The nation will pause to reflect on the past 20 years, which include the attacks on New York’s September 11th attacks at the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11th.
Retired NYPD detective and officer reflect on the events at Ground Zero and the aftermath.
Anthony Makowski, a retired officer, recalled being on the ground after the first plane hit the North Tower at the World Trade Center.
“We were quickly trying to set up an evacuation zone, a triage zone for people and that is when the second plane hit the second tower,” Makowski told WPTV’s Michael Williams on To the Point. It is hard to describe. It was like a freight car, with a loud boom. I can still remember the landing gear hitting the ground a block away.
Retired Detective Erza Dibert was home when he first learned of the attacks. He joined his team quickly and went to Ground Zero. He stated that despite the NYPD training, nothing prepared him to face what he faced.
Dilbert stated that there was no time for thinking on the day. “There wasn’t anything like this in the playbook that we had. You had to react to what you saw and not have the equipment necessary to do so.
Dilbert also remembers meeting survivors of the World Trade Center.
“The people wanted to touch us because they were leaving the complex. We were going in, and their look and fear of what they saw was causing them to be afraid of us. They looked at us with the feeling that we would die. Dilbert explained that they had no idea how awful it was.
Dilbert and Makowski both spent several months at Ground Zero. They both say that the attacks taught them a lot and helped them appreciate every day.
“Every day is a gift,” Makowski said. “No one knows what their death date is, but 9/11 wasn’t mine. Where I was and what I was doing that day possibly could have been my day but it wasn’t, so I live every day after this.”
“I just feel happy every day that it is possible to wake up and see a new day. Erza stated that 9/11 taught her a lot about herself. One of those lessons was to appreciate each day.
Both Erza as well as Makowski retired to Florida, where they joined Palm Beach County School district Police Department. Although they are often called heroes for their actions in the wake of 9/11, Erza insists that he was simply doing his job. Erza insisted that everyday Americans are those who should be called heroes.
“The true heroes were the civilians who came from all parts of the country and gave their time. They weren’t getting compensated and without them we weren’t able to do the little things like wash the soot off our face, have a meal, shower, and sleep,” Erza said. “I asked all these people who came from different walks of life and different parts of the country and they all said the same thing, they wanted to give something back.”