SEARCH...BUT NO RESCUE....AFTER 9/11/01
As the wife of a Retired New York Fire Department Lieutenant, the day that was suppose to be a happy memory quickly turned to the most tragic day in my husband's 20-year career. We were scheduled to close on a lot purchase that afternoon in Sea Trail Plantation located in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. How ironic is it that we had plans to fly out of the New York area on 9/11/01, but ended up putting the flight on hold so we could drive down a few days early and extend our trip along with our scheduled closing. God works in mysterious ways....
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Frank and I left our condo to drive over to Sunset Beach for an early morning walk. Frank had strolled over to the gazebo when I heard his cell phone ringing from his beach chair. I noticed from the caller ID it was our daughter, and I thought it was strange for her to be calling us when she should be in class. She was attending the University of Miami as a voice major at that time.
I answered the phone and heard my daughter screaming over and over, "Where's Daddy?" I had no idea why she was screaming at me and suddenly I had goose bumps all over my entire body. I managed to get her attention and tell her, “Daddy is here with me on the beach in Sunset Beach” and asked her "What is the matter with you?" She was crying as she told me the tragic events of the plane crashing into the First Tower of the World Trade Center.
I handed the phone to Frank in shock, unable to speak and without realizing it packed up our beach chairs and starting walking back to our car in the parking lot. I tried to call my son Travis, who was attending Boston University at the time but was unable to get a dial tone. We returned to the condo we were renting in Sea Trail and turned on the TV. Frank looked at me and I knew what he was going to say before he said it, "I’m leaving”. I felt so selfish when I told him "Please don't go, we are safe here". He never acknowledged my comment, he hugged me, kissed me and left to drive back to New York to be with his fellow firefighters..
I didn't see him again until the 17th of September, when I attended his promotion ceremony. Due to the loss of so many officers Frank, who was on the lieutenant list, was promoted early and sent back to duty as an officer. It was weeks before I saw him again.
Can he talk about what went on at the site? He chooses not to. Words will never describe the horror of what the rescue workers saw and dealt with. Frank, a rescue worker like so many others, will never be able to explain the views. That day and all the days after have become a memory never to be forgotten, by the many who were there to search and never rescue.
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SUNSET BEACH AND BEYOND REALTY
FRANK AND KAREN BAKER
CRS, ABR, GRI, e-PRO, SFR
SUNSET BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA