Derrick Milone
Fire Department of New York

Carla Arcuri, Maria Rubino


Carla: Now I have Derrick Milone with me, Iím going to do the interview with him. So letís talk about your history, where you grew up and all that stuff.

Derrick: Born in Whittier, California 10-7-54 and stayed there a few years, moved to Brooklyn, 10 years old moved to Staten Island. I joined the fire department on July 14, 1979. Carla: You were a fireman for a long time when 9/11 came.

Derrick : I was a fireman for 22 years at the time of 9/11.

Carla: So where were you on that day?

Derrick: A friend and I were I think in Westerleigh [Staten Island] just hanging out and we actually heard the planes crash--you know the sound--and went down to our local firehouse and found out what happened. Then headed down towards the Trade Center.

Carla: And when you go there what was it like?

Derrick: Both buildings had already come down by the time we got there. Um, so you werenít able to get into the area too much, a lot of the streets were already closed, went through the tunnel to get there and then parked right outside the tunnel and then ran up to the actual ground zero.

Carla: And then when you got there, you were in your uniform? You were on the job?

Derrick : We had our civilian clothes on, but brought our fire fighting gear because at that time now we knew what had happened. Um, none of the, in fact we went up there with six or seven guys jumped in my friendís truck and, uh, we got in there so none of us had on our fire department clothes, but we did have our gear.

Carla: So when you first saw it what was going through your head?

Derrick : Well after the first, after the first report of course everybody believed that it was a just a pilot trying to be fancy and drive through the two buildings. When we heard that the second the plane had hit then right off the bat we knew that you know, that it was terror attacks. We, when we first got there sure everybody felt the same way, it was nothing that we would have ever expected you know, it just, uh, I mean it was like a war zone there was nothing, there was nothing there it was amazing. We figured that, uh, you know, you would be going over rubbish of desks and computers and stuff like that figuring that you know God knows how many offices were in there There was nothing, it was pulverized so much that there was nothing. Nothing. When I say nothing, I mean nothing.

Carla: It was just ash and dust?

Derrick: There was just crumbled everything you couldn't find a computer, there wasn't a chair, a desk. The only things that didn't get destroyed were paper because it couldnít break down, and material. So whether it be rugs that were through each lobby or in the offices or drapes and clothing, in fact, that was the easiest way to find something, shoes, sneakers stuff like that because that wasn't able to be actually crumbled to nothing. Those were the only things that wasnít, you could just shovel them out.

Carla: So what did you do, like the whole day when you got there, from the time you got there until like you know, you left?

Derrick: Okay when we first got there, of course they had set up some command stations and you know, you report there, you were given orders, letís go here and letís go there, but it was a little bit, a little bit chaotic. Um,they were telling us letís break up into pairs and start searching. But after getting right at the base of Ground Zero, I felt and most firemen felt that you werenít going to find anybody alive in that building, in the rubbish of that building. As many voids as there were because of the way the building collapsed and different collapses. A-frame collapses whereís on an angle and creates a little void in the shape of an "A". As many of those that there were, there was, there was, we believe that there was no chance that we were going to find anybody alive. After the first, uh, I think it was the first six or seven hours that we were down there, because we got down there early we must have been there just minutes after the second building had collapsed about 9:30, 10:00, we were there six, seven hours, nothing. We didnít find one person alive. We felt that if we ainít finding anyone alive in those you know, those peak hours, that we werenít going to find anybody. So as each day went by we were down there the first fourteen days straight we went down there everyday for fourteen days and each day we started realizing that chances of finding somebody became slimmer and slimmer alive. You know as each day went by, you start to realize that you know, now youíre just trying to look for people, firefighters to bury you know. The worse thing, um, that most of the guys had seen or realized was that out of the, I think it was, well it definitely was 343 firemen were missing was that there was pieces that you did find you know, the gear or anything like, that they werenít even with their gear.Because of the rubbish and because of the way everything you know, just ran down the street, um, you know somebody could have been on, they could have been on the northern exposure on one side butyou found, you found his gear a block and a half, you know a block and a half away from them. Um, very few people of course were found whole and because of the impact and the explosion actually most people were found you know, with clothes ripped off them just from the combustion, just the way you know, everything had gone. But they, uh, sort of kind of felt that, uh, there was still a chance that you know, you might find somebody. So you know, of course the guys are going to stay you know, no one is going to leave and I think every off duty fireman was there. If you werenít actually assigned to a firehouse, those days you were giving your time down at Ground Zero. But, um, it was you could see like I said as the days were going on guys were getting more and more down on the chances of finding their, you know, their friends. When, uh, when we first went down there in fact two of the companies that I worked in Brooklyn were right by, right by the tunnel and they were the first two companies to respond on the second alarm. The Manhattan companies were there immediately of course. The timing was bad for the two Brooklyn companies that I came from. By the time they reached the actual Trade Center, got close enough to the building to do what they had to do, when the building came down both those companies, all the guys in it that I worked with, wound up dying because they were you know, trapped in the rig [fire engine] or you know, just like I said, just bad timing. They got there, they got there just as the buildings collapsed. Now if they were detained in any way, and thatís the firemanís thing you know, one more red light, a little bit more traffic the building comes down prior to them getting there, but that wasnít the case. We were in the Redhook area which is right outside the Battery Tunnel. So by the timeÖ

Carla: Is that where your firehouse was?

