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We just came out oft the Flashover-Can as one of the guys told us that a plane has hit WTC and so we watched the news in full gear and scba –heated,  sweating and smoked. We saw the fire und imagined how our brothers climbed the stairs – heavily loaded with all kind of stuff. As the first tower fell, it hit us like a heavy punch in the stomach. It was a feeling like:” Today I’ve to go to the dentist” or “Final exams today”.As the second tower fell, every discussion and thought that started with “maybe….” Stopped and there were silence in that room. A few minutes later as I sent the guys home I noticed I got my gloves still on…

This evening and the following night I spent in a mental state of shock between CNN and Internet sources. First reports proved my own logical analysis, that there won’t be many survivors, when 100 Floors of concrete collapsed like a wet sand castle at the beach. First pictures from Ground zero showed burning fire units and shocked firefighters. There was this “Dentist-Feeling” again, intensifying.

Yes, although there were a lot of victims, my emotional focus were the 343 lost brothers. In our job you will be confronted with the deaths of civilians many times so that you are forced to deal with it so you don’t break over it. But this protective wall fails everytime you have incidents where kids or brothers are hurt or killed.

Firefighters are real experts i fit comes to tease other firefighters, talk badly about Vollies, the other shift, the other station, the brass and so on. But what they also have in common – worldwide – is the compassion and the teamwork, no matter if they are young or old, paid or not,  if there is a serious and difficult job to do.

When the bay doors open, surreal accidents scenes, shocking injuries, bad mooded customers, explosions, allkinds of Hazmat stuff, sudden child deaths and fires in highrise buildings maybe waiting for us. In most cases its just BS, but from time to time we make the difference between a good live “after it” and a death notice.

Then you can see one the finest  human mindsets in the eyes of those guys, donning scba enroute the scene, preparing the jaws of life or giving CPR . It is the determination, to make the difference for that victim. It is the determination, to confront himself to the question: “Can I really do that?”. And its Determination and Compassion in real bad nightmare-like situations to say “F*** it, let’s go.” This is one of the characteristics of a real good firefighter

And only those who have been confronted to that question in the one kind or another (“Wow, this is way to cold/hot/high/small to go there – must I?”) can really understand the feelings of those brothers standing in front of the WTC at this sunny morning, packed with hoses and tools and waiting for the “Go!”. Those who know the this is already a lost fight and its only about rescuing as much as possible of those 50000 civilians working in the Towers. Those who couldn’t if and how long the towers would withstand the fire. Those who didn’t know if there isn’t another idiot kidnapping the next jet and heading for the final blow. And those, who despite all of that, went with determination and compassion up the stairs.

Those who were torn into pieces, burned, crushed, eject from the building or whatsoever. 343 good humans. 343 brothers, sons, fathers, rookies, seniors, white and dark clouds, friends, husbands and so on. Yes it still hurts.

And especially because many of us have to confront themselves to all those little and big catastrophies day for day and then answer the question „Can I really do this?“ in the same honorable like those brothers at 9/11 way we have honor the determination and compassion of those 343 individials who thought „F*** it, let’s go” that day by never forgetting them.

Good job, guys.

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