Remembering the September 11th, 2001 Terror Attacks – 18 Years Later

It’s 8:45 EST, a minute before my life changed 18 years ago.

I want to stop the clock, but I can’t. Just like my life, it will change and I will have to face the memories again.

18 years ago it was just another September 11th, now it is a day that is etched into my brain until I draw my last breath.

My wife reminded me last night that on September 10th we had been watching Monday Night Football. My (formerly beloved) Giant’s lost to the Denver Broncos. We’d stayed up late to watch, even though I had election duty the next day. What should have been a day spent bitching about my team, would soon turn into a nightmare that I am forever trapped in.

I often wonder if people look at us and think, ‘why can’t they just move on?’

The simple answer is that we live with the aftermath of September 11th every day.

That morning, we lost 23 members of the NYPD, but since then we have lost over 240 and the reality for us is that this number will only grow. Most cannot fathom what we were exposed to, as the videos do not do it justice. For those of us who were there, we know what was in the air and what we were exposed to. I have never understood why the government lied, when they said, ‘the air is safe.’ Walking into Ground Zero we all knew that it wasn’t and it didn’t stop us from doing our job.

The other reason is that we do not have any closure.

On the morning of December 7th, 1941, America was attacked at Pearl Harbor. There were over two thousand deaths and over one thousand wounded. It was the worst attack America had ever faced from an enemy. On August 15th, 1945, less than 5 years after the attack, Japan surrendered. While it didn’t bring back those we lost, there was some measure of closure. We’d been attacked and we brought our enemy to their knees.

18 years later and we are still fighting this war and there is no end in sight.

Last night, minutes into the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, our embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan was attacked; a stark reminder that our enemy has not surrendered and is alive and well.

On the morning of September 11th, we lost almost three thousand people, in the 18 years that have passed, we have lost nearly the same amount to the toxins they ingested either fleeing from or responding to the attack. Yet, when I have had occasion to speak on this topic, most have no idea.

They have no idea because there is little coverage of those numbers. It is America’s dirty little secret. They don’t know the staggering amount of people that continue to die, almost every day, nor the fact that, for many families of the original victims, there is no closure because, 18 years later, their loved ones have still not been identified.

Many, like me, feel as if we have been relegated to history and the recent fight to renew the VCF is a poignant reminder.

  • Rather than do what they promised to do, which was Never Forget, the 9/11 victims had to plead, threaten, and embarrass many in Congress to renew the funding; the very same politicians who get in front of any camera they can, on the anniversary of the attack, to pontificate to the rest of us about, ‘not forgetting.’

  • Rather than point a finger at our enemy, and call them out for the cowards they are, we look away, afraid to offend anyone. Even today, the NY Times posted an article about how, ‘planes took aim and brought down the World Trade Center.’ Unless we have sentient airliners, I’m pretty sure there were Islamic terrorists who aimed them at their targets.

  • Rather than stand tall and call it what it was, a terror attack, many in politics and the media have chosen to white wash it. Or, as one Congressperson insensitively put it, “Some people did something.”

18 years ago today, I stood next to my old partner, NYPD Lieutenant Paul Murphy, as we helped rescue and evacuate people from Ground Zero. On January 4th, 2018, Paul died from the 9/11 illnesses he had battled. Paul was a great cop, a loving husband & father, and a dear friend. I remember when I called him to tell him I had been diagnosed with 9/11 cancer. Even though he was fighting his own battle, he immediately counseled me on what I needed to do to get taken care of. I lost him only days later.

Paul, and all of my brothers and sisters who have fought and lost their battles, are my heroes. They exemplify the NYPD Motto: Fidelis Ad Mortem.

Today I remember them and all they sacrificed that fateful day. I just wish we could set our clocks back to September 12th and live our lives with that same level of commitment, respect, and appreciation.

Never Forget - “All Gave Some, Some Gave All.”

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Where Was God ? Update (2nd Qtr Royalty Donation)

This summer has been beyond hectic, with both personal and professional demands vying for limited time, and I have gotten woefully behind on my updates.