Derrick: Right, so by the time they get through that tunnel and get there, in just those minutes you know, are when the buildings came down. But, um, it was one of those you know, right place at the right time for some people and wrong place at the wrong time you know, for other guys. And thatís you know, thatís it. It was extremely gruesome, uh, during the recovery when we were doing the digging for people. Most people, uh, were taken out in compound buckets I mean that's how small the pieces were. Whatever jewelry and anything that was found, wallets you know we had buckets stationed all over and you were to throw them in there and pretty much have an idea of where they were found. And the reason why so then they could, they know this floor ended up, right, this floor ended up over here and they were going to be able to, as much as they can, locate you know, people that you know were missing. Because at that time, they didnít really, they werenít, Iím sure they werenít 100% sure who came to work late, who took the day off that day, you know.

Carla: They didnít have computers either to look at it either.

Derrick: Nothing, you wouldnít even know if anybody logged in. Because like I said not even a key to a motherboard was there. That's how pulverized everything was, it was amazing. I thought we were going to be stepping on computers all day. Nothing, nothing. How many chairs would you say? 110 floors? 50 offices a floor? Not even a chair to pull out of the way, nothing. It was just dust. And thatís the dust now that as you see each guy every once in a while now you know, who has, whoís complaining of lung problems and stuff like that. This thing is going to go on, I believe this thingís going to go on for, um, five, six, seven, eight years and one by one even the civilians who nobodyís even going to know about are going to die one at a time from what they were breathing that day. Yeah, because you know what? Years ago you know, they built the building and I donít know if youíve ever seen them do, uh, structural steel they spray it and encase it in you know, with all that going on and all the PVCs from the plastic that's everything that was there. It was all chemicals besides the fact the jet fuel was everywhere which is not healthy to begin with anyway so you know, so everything that was burning, everything that was melting, is definitely going to cause major problems for people. And, and unfortunately civilians, uh, who you know like I said three, four, five years down the road who now have difficulty breathing, whoís going to even know? Whoís even going to know?

Carla: How to prove, yeah, thereís no way to prove unless you were a fireman.

Derrick: Yeah, I mean you might be able to turn around and say you, I was in 9/11, youíre insurance doesnít cover that you know. Youíre sick you contracted whatever you contracted and thatís it and who suffers? The family suffers. I donít know if any of these people are covered under any act or anything like that. The firemen are; you know our policies are

Carla: Your polices cover all that?

Derrick: Yeah, youíre going to have coverage. Iíll tell you right now, the guys would rather say, Iíd rather have no coverage and not have been there but, uh, youíre going to see. Years ago and Iím sure youíre familiar with it, there was a telephone company went on fire and they had PVC pipe and that sets off a polyvinyl chloride which is a very, very poisonous gas. There is not a fireman today who was at that fire thatís alive; everybody had died and the cause was cancer from this particular chemical. And thatís what I think is going to happen with all these guys, everybody who was down there. I donít think theyíll be, there might be a few guys who escaped it you know, and it had rained a couple of days after it, definitely keeping down the dust. But I believe the guys who responded the first couple of days, prior to this being wet down and not digging, yeah.

Carla: Did you wear your mask while you were digging up stuff?

Derrick : They, they didnít give us any type of safety equipment as we were running, there was just too many guys, too quick, to be organized. It wasnít organized, and no fault to the fire department itís just that, itís just that the other 8,000 guys wanted to get there and do whatever they can. Whatever, uh, happened the next few days they starting a little bit more organized and there were masks available for the guys like that, difficult to breath with because you know youíre digging and you got this mask on your face, you canít even take a deep breath. But, um, the protection for the guys who came a couple of days later would be much greater, you know what I mean? Than the guys who were there right away. The guys that were there right away, uh, I believe theyíre going to have, I think theyíre going to have respiratory problems because it was bad, you couldnít take a deep breath. Once you felt it inside you, now whatever that stuff is your lining, you know what I mean? So it was, it was, uh, it was difficult to breathe after you had gotten that into you, your nose, your eyes like that. You probably see a lot of photos where guys were flushing out their eyes. Any place that was moist on your body where this thing landed on you, um, it was almost like cement dust from a bag. If anything was wet it would actually adhere to you and now you couldnít even blink because it was like that, and that why you saw guys constantly washing their eyes.

Carla: So you were there that day and fourteen days after?

Derrick: Right.

Carla: So what did you actually do, like from the morning? Were you just digging up?

