CHRONICLES OF 9/11
Editor’s Note: Cathy Raddatz of Cooperstown, sister of 9/11 victim George Morell, read this letter of reassurance from a firefighter to Morell’s widow Robbie at the Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Company’s 5-10K commemorative run Saturday, Sept. 7.
Dear Mrs. Morell:
First, let me say I know your family has suffered a devastating loss, you have my heartfelt condolences and prayers. While I cannot know your grief on a personal level. I sincerely offer my sympathy, compassion, love and respect.
I have been a firefighter for nine years now. I have seen what I thought was some of the worst things that any one human being could do to one another, until Sept. 11. I do not know the reason why I found your husband’s business card that Friday, Sept. 14.
Ever since that day I have felt I needed to find someone in Mr. Morell’s family to let them know how I found his card, where I found it and when I found it. To also let his family know that I felt an overwhelming presence and a calming feeling.
I knew this man did not suffer.
This is the only reason, I think, God put me there at that time and place.
These are the circumstances of how I found your husband’s card. When I was at Ground Zero, I was involved in the bucket brigade. I was at the front of this line when all of a sudden there was a hole just big enough for one person to fit in.
I took a flashlight and with the help of two New York firefighters holding my boots, they lowered me down. Everybody yelled to be quiet to see if I heard anything. The hole was 6- to 8-feet deep and about 20-feet wide under the opening. I did not hear or see anything.
But as I was coming out of the hole to my left I saw this piece of paper or what I thought was a piece of paper. I grabbed it just before it fell into the hole.
When I stood up. I was looking at what I had, a New York firefighter asked me if I knew what it was. I said no. (I had not seen the news or any television since I had been there.) He told me that it is the business card from a company that had lost several hundred employees.
He could not believe that in all this mess I found it, knowing it came from one of the top floors of the South Tower. I asked him if he wanted the card because he is a New York firefighter. He said, no, that we came this far – for me to just keep it.
I hope this letter does not cause any more grief than you and your family have already felt. I am very sorry for your loss. I hope and pray that I have done the right thing by returning what I felt was yours.
Monroe Township Fire Department