Now, with things slowing down, I wanted to take a moment and announce that the numbers are in for the second quarter sales of Where Was God ? and, as promised, we are donating all royalties to charity. Thankfully, a new advertising campaign has increased sales of the book and we are blessed to be able donate twice the amount ($200.00) this time.

As we were deciding who to make the donation to, we received word of a tragedy that spoke to our hearts. Friends of ours lost their son, Casey Scott MacPherson Pomeroy, along with his friend, Caleb, in a mysterious death on the Caribbean island of Anguilla, on December 30, 2018.  The details on this tragedy are not clear, and both families continue to search for answers from the local officials. I can tell you, from over two decades in law enforcement, that the official story raises a lot of questions for me. 

They have hired an investigator to look into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of these two young men and the funds raised go directly towards the investigation fees.

I cannot fathom the pain these families are going through, in their search for answers, but I believe this is a worthwhile cause to contribute to. I ask that you visit the website and please consider contributing. Nothing will bring these two men back, but their families deserve to know the truth.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/justice-for-campc?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

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$200.00 Royalty Donation

$200.00 Royalty Donation


GLASS CASTLE - Pre-Order

The release date for the latest James Maguire NYPD novel: GLASS CASTLE, is officially set for Friday, August 23rd,  2019.

The pre-order option is now available on my Amazon webpage.

If you haven’t had the chance to catch up on the series you still have plenty of time. All my books are available over at Amazon.

GLASS CASTLE picks up nearly a year after Knight Fall (and roughly 6 months since Brooklyn Bounce, for those reading my books in order). Maguire has grudgingly accepted his new role as NYPD Police Commissioner, but soon finds himself questioning his decision when he is thrust into the middle of an investigation that threatens the very underpinnings of the city. As the case heats up, Maguire soon finds himself wondering who he can trust and reaching out to his past for help, but will that help come at a price?

If you are looking to sink your teeth into a great police procedural series, and would like to find out the order in which to read them, you can find the chronological listing HERE.

I want to thank all of you who have been so patient with this process; I know that it took a long time and I hope that you will enjoy the latest continuation of the Maguire series.

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GLASS CASTLE - Cover Reveal

GLASS CASTLE

When a young woman is found dead in her Midtown Manhattan apartment, all signs point to a tragic suicide, but the detectives of the NYPD have grown accustomed to the fact that things are rarely what they appear to be. The trail of clues leads them into a world of sex, lies and politics.

James Maguire has grudgingly accepted his new role as NYPD Police Commissioner, but soon finds himself questioning his decision when he is thrust into the middle of an investigation that threatens the very underpinnings of the city. While Maguire treads carefully through the political minefield, his fiancée, Melody Anderson, is facing her own dilemma; a job offer from Eliza Cook, the woman that many believe will be the next President of the United States.

As the investigation heats up, Maguire soon finds himself wondering who he can trust and reaching out to his past for help, but will that help come at too high of a personal price?

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Chernobyl & Memories of September 11th, 2001

I recently saw a post on social media discussing the new HBO mini-series: Chernobyl, so I thought I would check it out. Before I was an author, I was a NYC cop. I remember when the incident occurred back in April 1986, and all the ensuing media coverage. What I didn’t expect was the flashbacks I would experience and the parallels, to what occurred on September 11th that I would be presented with.

First, let me say that, from a historical perspective, I highly recommend watching this show. They have done an amazing job and it is quite compelling. That being said, as I watched it I began feeling more and more anxious and recalling my time in lower Manhattan following the September 11th terror attack.

Here are a few reasons:

1.       After the explosion at Chernobyl, police and fire responded to the scene, completely unaware of the dangers they would soon face. Even after they realized something wasn’t right, they continued to stay and perform their duty. By the same example, on the morning of September 11th, it was obvious we were under attack, but that didn’t mean anything to the first responders. Even after the South Tower fell, everyone remained behind; and continued in the evacuation and rescue efforts.

 2.       Residents from nearby Pripyat gathered on a train trestle to watch the incident in the distance, unaware of the danger that lurked in front of them. In one scene, you can see the radioactive ash that was being carried along by the wind, enveloping the onlookers, while children played in it. It became known as the Bridge of Death. Sadly, I remember the streets of lower Manhattan being covered in the same ash. It wasn’t radioactive, but it was certainly contaminated with toxins. Everywhere you walked you breathed it in and kicked it up with your footfalls. It reminded me of a grey snowstorm, but instead of it being a winter wonderland it was actually a nightmare.