Derrick : Yup, a ll we did was dig we had, uh, it was almost like a chain gang; where one guy was digging or two guys were digging and as they dug, they filled up a compound bucket you know a five gallon bucket and handed it to the next guys. And they brought it out and dumped it away from the pile. And when those two guys got tired, the next two guys in line moved up and they started digging while these two guys went, took a break. And they just kept on moving that line. Um, once, they had dogs there also and these dogs were like you know, sniffing out for bodies so if they got excited in a particular area that was the area we concentrated on whether they had found somebody or part or thatís where we concentrated on so that we could have at least identification of these particular people. Every person that I or the group I was with dug up was totally unclothed just from the impact and if I remember correctly, maybe three or four people whole, everybody else, and Iím going to say at least two hundred pieces of different people and only a hand full of people whole. Everything else was pieces.

Carla: Whatís going through your head when you see that?

Derrick : It was, you know what? Being on the job for 22 years prior to this going and responding to auto accidents, and you know all the other stuff that goes on, um, at that particular point itís like everything else it doesnít bother you right then. You know what I mean? Because you got a job to do so youíre not really paying attention and you know you start to dwell on oh my God, oh my God, and then youíre useless, then step aside and let the next guy start digging. At the end of each day when we were being bused from there back to our quarters at the firehouse you could tell that it started bothering guys. Because the bus ride, a fire department bus ride when you got a bunch of firemen thereís joking going on, their laughing at other guys, thereís so much going on. Thereís stories. Whoís talking sports. The bus rides home were getting quieter and quieter everyday because it was becoming more and more apparent what you were doing now. You were starting to realize that everybody there has been gone and now there is no hope, you know what I mean? When you first went there, there was like so much hope and like you know we got to find Billy, I know Billy he was supposed to be in this area. All my friends from 131 Truck, oh they were supposed to be in this area, hereís their rig right here. The rig was flipped over, um, so you now you still had that little bit of hope that hey maybe Iíll be lucky enough to find somebody but as each day went on the rides home were quieter and quieter and now you started to realize just what happened. In the beginning it was like you knowÖ

Carla: It was too much to comprehend.

Derrick: Right, out of the 343 guys, 114 of them were very close friends of mine. Guys that were at my wedding and my kidís birthday parties. Not just firemen, you know, I probably could go through the list and say well, Iíve either worked with this guy or that guy and I know him from somewhere. Iím talking about 114 guys that were, I consider my friends. I mean good friends that you know helped me, you know, fix my house, you know what I mean, I went on motorcycle rides with. Friends that youíd call up and, you know, letís go have a beer down in Jenkinsons or whatever. So the guys who were on the job longer seemed to be affected a little bit more because what wined up happening was they made all these close friends over the years. Like one of the guys who had died was a guy I was the chauffer for, he was an officer, um, what wined up happening was for five years I drove him everyday we went to work, you know what I mean? So me and him weíre in the cab, yeah I knew everything about his kids, I knew his daughter was trying to get her belly button pierced...I knew everything about the guy so and his family. So now you got to go over to his wife, you know we were asked because Iím good friends with him, to go over from house to house to house. The guys who knew certain guys well were asked donít let a stranger go over. Even the fire department chaplain, itís great donít get me wrong but he doesnít know them, he doesnít know the kidsí names. I mean we know the guysí dogsí names. So they wanted to bring uh, somebody familiar for the wife to see, to come up to the house and say Iím going to ring the doorbell and Iím going to, you know, Jenny, you know we found him but Iím sorry. Instead of some guy saying oh whatís the wifeís name again? You know so, so for about Iím going to say about 12 to 15 people I went to their houses to tell their wife, their kids whatever, and you know, thatís the way it is.

Carla: Did you feel like you were the bearer of bad news?

Derrick : Well I got to tell you, after the first few weeks and every one of these people who were hoping that their husband was alive started to realize that now they just wanted them back. So although I was the bearer of bad news because of what happened, the families were very grateful now just for the recovery of the bodies. To say you know what youíre going to have a funeral.

Carla: Youíre going to have a funeral.

Derrick: Yeah, you could, you could now get on with your you know, itís sad but you could get on with your life. And not wonder every day what happened? What happened? Where is he?

Carla: There are still people like that.

Derrick: Right, I believe just the other day they identified two more people, the building that was going to be under renovation now a couple of blocks away they found bones, through DNA were able to identify two more people. Now, how long is that going to go on for? I mean the people probably realized that theyíre dead and theyíre not coming back but unfortunately they still donít have that you know, letís close this up. So itís you know itís, I happen to be, um, I happen to be one of the guys you know who did go to a few of the families and they were grateful, they were grateful that the guys were still there trying to you know trying to find you know bodies.

Carla: What about the people that they didnít find bodies, how would they approach like the families?

