This is the story of a disabled 9/11 first responder, a former police Lieutenant, N.Y.P.D., who describes himself as an Ordinary Joe, who drove 2,000 miles in two days from the retirement home he was building in New Mexico to respond to the World Trade Center disaster. It vividly depicts his months at Ground Zero; taking body parts off buildings with the FBI, cheering on President Bush as he gave his speech in the Pit on September 14th, working with the bucket brigade at the Pit, assisting residents to re-enter their apartments and take valuables, and praying at St Paul’s Chapel as people left cards, photos, and lighted candles for missing loved ones. It details the everyday routine of first responders; eating at the Red Cross mess tent and the special bonds that were forged among first responders and volunteers alike, and the compassion of the volunteers that came from all across America.
It describes his work at the Fresh Kills landfill, raking for body parts in bio-hazard suits in the putrid air, a rat-infested dump where cars contaminated with asbestos and other carcinogens from the W.T.C. sat piled atop each other-never to be returned to their owners.
It chronicles the City’s attempted return to normalcy with the resumption of baseball at Yankee Stadium in late September and the return to reality with his response to the American Airlines Flight 587 crash in November.
It depicts the development of the author's 9/11 related illnesses starting with W.T.C. Cough and the N.Y.P.D.'s Medical Board’s organized obstruction, delay, and finally denial of benefits to him and other disabled first responders, some of them having developed cancer.
He draws on life lessons learned from the Scots-Irish family that adopted him at birth. He grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York. His adopted father was a W.W.II veteran who was stationed at Pearl Harbor on the battleship U.S.S. California prior to the December 7th attack.
The author recalls how he was the third generation of N.Y.P.D officers. His father and grandfather were also police officers. He recounts the age-old wisdom he received from his grandmother who raised him, her recollection of growing up in the gaslight era in 1897, turn of the century Brooklyn where humility, empathy, and later Depression-era values of frugality, perseverance, and thankfulness for the little things in life were exemplified.
He talks about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his adopted mother and how her mental illness shaped his outlook on life.
He vividly describes the wild ride he experienced in the Summer of 2001 upon his transfer to Narcotics; of the execution of 120 narcotics search warrants, battering rams and the realities of the daily War on Drugs that all ended on that faithful day that was September 11th.
About Barbara Dement
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Published January 9, 2012
by William Francis Dement.
Biographies & Memoirs, History.