A Letter from New York City Detective Mario De Lucia

After Seeing the Horror of the Terrorist Attack of September 11, 2001

Your kind words and good wishes are a welcomed addition, along with the good wishes of everyone who has sent messages to me in this tragic time. 

The carnage … lost of life … and lives forever affected is sometimes overwhelming.  Searching for a sign of life … a movement … a cry … a glimmer of hope … and finding nothing but the dark void of death.  The lists of the missing … the pictures left with us by loved ones with their hope that we’ll spot them amongst the twisted steel and pylons of broken concrete … is enough to keep us all going.  The entire companies of Firefighters … and units of Police Officers listed among the missing are already known to be gone is a sad reality … but makes me proud to be a New Yorker … and even more proud to be an American!

As you walk through the area once marred by the hustle and bustle of businessmen, tourists and financiers, one can’t help but wish that the sometimes annoying routine scene could once again be in place.  The chatter of people on the street, as the walked to or from work … the sound of trucks and cars … the horns of noisy taxis … and the occasional siren of a passing fire truck … is replaced by the eerie silence … broken only by the creaking of the twisted metal as it continues to twist under the pressure … the popping and shattering of windows as they too succumb to the pressure … the movement of cranes and trucks as they help to remove the carnage … and the occasional sound of the warning siren as it alerts those rescue workers that another wall or building is ready to collapse … or that there is an unidentified plane in the air … followed by the sounds of the workers running for cover.  The dust … the smoke … the stench is a reality of what has happened. 

I never thought I’d ever see death the like of which I experienced in Bosnia.  The white NATO body bags … the rows of bodies in a makeshift morgue.  But the death seen here is far worse.  The body bags are orange instead of white, but the still represent a person that until Tuesday was viable … full of life … undertaking the mundane routine that often is taken for granted … but now has been reduced to broken, twisted, burned remnants of a once-beautiful life.  So many of them … so many lives affected … so many tears … such changes in perception … so much to think about … so much to cry about. 

The most poignant symbol in all of this … a lone American flag … which appears to be rising out of the rubble and debris.  A beacon of hope.  

I’m sorry to vent like this … and I hope that I’m not offending anyone.  Maybe what I just want is for all of you to hold your kids a little closer today … call your parents and tell them that you love them … hug your husband or your wife today … go outside your home or your workplace and fly the American Flag with pride … say a prayer for all those gone and for all of those touched by this tragedy … and remember that nothing is certain but what we have today … right now!  Everything else is in God’s hands.






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