Derrick : Actually, no fire department personnel who wasnít identified was approached to be able to say your son is dead, they were able to say we havenít found anything yet. We know he was there, yeah because we canít really I guess itís almost like a murder. Without a body you canít really say yeah. How do I know that guy even went there that day? How do I know that guy didnít go to a coffee show and say hey this is a great time for me to get the heck out of here you know and just leave? So they didnít do, all they did was say nothing was found. As of right now nothing was found but as soon as we find something, um. I went to a few houses where I needed to ask the wife for a, uh, for a brush so we could get hair for DNA testing , toothbrush, anything that would have had some type of body, you know what I mean, um, and still they havenít found some and havenít been able to identify. They found helmets of guys, they found their jackets, but actually nothing of that particular person where it would be enough to say yeah this is the area, this is where he passed away and this is what happened. There is still a lot of open you know, open cases right now and thatís why when they found those two other people you know, like I said a block and half away I believe it was, they were, those people were happy. They were happy. And what is it five years later almost? I mean in September itís five years I think right? So it was you know? And like I said to find body parts, to find body parts is a little spooky too. Yeah, you know because, uh, you canít identify certain body parts. A lot of the things we found, uh, very, very few bones. Very, very few bones, mainly skin. Because the skin, itís almost, itís almost like elastic. So what happened was as much weight thatís on it all itís doing is flattening but itís still in a piece of almost like a material, so itís this rubberized thing and they were able to identify like that. And those are like I said, those are the pieces that are being dropped into buckets, sealed, tagged, and brought to certain areas and they tried identifying.

Carla: How was that, picking up pieces of body?

Derrick : It was, again you know like I said 22 years, you donít--it never bothered me. You know in the beginning, yeah, it bothers you, you go to auto accidents, and you know, if a child is hurt it bothers you a little bit more because you start thinking to yourself hey, you know, I have kids home the whole deal. But, uh, you get used to it and thatís why you always see people sometimes, you know firemen are at a scene where thereís a big auto accident where people got hurt and firemen are laughing and joking. Weíre not laughing and joking at that particular person; we donít wish anything bad on anybody else. But the firemen have always thought, like nurses that if you donít joke a little bit, if you donít kid around, if you donít push the guy next to you and you start sitting down and you start thinking oh my God, oh this guy did this or this guy got hurt here, or look at that woman, youíre going to be useless you know? So it goes in your head, you do what you have to do and you get back on your rig and you go to the next thing. And, um, and thatís what it was there. Guys were digging out and you know, you picked up whatever part, bare handed, it wasnít like oh God, Iím not going to touch that. You grabbed it bare handed, you threw it in the bucket, you removed your glove, you threw the glove in the you know, bile hazard waste, and you put on another pair of gloves and you just kept on digging again and if you found another piece, it just went into the bucket. It was like, like a mass production to try and find this thing it wasnít a, okay now letís you know, like weíre looking for dinosaur bones, letís just tinker around. It was picks and shovels trying to find, because of the amount of rubbish that was on everything. Um, I remember when we first walked in there. We first walked in there and Iím standing about five stories high on rubbish and I couldn't understand what street went what way because it was filled for blocks. And youíre standing there and youíre saying, you know what? Why is this rig parked right here underneath this building, it wasn't underneath the building it just that when everything came down and almost like a wave in the sea, it turned it and flipped it down the block like it was nothing, like it was nothing. In fact, when we finally dug out the rigs, um, we had found, uh, the shoes of the fireman, actual boots that the guys were wearing. A few guys were standing by the rig putting their gear on when the wave flipped the truck over and wined up crushing them and then just going down the block. Their shoes stayed there and they were washed in a sea of rubbish right out of their shoes from the impact of everything coming down. I don't think anybody believed that the building would come down. Our command post was inside the building; we do that a lot because normally, under normal conditions something like that you know.

Carla: You wouldnít think it would fall.

Derrick: You don't think itís going to fall. But I think they started to realize that it was getting a lot worse than they thought. The fire department has video tapes of inside the lobby. And, uh, you could see the faces on the guys that they know theyíre going up there and theyíre going to go up twenty, thirty, forty stories.

Carla: And it takes like a long time to walk up those stairs.

Derrick: Forget it, yeah, youíre exhausted yeah, yeah; youíre dead by the time you get up there. But they realized that, you could see in their faces that that was it. Theyíre going up there and thereís a extremely good possibility that theyíre not coming back down from there. And uh, and you know like I said you know, you make a lot of friends over the years, and you know guys and youíre seeing them in the lobby saying I never seen Joe with that face on before you know? And youíre capped into one of the Companyís 131 Truck. Um, what winds up happening is, thatís how now you remember him. Unfortunately, thatís how you remember him, thatís the last time youíre seeing him. But uh, they uh, I believe a lot of those guys going up there realized that, that was it. Same way, the guys who were on the ninetieth floor, making phone calls that this was going to be it, this was you know. On the fire department video tape you hear bodies, you hear screaming. When we got there and like I said the buildings had already come down, bodies were lying everywhere you know, no survivors but I mean bodies were everywhere.

Carla: No survivors anywhere at all? Not one?

Derrick: No, not one. And that, you know and like I said, youíre there, youíre there each day and you donít find one, not one, not one person comes out of that rubbish, not one person got pushed into a hallway or jumped through a store window you know, you ainít finding, come the fourteenth day, you ainít finding anybody. It became more of a recovery than a rescue, fast. You know what I mean? I mean fast. And youíll see scenes of the firemen, theyíre all down at Ground Zero, and theyíre taking pictures and whoís smiling and stuff like that. And that was, I feel it was only because of what I was saying. That if they didnít smile and or joke around or make fun of the guy, they, they would have all cracked up. And just the other day I believe, there was a fireman who committed suicide. His company had lost I think ten guys.