 3.       In one scene, a mask is given to one of the miners, brought in to dig beneath the destroyed reactor. He asks if the mask will do anything, and the reply is ‘probably not.’ The same thing happened on 9/11, when we were given basic painters masks to wear. It seemed ludicrous to me, knowing the masks provided zero protection from the particles we were dealing with. It was so bad that even the cartridges on the heavy duty respirators were clogging in minutes. There is only so much you can do before you end up just accepting your fate and work without the useless equipment.

 4.       Lies – Socialism is many things, but transparent it is not. The residents and responders were lied to ‘for their own good.’ The international community was even lied to when they were told the situation at Chernobyl was minor and that it was under control. Everything was about assuaging their fears, but the reality was that the lies were all designed to protect the government, not the citizens. We like to believe that our government is different, but it is not. After 9/11, the focus was on returning New York City (and the Stock Market) back to normal, as quickly as possible, following the attack. The EPA Director came out and emphatically stated that the air around Ground Zero was safe; it wasn’t and they knew that. It was bad enough that they lied to the first responders and construction workers, but they re-opened the area and exposed innocent civilians to risk, many of whom are now sick and dying. There was no consideration given to the secondary contamination risk and the majority of us brought our uniforms and gear home, exposing out families to the toxins. Sadly, the government won’t even acknowledge this, even though the data shows an increase in medical illnesses among family members versus the general public. In the case of Chernobyl, the State was aware of a flaw in the RBMK reactors, but they chose to bury that fact. Prior to 9/11, the government was aware that there was actionable intelligence of a planned attack, yet this fact was kept out of the 9/11 Commission Report. Ironically, the death toll from Chernobyl is estimated between 3,000 and 100,000 (initial explosion and long term sickness), although the official number stands at only 31. We lost 3,000 people in the initial attack on the World Trade Center site and since then almost the same number have died and there are nearly 100,000 people that are sick from their exposure.

 5.       Promises – Interestingly enough, the brave men they sent in were promised that the State would take care of them. I wonder how many went in believing that the State would keep its promise, only to find out it was a lie. It’s easy to promise something in the middle of a crisis, but when the crisis is over memories fade quickly. Today, 17 years after the terror attack of September 11th, the heroes and victims are still fighting our government to receive the care and compensation they were promised. Today, June 11th, 2019, Actor / Comedian Jon Stewart and many of the responders testified before Congress. Sadly, while the gallery was packed with those who were sick and dying, very few representatives even bothered to show up for the hearing. I don’t think I can put it any more poignantly than Mr. Stewart did: “What an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting healthcare and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to. Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders—and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress."

 At the end of the HBO show I was left asking myself a very difficult question: What separates the United States from Soviet Russia? The answer I arrived at: Nothing.

This isn’t an indictment of our system of government, but rather it is an indictment of our governmental leaders. The people of the Soviet Union didn’t elect their leaders, but we did. We expected them to be different, but in the end they caved to their own greed and hubris, just like those in the former USSR. This isn’t a democrat or republican problem, it is a CONGRESS problem. Both sides have turned their back on the victims and heroes.

To be fair, when the renewal for the Victim’s Compensation Fund came up, many eagerly jumped on to co-sponsor the bill, but they were the exception, rather than the rule. No, the vast majority of those current sponsors have had to be forced to support it. To them #NeverForget is a catchy phase they dust-off once a year; a campaign slogan that is hollow. It doesn’t personally affect them and they don’t care. The only time they care is when they are shamed into it at the threat of a political challenge.

No, the people of the Soviet Union didn’t have a choice, but we do.

I implore you, as a 9/11 cancer survivor, on behalf of all those who are sick and dying from the toxins they ingested, take one moment and contact your elected representatives and demand they take action to fully fund the Victim’s Compensation Fund. This September 11th should send a resounding signal to those who gave every last measure that day that their sacrifices will Never Be Forgotten.

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