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911 Hard Hat Tours Ground Zero

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “She wanted to surprise you” . These were the words that were burned into my memory and my heart. A very good friend of mine called me after the 911 attacks to let me know the girl that I had fallen in love with when I was 14 years was gone.

Jody had gotten a great job with Cantor Fitzgerald. This was supposed to change her and her daughter’s life forever. That it did but not the way we all thought. I was vomiting and crying upon hearing the news. I felt a huge hole had been blown right through my heart. That magic smile that could disarm an army and light a city had been robbed from me and I was filled with both grief and rage.

Being told no remains were found I instantly made my way back to the carnage I escaped from earlier and joined the bucket brigade. This in some ways was even more horrifying then being there for the attacks themselves. Having to sift through the debris and rubble very often human remains from personal effects was brutal. After the end of each day I numbed myself with booze and pills. This behavior continued for weeks until I became so sick my family begged me to stop and return to what I do – Build. While walking home along the barren West Side Highway( which was such a sureal experience in itself) people were coming up to me and telling me : “Thank you and God Bless you” ” Build our city back up again sir”! An older woman with a weatherbeaten Celtic cap on approached me and began to wipe all the ash and dirt off my face. I looked into her sparkling ice blue eyes that did not match up with her senior citizen stature and she said ” This is not for you son- you will find your healing in the rebuilding”. My nose had stopped bleeding and suddenly my throat started to feel normal again. She had pressed a ziplock bag into my hands turned and disappeared into the crowd. A feeling of serenity poured all over me. Her scent reminded me of my grandmother. When I looked at the bag it was filled with Oreos. My favorite cookie in the world. When I returned home there was a message to begin work at the Winter Garden. I didn’t drink that night …in fact I never slept so soundly. During my deep sleep Jody had come to me in a dream. I was in a car and she began walking towards me. Her face and body badly burned but the closer she got the more she healed.  She opened the passenger side of the car and got in at which point she was glowing. All the burns gone replaced by her stunning physical beauty. I was floored…I knew I was in a dream but knew still she needed to come see me and put me at peace. With that she smiled that smile that could slay an army and took me by the hands and told me…” Andy it’s beautiful everything will be fine I can feel your love it comes with us”. She kissed my forehead and disappeared. 

As I look back at that time I am racked with grief , guilt and helplessness. My Jody saw me on the edge of self destruction and pulled me back.  Today I am an active member of the political community and have fought the good fight when it came to rebuilding Ground Zero protesting the KSM Trials and the Ground Zero Mosque. I have learned the most effective way of executing these goals is from the inside. That means running for office. I came very close to be being picked for the District 9 Special Election but it was not meant to be but with 2012 approaching I will be looking at some primaries locally and intend on letting the people decide. Hope I keep things interesting.

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  1. Denise Decker
    September 6th, 2011 at 06:52 | #1

    Wonderful article Andy. I’m sure that you realize that the dream you had of Jody was much more than a dream. She actually came to you. That’s how it works. So great when you get validation that life goes on and that they are happy and watching us from the other side.

    Keep up the great work you’ve been doing. You will have my vote whatever you run for.

  2. Jimmy
    September 27th, 2011 at 03:22 | #2

    I read your story man. It brought me to tears. I feel your pain and your loss. I’m glad you got to see her again even if only in a dream and I for one have no doubt that God in heaven has prepared a place just like your lady described. A place where there’s no more loss, no more sorrow, no more tears, where people who hate and especially those who hate in the name of God, won’t have a place. He’s made a different place for them. Keep fightin and keep buildin and keep believin. Those who can and will, will see all those they’ve lost again. God Bless…..Jimmy

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