Carla: How many guys are in like one house?

Derrick: Uh, most companies are manning about twenty men.

Carla: So half.

Derrick: Yeah, so half of the guys that he knew very well. And not to be funny but you eat with them, you sleep with them, you shower with them, you know these guys. I probably know some guys better than their wives do. Because you work with them. Iím with this guy 24 hours, I know he doesnít eat onions, this guy likes peas. You know thereís certain things you canít, this guyís afraid of bugs. There are so many things you learn about somebody that youíre with all day.

Carla: Yeah, youíre with them all day long and then when you lose them and all at one time.

Derrick; Yes, thatís what I think happened. And I think psychologically some of these guys are snapping; I think theyíre snapping. I think itís bothering them that much. And I think the younger guys are having a harder time. The older guys, even though they lost more, the older guys, more friends, the younger guys are still a 22 year-old guy at the time this thing happened, five years on the job, six years on the job thatís what that other guy was, it just bothered him every day, every day. He goes into work every day and thereís eleven plaques on the wall of all the guys you know. You canít forget it. You canít drive in Staten Island without seeing street signs of guys you knew. The guy across the street from me wined up dying , he lived on my block; I canít come to my corner without seeing his name. So you know, the guy right there when I walk up to the boulevard, thatís the guy I drove for five years. I know him, I know him 22 years and in fact I gave his eulogy. You know them so well itís almost, not a day goes by where a fireman doesnít think about what happened besides the fact that youíre tattooed, everybody who was there got tattooed with their 9/11 tattoos.

Carla: Really, everybody has a tattoo?

Derrick: Just everybody has a tattoo of 9/11. Certain you know, my tattoo you know, has the box number, the 9/11 number, and everything like that, because in years to come almost like any war, that these other guys, you know the guys who fought, just like a veteran you always see they have their ship number on the thing and where they were and you know. Somebody came up with the thing, the firemen were getting a tattoo; they made some special tattoos; some guys designed their own and before you knew it, everybody was being tattooed and now you know who was there and who wasnít there. If Iím in Cancun, and a guyís walking by me and I see his FDNY tattoo on, hey bro, you were there? How you doing? And itís almost, itís nice because youíre a survivor. And anybody could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anybody. Thereís no such thing, um, this guy like I told you he was from Staten Island, he just happened to be in Downtown, Brooklyn at that time, ran to 10 Truck which is right down by the Trade Center, put someone elseís gear on and thatís what a lot of guys did, ran to the Trade Center, and it came down.

Carla: Did you feel obligated to go or were you scared?

Derrick : You felt, you sort of kind of felt obligated to go because of--itís your job. I think you forget about, I honestly think you forget about being scared, I don't think it crosses your mind, it doesnít cross your mind. It crosses your mind later when you get home and your kids are there and you just showered up and youíre saying to yourself, you know what? 343 guys died, 114 of them were my best friends, could it have been any other way? Yeah, I would have got there sooner, if I would have heard possibly the first plane hitting and I says, you know what? Letís not delay, letís get right in there, who knows? Maybe me and my friends jumped in the car, instead of stopping at the fire house, and go straight in. There are hundreds of stories of guys, my friend, good friend of mine, Sal Calabro, what happened with him was, uh, the fire department has a thing where when one guy comes in, he could ride for you and you could go home. The truck has to leave with a full amount of guys. So if a guy came in a little bit early and you had something to do home, you could say okay as soon as you get dressed and all your gear is ready Iím going to go home, youíre going to ride for me, okay, thank you. Well he got changed in his civilian clothes, he was ready to go home, having a cup of coffee in the kitchen, plane hits, he told the other guy, Iím coming too. Now he could have went home, he could have been done, he says Iím going too. He squeezed on the rig which was two extra guys that day went on the rig, so instead of the regular six guys going on the rig, eight guys went on the rig. All eight guys died. Now he goes home for whatever reason and says you know what? Itís no big deal, Iím going to go, heís with his kids on their birthday, unfortunately firefighters, yeah itís an obligation, this is what I signed up to do, they went. And wrong place at the wrong time, and you know will his kids ever know the story? Possibly not you know? The guys who know the story are the guys who were in that kitchen that morning, you know? And guys might have even told him, donít come, get out of here, go home, you got a picnic today, youíre going to your mother-in-lawís, whatever it is. But they wave that off and they go do what they signed up to do. And that might be one of the reasons why, you know, the fire department; some of the guys are a little bitter. They uh, they feel it was, you know, not handled, you know...

Carla: The right way?

