I wrote this poem sometime during the winter of 2001, several months after returning from Manhattan after coming out of my blurred and drunken existence realizing I needed to come face to face with this demon and stop trying to kill it with alcohol and what not, realizing I needed to feel and deal with the pain in order to come to terms with this life altering event and move on…still somedays, I just remember…

Memoirs of a Tragedy



Sitting in the back of the class, early morning

September 11, 2001

Day starts out good, good to see the sun.

In walks our teacher with gloom in his eye

“The World Trade Towers have just been hit…”

“Is this some kind of sick joke? Is he for real?”

“Another report just in…”

“Oh shit…”

“The Pentagon too has just been hit…”

Starting to get shaky and sick, yet at the time

Numb I feel.

-Civil War began April 12, 1861 at Ft. Sumter…

-Lincoln assassinated April 14, 1865

Sitting in back of class, early morning

September 11, 2001

Day started out good, was good to see the sun.

Class has ended, rush out to my car

Fumbling with my radio, trying to find an update

Every station is broadcasting the news

Guess I didn’t have to fumble too much, didn’t have to search far.



Get to my apartment, I run to check my phone

I turn on CNN…a cigarette, I need a cigarette!

Thank God my roommate’s not home

Thank God I’m alone, don’t want him to hear me cry

Got to pull it together, my eyes I have to dry.

Over and over they show the same nightmarish scene

As if in a movie, the planes hit the Towers and they fall

The Pentagon too, is missing part of it’s wall.

How could this happen to America?

How could the Towers be gone?

Who could have been behind this?

Were did we go wrong?

Finally in comes the call with the words I’ve been waiting to hear,

“Pack your stuff, come to the Armory…not sure how long you’ll be gone…”

I hang up the phone and all kinds of thoughts race through my mind

More destruction I fear to follow not too far behind.

All right – go to my room and look around

What to pack?

How many uniforms?

Where do I start?

Gotta make some phone calls, let people know what’s going on

Mom and Dad first

“Bob, they’re taking her! They’re taking my baby!”

Tears well up again, they’re about to burst

“Mom I’ll be okay, going down to do what I’ve been trained to do

Not sure how long I’ll be gone…don’t expect the worst.

Yes, I’ll call you when we get there, I love you too.”

Next to call is my boyfriend, Jim

“Sweets, we’ve been activated-

I’m scared…Not sure how long I’ll be gone…it looks pretty grim.”

“You’ll be okay, hon, but please take care,

Hang in there Apes, and be strong.

My unit too will be activated before not too long.”

Leave a note on the table for my roommate, Shawn

Pack my car; make sure I’ve got everything

Great, my neighbors are watching me,

asking me questions from their front lawn.

I answer them quickly; try to keep my voice steady

Try to sound brave

But deep down I’m terrified, not sure what to say

“I’m really not sure what we’ll be doing…”

I fight back another nauseous wave.

And the I leave.



Sitting in the Armory, early evening

September 11, 2001

The day is now ending, watching the setting sun.

Everyone is unusually quiet, not too much to say

We’re all replaying those fiery images

And trying to assess to the extent of the damage

And destruction that happened today.

Our gear is packed and ready to go

Tomorrow will be a long day, so they adviseus to get some sleep

But soon after we start to doze, a call comes in from the General,

“Where are you? Get your troops down here!”

It’s time to go to the city – order we must help keep.

Sitting in the Armory, late at night

September 11, 2001

The day is done, the moon is shining bright.

And then we leave.



Sitting behind the wheel of a Humvee

September 12, 2001

A new day is starting, watching the rising sun.

We left only a few hours ago and drove into the day

Tired and cold, making only a few stops along the way.

Hours go by and with all this constant driving

I start to feel delusional,

just concentrating on the next stop Camp Smith, for which we are striving.

More hours go by and we finally reach Camp Smith

Make a few phone calls, get some rest, and grab some chow

And we’re off again, not too far from the city now…

Sitting behind the wheel of a Humvee

September 12, 2001

Half way through the day, didn’t even notice the sun.

We’re entering the city and into lower Manhattan now

What a sight we must be

Thirty three 107th Military Police Humvees rolling down the narrow streets.

Thousands of people line up along the way

As though we were part of some glorious parade.

Cheering and showing overwhelming support

“Thank you for coming!”

“We’re glad you’re here!”

But as I look out over the crowds and feel glad to be here to help

I see the rising smoke cloud to my dismay

“This is not going to be pretty,” I think to myself.


“Ground Zero” by Bobb Vann


I went on duty and worked every night

Working from 1900 to 0700, it was a horrific sight.

Guarding buildings, PS89, escorting FEMA, closing off streets

My mind was overloaded,

trying to remember my orders,

no time to think.

Some scenes were vivid, others a blur

But going down to Ground Zero for the first time

Is something I’ll never forget, of that I’m sure.

To see the rubble, to smell the stench of death and smoke

to see the hurt and pain of the police officers and firemen

to see their spirits broke…

Shoes in the street, mud, dust, death and ash everywhere

It all seemed like a chaotic hellish dreameach time I lay down to go to sleep.

But when I woke up to go back on duty

It was all real again as I stand there

And upon the destruction, all I can do is stare…

I don’t remember what happened day to day from that point on

Too much had happened

Too much I had to see

Pain, hurt, death, destruction and misery like I’ve never before seen.

The days just rolled into another, and before I knew it, over two weeks were gone.



Finally we come home, its good to be back.

I try to pick up where I left off

But there’s something I lack.

From my friends and family I find myself distancing away

As they ask if I’m doing alright and if I’m okay

I tell them I’m fine, I felt it necessary to lie

I try to appear as though it doesn’t bother me

But deep down, it’s eating me up inside.

They wouldn’t understand everything I went through

I can’t talk to them about it

Unless they were actually there and saw what I saw only then could they comprehend the destruction

Of lives and buildings the planes hit.

It’s hard to return to normal, back to school and work

For no matter what I do, memories of Ground Zero

They just seem to lurk….