- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

NEW YORK — The hero that has emerged from Tuesday's terrorism that shook the United States is humanity.
Americans donated blood yesterday until the banks could hold no more. They stood in hour-long lines to donate their services to help in the rescue efforts. Workers sifted through gray ash and the rubble of what were once buildings in the hope of finding more survivors.
At the end of yesterday, Dr. Keith Rubin staggered along Canal Street, several blocks from the site of the World Trade Center towers that now look like headless statues.
"I can't talk," he said. He worked all day Tuesday, sorting out body parts amid the wreckage. He worked all day yesterday, doing the same thing.
"I am just too tired," he said.
Thousands of doctors, construction workers, firefighters and volunteers of all stripes lifted boards and pulled at shredded metal. So far they have rescued seven survivors since Tuesday night.
New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said that up to 300 firefighters may have died when a tower collapsed shortly after it was struck by a hijacked aircraft Tuesday.
The knife-wielding hijackers commandeered four planes on Tuesday, two from Boston's Logan International Airport. Those two aircraft were flown into New York's World Trade Center, toppling the 110-story buildings located in the heart of the city's financial district.
Workers labored in a thick haze, a smoky dust that forced everyone to wear white dust masks. Most also wore plastic safety glasses, after some workers had to have medical attention for scratched corneas due to the glass particles in the air.
The injuries were the least of their troubles.
"We have 14 guys who are now missing," said a teary firefighter at New York Fire Battalion 9 in Midtown. His 50-person battalion has sent almost everybody to the site in one of the largest search-and-rescue missions ever assembled.
Firefighters have some additional motivation to help in the mission. When the first tower collapsed yesterday, giving in to the structural stress placed on it by the aircraft strike, it buried several hundred rescuers who were already at the site trying to save people.
A young man worked all day Tuesday hoping to save some of the rescue workers.
"And I found nothing but body parts," he said. "I hope I never see anything like that again."
But he will, when he returns — all of them will find numerous body parts in the wreckage, as firefighters continue their relentless search for survivors.
"These firefighters, all of these volunteers, they just want to get back in there," said Diane Bonner, a chaplain at St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village. "They come in here, hurt, injured, and all they want to do is go back. They lost their friends in there, the people they worked with."
She added: "One young man, he said he was ready to go back to hell. He looked at his buddy, who was nearby. 'Yeah, we're going back to hell,' his friend said."
On the south side of St. Vincent's, there was a long line of volunteers that stretched down the residential street.
Despite the long wait, Justin Hott refused to go home. The young stock trader was in line for the second time to volunteer. The Connecticut resident was raised in Brooklyn. But his persistence was brought about by the realization that the attacks have posed a threat to his freedom.
"Our ability to live in peace is in jeopardy," Mr. Hott said. "And we have people who are in trouble, who are missing, who are hurt. This is the least anybody can do. I owe this to the people I live with."
His eyes misted. People in front of him and behind him in the line quieted.
"I hope everybody feels like this," he managed.
Wendy Goodman wanted to give. She tried to give blood and they had enough, she said. She wanted to volunteer yesterday, but the list was full.
"Tomorrow, I'm scheduled to volunteer at 7 p.m.," she said. "I'll do anything they need. I just have to help."
The surge of volunteerism was reinforced by a patriotic fervor. Tiny American flags dangled from the handles of bicycles, which have become the favorite mode of transportation in a city whose streets are still remarkably barren.
Several larger flags were flying from apartment windows.
But the biggest display of Uncle Sam fever took place on West Street, a street that follows the Hudson River as it goes south right to the front of the World Trade Center.
Huge crowds lined each side of West Street outside Pier 40, cheering the flow of military vehicles, dump trucks and school buses assisting in the rescue effort.
One gentleman unfurled the Stars and Stripes over the wooden police barricade. The trucks honked their horns.
The display of patriotism stirred the audience.
And it didn't stop there. Carlos Shimabukuro wore his Marine uniform to work, as a volunteer, in the World Trade Center trenches.
"Everybody shook my hand, they all wanted to talk to me and tell me how proud they were of me," Mr. Shimabukuro, a reservist, said.
His reason for volunteering was as simple and honest as the rest of those working in the city's rescue effort: "I can't sit home and watch this on TV. I have to do something. I have to be here. I have to help."


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