Derrick: Yeah, I mean, the fire department feels, some guys that feel, you know what? They agree with the war. Letís go in there, do what we have to do, you know what? They didnít think twice about hitting. Listen you go in, you go in, we have a war, and you go in and you start killing our military well thatís what war is all about. You take a plane and you go in and you kill a bunch of people who all they do is pass insurance papers back and forth, make quotes, whatever they do up there, I donít even know what building what the people do up there. Thereís no military there. So if you took these planes and you say Iím going to go drive them into the Pentagon, I understand. Youíre going into the White House, I understand. Youíre going into the middle of Manhattan to knock down a building where, like I said where a bunch of you know, people handling insurance papers, and I donít know Dow Jones quotes, who cares? What did you gain out of that? I mean what did you get? Youíre going to win a war on that? All they did, and they did a tremendous effect. Itís going to have a tremendous snowball effect. Youíre going to turn around now, these kids and I mean young kids growing up without fathers or mothers. These parents are growing old without their kids, you got brothers and sisters who lost people, and that mental effect, thatís bad. You know what I mean? You might now think, you know. I mean you could claim, you go out and you could kill somebody today and you could say well you know, I lost somebody in 9/11, Iím crazy now. I think they got names for half these things now, you know. Yeah because of the effects itís going to have but like I said youíre going to have kids who grow up without a father, theyíre going to have a completely different attitude on life and when you talk about being prejudice, hereís a kid who you know, whose father was taken away because some wacko wants to drive a plane you know into a building, heís going to have an attitude. You canít expect him to love.

Carla: So that was common after the attack that everybody felt resentment towards, that country, to foreigners?

Derrick: Yeah, I mean yeah to foreigners. Iím not saying theyíre all bad but how do you know which one is and which one isnít now? I mean, so I could see those kids having a little bit of a chip on their shoulder and I canít blame them because Iím not in that situation. But I could see them being a little, to somebody who shouldnít be yeah, you know what I mean, go back to your country or do whatever you have to do. And some of the people might be great citizens, unfortunately those people are living next door to somebody and I guarantee that those people who are living next door to these terrorists must have thought, nice guy, waves to me every day, look how nice he keeps his lawn.

Carla: So you feel that it was terrorists, you donít believe in any conspiracy theories?

Derrick : Oh no, no, no. I do believe that we were aware it, I don't think this was a total surprise. I do believe that they didn't know how severe it was going to be. I was at the first, the first bombing. I happen to be right at the first bombing. I believe it was 1993 when they brought the van into the parking garage, the whole deal. We responded to there and I said to myself, you know what? You know, they can't touch this building, look at this building, this build is tremendous, this building ainít coming down. So they gave an attempt and ten years later, here they are trying again. These people were so patient that they were going to wait ten years to put a plan into effect to a point where, well send who we have to do, to do training. Weíll teach everybody what they have to do, weíll watch the stupid Americans let people walk right by them, whatever metal they need yeah, thatís fine--youíre allowed to bring that on the plane--donít worry about it. We just dropped our guard to a point where it was worse than I believe the government thought it would be. You know, is it going to happen again? Itís going to happen again. I believe itís going to happen again. I believe itís going to happen in places like the mall where any clown could bring a back pack, put it down, go shopping in American Eagle and walk out of the mall as if he forgot his bag and now you have a bombing in a mall. Now you have a bombing on a bus. Whoís going to stop that?

Carla: They say that they can check your bags, but how many times do they really check your bags?

Derrick: Nobody does, nobody does. You know what they say, the airport, I just came back I was away for a while. There are bags laying all over the airport, all over the airport floor. Then you hear the announcement, if anybody sees any unclaimed baggage, please let us know. Yeah right, yeah right. If you see anything suspicious happening, yeah right. You know, yeah, that guy looks suspicious. Who am I, who are we the regular civilians to be saying that guy looks suspicious.

Carla: Oh why, because his skin is a little darker than mine?

Derrick: Exactly, did that guy who did the Oklahoma City bombing look suspicious? Right? Timothy McVeigh? Did he look suspicious? He looked like a regular guy! How could you pick them up? Thatís why we canít, we canít protect ourselves against terrorism. The war against terrorism I feel is something weíre not used to fighting. The people who have it every day yeah, they might be a little bit prepared. Weíre a bunch of letís go get our nails done. Like I was saying you know we live in a world where, I donít think weíre prepared for terrorism. I tell my kids now and Iíve done for a while, you go into a movie theater. You get your seat, you know what? It takes 2 minutes where is the exit if somebody behind me yells something? Which way am I going out? Which way am I leaving? I go into a restaurant, I want to know where the other exit is. Because these things, theyíre going to happen, theyíre going to happen. I was at fires where, I was at the Happy Land fire, where I think it was 56 people died, because they only knew of one exit. The one they came in at. Now the few people that did live, who went out the other exit were fine. That was a, that wasnít terrorism that was just a spiteful somebody doing something but they fire bombed and these people couldnít get out. Now, if you keep your head, and you walk into the theater and you say alright listen, I came in that door there but either one of these is going to take me out to the street. Just be prepared.

Carla: Do you think that would have worked for people that were working in 9/11?

Derrick: I think, I think they give you that crap about whoís the fire warden? And youíre the guy on the floor. What kind of training does that guy have? What is he going to be able to do? Not that, not that he would have been able to or heís responsible for saving anybodyís life. But itís nice to know and you got to take it upon yourself, you canít rely on anybody else. Be aware of what your surroundings are. I walk in somewhere, I look, I donít like what I see. Iím far from living in fear. I donít live in fear, I go do everything that I was doing before 9/11 and Iím going to continue doing it, but Iím aware, I was aware before, now Iím a little bit more aware.

