September 11th Epic Poem Chapter 3

CHAPTER THREE (Response to the North Tower) 
A fireman will make a stand                               
            For victims all alone.                               
When hope is bleak he’ll help the weak
            Left stranded on their own.
He does not care what skin you wear
            Before he makes that dive. 
The vital fact, though white or black,
            Is that you’re still alive.
 
As units merged the chiefs converged                  
            To start the rescue ops.
The fire crews got instant news         
            From port and city cops.
The eager teams went up in streams
            Like giant arthropods.                      
With fears repressed they led the quest
            Despite the chilling odds.
 
They climbed each stair with tanks of air,         
            But some were nagged by doubt.
The jet that crashed had also smashed                    
            The elevators out.
They faced a deed that might exceed  
            An athlete in his prime:
The massive chore could take them more
            Than eighty minute’s climb.[5]       
 
As minutes flew the numbers grew
            Of those who joined the hike.
While men prepared their leaders blared
            The orders through the mikes.
The chaos reigned but men were trained
            To take it all in stride;
They didn’t know yet another jet
            Was bearing down outside.
 
The stairs were packed with people racked
            by fears of ev’ry kind.
The most seemed dazed as if some haze
            Had left them feeling blind.
The urgent need they felt for speed
            Allowed them to descend.
They all perceived they must achieve,  
            The tower’s safer end.                                   
 
As numbers swelled the men compelled
            The people to stay calm.
Their very sight relieved their plight
            And filled their hearts with balm.
The fighters told the weak and old
            To wait upon the stair,
For young and strong to come along
            And take them in their care.     
 
The tensions eased as hope increased
            and people kept their place.
It was not long before the throng
            Had reached the tower’s base.
They fled the stairs in groups and pairs
            Above the atrium;
From where they left, confused, bereft,
            They saw more fighters come.  
 
With will to win the trucks came in
            From places far away.
The men were keen to join the team
            And help their friends that day.
But as they walked around the block
            They heard the people yell:
For on the street that held their feet
            Another shadow fell.
                       
This second plane had quickly gained                                       
            Momentum from its fall.
With better aim it sought to maim
            A lower piece of wall.
The masses froze as shadows rose,
            And swallowed up the sun—
They yelled and rasped, but as they gasped,
            The deed was quickly done.
 
A blazing tide a village wide
            Rolled out into the skies.
Anouncers seen on TV screen
            Could not believe their eyes.
The time of day seemed swept away
            As people changed their view;
While moments lapsed our world collapsed
            And birthed itself anew.
 
 
We knew at once this second punch
            Was something to be feared.
The déjà vu we all went through
            Was clearly engineered.
It was no joke: the source of smoke
            Had doubled from before.
The stinging fact we’d been attacked,
            We now could not ignore.
 
We knew right then that other men
            Had planned to have us killed.
But could this plot have not been stopped
            If God had only willed?
Was it perhaps, some moral lapse,
            That made us lose the twins?
Had we received, as some believed,
            A judgment for our sins?
           
But if that’s true, then how can you
            Account for those who died?
The tender son who hurt no one—
            The meek, expectant bride?
And then what’s more, each noble score,
            Who tried to save the day:
Could these recruits be substitutes
            For those who got away?                     
           
These thoughts combined in ev’ry mind
            As watchers scanned the skies.
These doubts were asked as buildings basked
            In wreaths of sure demise.
The heart went faint who tried to paint
            A picture of the fate,
Of those who tried to stem the tide
            Before it was too late.
 
Into the throes with heavy clothes
            Those firefighters walked.
They made no press to second-guess               
            Where others would have balked.        
To stop and think when at the brink
            Could cost them victims’ lives.
They made a prayer that God would spare
            The grieving of their wives.       
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