield!

We'll not die, be conquered never
Harlech, Harlech, lives forever
Freedoms' from the greatest giver
Freedom is our good.
See how Welshmen shouting run down
from the moutains they do come down
Like a storm that strikes at sun down
boil up like a flood.

Welshmens strength has made her
Freedom's strong crusader
Swords of Welsh men have cut deep
the heart of the invader

The sword is met, by sword replying
steel on steel on strength relying
See where Gwyers' flag is flying
Freedom's in her blood.

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