Carla: So you feel more aware because you are a fireman?

Derrick: Right, right itís just that, thatís the way youíre brought up, and you want to know. I even tell my kids, everything you know look at the situation and see what goes on you know, whatís going on around you. Donít have everybody running ahhh, ahhh, look around see what youíre going to do because you know, your cool head can save your life and possibly someone elseís and thatís how I feel about even going in the mall. You go in the mall and you know what? You see a couple of people and they donít look right, Iím not saying oh God Iím scared of them, Iím going to walk on the other side, no. Just be aware, what, if something should happen, what youíre going to do. Youíre going to grab your kid, forget your bag, forget the things that you bought, whatever. Handle yourself. Just being aware, weíll be a little bit more protected. Because they donít, like I said they donít care for their lives so you could imagine what they think of yours.

Carla: They couldnít care less. And thatís what it is how they also, the guys driving the planes, thatís how they were brought up, they died for their country and theyíre going to heaven.

Derrick: They think, to their country they are heroes. Just a short time after 9/11, when they were filming you know, the story of the buildings collapsing, they had kids, our kidsí ages, jumping up and down in the street, stamping all over our flag. Get ready because those kids are the next generation. Theyíre going to come up and they think, they think itís great. So youíre not, youíre not going to stop. This thing is not going to stop; itís always going to be around. I just believe itís time for us to start saying, hey letís, you know letís start preparing ourselves.

Carla: So you feel like nothing was done. Do you feel they did a little bit but didnít follow through

Derrick: Yeah, they did, yeah forget it. You know what? Iím just one of those guys who likes to try things just to see if it could happen, I believe I could bring things, you know what I mean? If three people walked with each piece of something and met or sat in different seats under different names, you donít think they could create something to bring on a plane to bring the plane down? Like I said we went away. They pull up hereís my bag. Right, yeah what do you think Iím going to tell you thereís a bomb in here? Yeah, thereís a bomb in here. Oh now Iím arrested. Itís ridiculous. They have people as theyíre bullshitting with someone else, yeah, yeah come on, come on, go through, go through, go through. They donít care for us, you think they care if a child--children are never checked. All three of my kids walked right on, not checked, nothing. You know they feel that, you donít think that a wacko could put a bomb on, the whole plane is going down anyway, theyíre all dying anyway so is it a difference if the kidís got a bomb strapped to him? Heís dying anyway whatís the difference how? You know why, because itís on him, he might live? So theyíre, theyíre just not watching. You watch our airports security, itís terrible. So still till this day, I get on the plane, yeah, like I said, I still go away on vacation; I still do everything but you say to yourself it could happen anytime, anywhere. And I and I donít think we could do enough to stop it. UnlessÖ

Carla: You donít feel weíre prepared?

Derrick: No, weíre not prepared, weíre not prepared for another attack, no. My opinion our next time we get attacked will be one of our holy days and I believe that only because these people are extremely holy. That, they, you know what I mean? I believe now weíre going to hit you on your holy day and this is going to be the way theyíre going to show you thereís no day thatís going to be safe for you. Right, I just think that, I just think that weíre going to welcome ourselves into a whole new world, and this whole new world is going to be youíre going to be living with terrorism like they do. Right, I also find it hard to believe that you know, that they know where a lot of these people are, they know exactly where to go to get them but yet these people are just walking the streets. You know now the fire department families who have lost people are wondering, what are you doing man? You knew this guy was doing this, you knew these guys were taking flight lessons?

Carla: Yeah the flight lessons, donít you think thatís a little sketchy like how America was so open to letting everybody do everything?

Derrick: No, because you know why? You know why? How much is a flight lesson? $500 dollars? Just give me that money. Yeah Iím more than happy to take your money, Iíll teach you how to fly.

Carla: So you think if we had better airport security that dayÖ

Derrick: That day if you had better airport security and these guys canít bring knives on the plane. They had knives, they had weapons. Now as much as you might say a box cutter is not weapon, well nobodyís charging you if Iím going to start slashing at you, so itís a weapon? How did they get into the cabin? How did they get into that cabin? I thought you couldnít get into that cabin to get to get to the thing. So what clown doesnít, donít get me wrong, itís not the captainís fault, itís just the way weíve learned to live. Iím flying Americans back all day, nobodyís going to hijack me, nobodyís going to hijack. So I say, every plane sit a guy up front, back to the captainís door, give him a gun, give him a gun, what do you got a box cutter? Everybody should be, every plane that takes off whatever it costs, put a man with a gun on the plane. Put a security, and Iím not talking about the guy who stands in the bank the 67 years old, retired. Iím talking about a trained guy to sit there, not to nod out on the two hour flight; sit there. All Iím doing is looking at 56 passengers down the row, thatís it. Hereís what Iím doing, thatís it. You want to get up, get up. You better have a better weapon than a box cutter, because I got a gun. Now, if you canít get a gun on the plane, no you can do whatever you want, poof thatís it. You know, youíre going to stop them.

Carla: But I think that the government wonít do that, because that would scare us. I think that they hide, you donít think they hide stuff from us?

