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  • Jeth Weinrich

IT WAS RAINING PEOPLE

TEN YEARS AND 14 DAYS AFTER 911 THE STORY OF MY BROTHER



The morning of 911 my oldest brother, a lawyer, a concierge of mafia bosses to the president of the Shriners raising money for children´s hospitals, to the campaign manager for a borough mayor, and that morning there was a primary vote in for an election his candidate was running for.


He had come to the World Trade Center early, very early, like seven a.m. and because my brother was also the Lieutenant Commander of the NY State Police Dept. Child Abuse Unit he had a park anywhere anytime parking pass. The ballot boxes and where the election head quarters were was at the World Trade Center, so he parked right dead center, lousy words, between the towers.


When the first plane hit he told me it was if someone had lit the inside of his car with dynamite, like so bright he said it was disturbingly blinding. He looked up through the glass of his windshield to see the debris and explosion of what a passenger jet brings a building when it crashes into it.


He and the candidate running for Mayor the Bronx, ran from his car to the second tower. It was still a bit before the second plane hit. There was confusion and there was panic, there was a sense of untold things and something very serious this way coming, phone calls, and then the thing I remember most.


My brother said what he will never shake and I can see that he was right because that morning and for the next four days, what he experienced, had to accept, hear, and mostly, for the friends, the best friends he´d had from way back from almost high school that he lost, the experienced changed my brother exponentially, but what he said he will never shake was when it started raining people.


´We were under the protection of the metal awnings just outside the doors of the second tower, and we started to hear the sound of what first was things cutting through the wind and then this very certain sound of something not solid colliding with the ground. First the first one and a wompf that unmistakable, and then another, and then another and then three in succession, then five like semi automatic gunfire, like a machine gun fast, like when a rain storm starts, the first few drops get your attention, the storm you duck in from. A storm of people hitting the ground it felt like, but then you began to see them hit, the horrors of their impact.


When the second was hit my brother had already been evacuated somewhat, his car moved a few blocks away and he was walking back when the second one came. That day rolled into three full days of no sleep for my brother, and with finally admitted to the hospital, because he said, for three days he had been sifting through the rubble, being he had the State Police badge, he was recruited as ever cop was who was still alive to duty, and his convulsions became so severe, and unstoppable, every body part that he had uncovered and bagged, made him vomit as well.


By day three, after 72 hours of dry heaves, and the heat, and the emotional stress, the de-hydration, he was sent to the hospital. He was not in great shape. This was a remarkable thought to me because my big brother was the dude I always looked up to, he was the epitome of the heroic big brother that every kid who was like me was lucky to have, or wished they had. He was six foot four, and a bad ass tough no prisoners fuck you up dude as well.


Ill write more about him as time goes on but for now just know he was the brother who lodged a machete through the collar bone of a drug dealer and two ribs deep down through his chest who had come to create problems for our other brother who was in ´recovery´ in my oldest brother´s house for drug addiction. The police came, and because of his Commander´s badge were like, sorry Mr. Weinrich, you won´t see this guy again.


So this story of him not being able to keep from heaving picking up people´s fingers, arms, parts of heads, taking him down disturbed me beyond my own imagination. My brother was never really the same totally again from the experience of those days, but it was also those who survived with him, his friends I met, that those stories as well were profoundly gripping and wrapped themselves around my own heart. The stories of these men, of these my brothers friends, and in particular his best friend who wasn´t killed that day, a guy who when I moved a block and a half away from ground zero only four months after 9-11, to begin filming a million dollar film about life on earth and in NY after 9-11, my brother assigned him head of my security.


He was a detective and when the first tower fell he was standing in the subway station underneath the tower with 49 other detectives all getting their briefing for what to do next and then the tower came down. My brother´s best friend said the rumble, the shaking of the ground, like a 9.9 earth quake, shook the ground out from under his feet and he fell under an arch way and just covered his head with his hands. He can´t remember why he went unconscious but he was awakened by a fire fighter, covered like he was in dust, so they looked like ghosts to each other. He didn´t know yet that of all 50 of them standing there, he was the only survivor. 49 detectives killed in an instant beneath tower one.


My brother´s best friend was the most calm, kind, peaceful spirited man i have ever met. When he started work with me his first baby was born, a baby girl. That was his life now, and he loved that kid like nothing in the world would ever matter again but her.


I look today at a generation who intellectualize 9-11, American Exceptionalism, ideas that we are a bad nation up against the virtuous world. They should be well to remember that the courage of men they will never meet have afforded them the chance to burn cities down, cancel our culture, pull statues down, pretend that any lives matter in the wake of their own arrogance perhaps only their lives matter, they should be well aware of those who oppose us oppose them equally.


So I forever and still hold a salute to every fire fighter that went back in and up to their death in the futile hope of saving some one else. I salute ever action of ever soldier who put their lives on hold to command the attention of the world to not let that ever happen again.


And to all my brothers friends who died that day, I stand for you. And I walk forward as well and why fear no evil and go up against the things I have, I want to, I plan to.


Amen.


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