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9/11: A 20th anniversary retrospective September 13, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Commentary, Fire, History, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, TV, Video.
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Saturday marked 20 years since the September 11 attacks. On the tenth anniversary, I posted part of an essay where I recounted my experience on that morning. I wrote it in December 2001 for an end-of-semester portfolio. Following the excerpt, I elaborated on the events of the day and how I coped.

In this post, I’ll elaborate further and share what has happened in the years since.

There were increased expressions of patriotism after 9/11, including flying American flags outside homes and wearing American flag lapel pins. We flew a flag and, for about two years, I wore a lapel pin, usually with a red, white, and blue ribbon attached. For a while, I also wore a patriotic button, but I don’t remember what it said. Here are photographic examples, starting with my friend Joe Horst’s 20th birthday party on October 3, 22 days later:

Sitting in Ehrhart’s Clam House in Freeport (part owned by my family) with Joe Horst, Scott Schoenberg, and Scott Condenzio

Side note: Joe was wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers t-shirt that day. Coincidentally, it was the 50th anniversary of the Shot Heard ‘Round the World: Bobby Thomson’s home run off Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca to win the National League pennant for the New York Giants. As Russ Hodges said on the Giants radio broadcast: “The Giants win the pennant!”

Back on topic, my 20th birthday, November 17:

Christmas at the Falco house:

Joe Falco, a family friend and FDNY firefighter in Engine 1 Ladder 24, survived the South Tower collapse. He was the subject of a documentary that served as my senior project. You can watch it here:

Ringing in 2002:

For eleven years, inspired by a news report I saw on New Year’s Day in 1994, I saved each year’s desk calendar pages and had friends and family throw them as confetti:

Throwing calendar page confetti

I saved and scanned the September 11 pages:

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? calendar 9/11 page, front
Back

It’s ironic that the Millionaire calendar question involved the Department of Defense. The Pentagon was one of the targets that morning. 9/14/21 UPDATE: Further irony involved a PAMS jingle for WABC (770 AM) during its Musicradio era: “Flight 77, WABC, nonstop…music.” Earlier in 2001, I discovered Allan Sniffen’s Musicradio tribute site and that was one of the jingles I listened to obsessively, assuming I heard it there if not elsewhere. Obviously, I could never listen to it the same way again. A variation was among jingles recorded by JAM Creative Productions, PAMS’s spiritual successor, for SiriusXM’s 60s on 6.

Weather Whys and Wonders calendar 9/11 page

Hosting The Mike Chimeri Show on March 1, 2002:

One last photo: July 12, 2002, heading back from Atlantic Canada aboard the Carnival Triumph:

The cruise embarked from the Hudson River side of Midtown Manhattan, taking us past where the towers fell ten months earlier:

Cruising past Lower Manhattan aboard the Carnival Triumph, ten months after 9/11

I still have the lapel pin, which I showed on social media Saturday morning:

On September 12, 2001, I added angel wings and a halo to the twin towers portion of a backdrop I made five years earlier for a home video/audio show I did with my cousin – The Chris and Mike Chimeri Show – based on a video bumper for The Late Show with David Letterman. I kept the backdrop up until September 30, 2019, during a basement cleanup. I photographed the backdrop for posterity before taking it down (for privacy, I’ve blurred my signature):

My family lit memorial candles in the backyard, as seen on the 14th, three days after the attacks:

I did not know any of the victims personally, but Cynthia D’Arpino, my learning assistant in ARC (C.W. Post’s Academic Resource Center), lost her brother-in-law Tim O’Brien who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. On the tenth anniversary, I photographed the TV when his name was read:

I did the same for Richie Muldowney:

Like Joe Falco, Richie was a Freeport native and firefighter, also serving in the FDNY, Engine 16 Ladder 7. He was among the 343 FDNY firefighters lost on 9/11. Beginning in 2011, I got to know his niece Lauren, mother Anne (who passed away in 2020) and surviving siblings: fraternal twins Kevin (Lauren’s father) and Colleen (Andello), and Mary (a.k.a. Mary Mo). I have yet to meet Brian, but for all I know, I met him, and Richie, when I was younger. My father Bill says it’s possible I saw Richie when I worked in Ehrhart’s Clam House (May 2000 to November 2001). In April 2012, Kevin married my mother’s friend and co-worker Mandy.

In 2013, I attended Freeport’s 9/11 memorial ceremony. The attacks led my dad to become a firefighter himself in 2002, in Truck 1, Joe Falco’s Freeport Fire Department company. I took a photo of him before the ceremony:

My father, Bill Chimeri, at Freeport’s 9/11 memorial ceremony in 2013

During the ceremony:

The following year, Dad and I ran (and walked) the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K.

Along the way, I photographed the new One World Trade Center (a.k.a. Freedom Tower)…:

…and a banner with Richie’s photo:

It’s become a 9/11 tradition on Facebook to link to the 2011 “My 9/11 experience” blog post, the Joe Falco documentary, and sometimes, a photo of the World Trade Center that I took in December 1999, after touring the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park:

Last year, a podcast host discovered my documentary and asked to use portions of it in a special 9/11 episode. I happily agreed.

A wealth of retrospective documentaries have aired on various channels this year and I’ve watched them all. It may be a cliche, but we can never forget. Those documentaries are a permanent reminder of what happened, along with stories of survival and how the victims’ children have grown into adulthood.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to muster up a blog post to mark the 20th anniversary, but here we are. Thank you for reading.

9/16/21 UPDATE: Game Dave‘s latest video is a Q&A edition of Digitally Distracted. For that video, I submitted a 9/11-related question, which he answered (video cued up to relevant portion):

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