As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 911 attacks, KRCG News is presenting a series of special reports reflecting back on that important day in our history.
Our own Mark Slavit worked along side Jefferson City Red Cross volunteers and Missouri firefighters at Ground Zero just days after the planes crashed into the towers.
Nine years ago, Mark looked back on his experience one year later by writing the following poem.
About 9 o TMclock in the morning on 9-1-1, Americans watched their televisions and became stunned. At first we thought it was an accident then we saw the second plane. That TMs when we knew it was an act of terrorism and nothing would ever be the same. Our brave men and women from Missouri Task Force One put their lives on hold and knew what had to be done. They worked 12 hour shifts throughout the day and night. At Ground Zero they sifted through the rubble in hopes of finding life. More than 3,000 lives were lost. 343 firefighters, 22 police officers and 8 paramedics died at such a cost. Reporting on this tragedy was a challenge at best. It was hard making deadlines when you TMre lost in New York and you don TMt have much rest. There were a few perks like reporting from CBS News Headquarters and seeing Time Square, but I TMd give that all up if I could change why I was there. My memories of Manhattan won TMt be of the Statue of Liberty or other tourist spots. It will be of breathing in clouds of dust while standing in a kitchen that used to be a parking lot. The smells were unbearable. The sights were horrific. My memories of New York are not that terrific. I TMve seen death, first hand. I TMll never forget, but I TMve seen a rebirth of patriotism that TMs still brightly lit.
Mark arrived at Ground Zero just 6 days after the attacks.