Derrick: Do you see the people walking in Manhattan? Did you see Times Square, New Years? Theyíre all walking around with machine guns. Well if weíre going to still fill Times Square and itís a party thing and anybody knows at any given time, Times Square could have been a perfect hit again. If it didnít stop all those peopleÖ no, I donít think, I donít think police officers walking on the platform with machine guns would bother me. Actually, Iíll walk right with them because itís not going to be a one guy with one gun, and thatís how youíre going to protect us and I say do it, I say do it. If it means you got to hire more people...

Carla: A lot of the complaints are time. Like to check every personís bags, to check every personís carry on, everything.

Derrick: You know what? I was on line, I was coming in from Puerto Rico and of course you canít you know, they got to check everything. Let me ask you something, would it bother you to know youíre going to be on line for two hours instead of the regular one hour but yet itís going to be safe?

Carla: Yes, it wouldnít bother me.

Derrick: Iíll get to the airport an hour earlier, itís not a big deal for me to get there.

Carla: Right, because everybody gets there early anyway.

Derrick: Right, so now you check in and you go for breakfast, whatís the big deal? And if thatís the way youíre brought up, just like our kids today are brought up to put on a seat belt. My kids jump in the car now you donít tell them to put on the seat belt. All they know is to put on the seat belt. So thatís the way itís brought up, itís the two hours at the airport, period. You donít like it? You donít go. Right, thatís it. I think, I donít think thereís anything wrong with that. And if you donít think you could give up an hour of your time to land safely or not kill thirty-five hundred people then youíre in the wrong place, youíre in the wrong country. Go over there. Itís --everything is so quick; we think that if youíre not moving quick, youíre not getting anything done.

Carla: Yeah, well thatís how our countryís philosophy is so different from everybody elseís.

Derrick: Yeah, and they knew it, they knew it. Weíre, weíre just mass production, get them in, get them out. Fill the plane go, take off, next plane, next plane, next plane.

Carla: Yeah, well Bush also had a meeting I think it was with Bin Laden or one of them, so they would come into our county, so they see how we work, the see how our president is.

Derrick: Weíre a joke, weíre a joke. Am I not right by saying they flew all their people out of here right after 9/11, why? You didnít want to keep anybody here and find out what the hell is going on? No, letís get them out of here and back to their country, why? I want them here, I want to find out whatís going on. You know what? They just killed thirty-five hundred civilians, actually when that building came down I turned and I told my buddies I was with, I thought fifty thousand people would be dead. I figured fifty thousand; I figured God knows how many people are in those buildings. I never even imagined how many people.

Carla: Because you didnít think, because then again it also said a lot on the news, that the bosses were telling people you stay or youíre going to get fired. And people would stay.

Derrick: Right, you canít do that, you canít do that. And you know then maybe the guy felt, maybe these people felt, you know that it would never happen. Right, but Iím going to tell you right now, and I tell everybody, you got to make your own decisions and thatís why I say be aware. Youíre in a building thatís on fire, youíre in a theater that someone, thereís a problem with, donít rely on somebody oh you know itís not a big deal, donít worry about it, you got to watch for yourself.

Carla: And as Americans we donít.

Derrick: We donít. We expect everybody else to pick up the brunt and you know what, oh heíll get it, heíll take this, heíll do, no you got to watch for yourself and it should always be like that. Because whatís going to happen is one day your ass is going to be on the line, and the guy whoís telling you, like in situations like that, where youíre safe here, you could have been out of there. There were a lot of people, when that other building got hit, when the first building got hit everybody should have got out. Get out of there, donít watch it, donít film it, donít think this is great, donít call your friend and say oh man this is unbelievable. We got a problem here, you know, get out of here. Everybody had hope.

Carla: Yeah, you think they should have dispatched it, like to the whole building?

Derrick: Immediately, immediately. I think Port Authority should have told, and itís not their fault because again, nobodyís trained, no because we werenít prepared for it. So now we turn around and you tell everybody, get out, get on the street and get the heck out of here. I know people in the other building, a guy who lives into my backyard. Soon as the plane hit, down, ferry, home. He was, he was on the ferry by the time the second plane hit. He says I ainít staying here, thereís nothing I could do now anyway. Business is not operating, business is not operating. The fire department has got control of the buildings now, get out of there. Thereís nothing youíre going to do. Whatís your boss going to say, you shouldnít have left, youíre fired. You know what then? Fire me, fire me. You were so worried about what people are going to say, what people are going to do, and you know should I have been afraid, maybe I shouldnít have left. Do what you feel is right, get the heck out of there, get another job tomorrow. The easiest thing, you know so. Yeah, you got to be aware, you got to be aware and thatís in everything. Thatís standing on the corner, thatís standing on the corner as traffic is going by, be aware! Donít be goofing off with your friends. I went to several incidents where people were bumped into and fell on, fell on the tracks. Accidently bumped or pushed, or two kids throwing a football on the platform bump into somebody, that person falls on the track. So we go to a lot of that. And I tell my son who travels back and forth by train now, step back, the train is coming step back let everybody push to get their one seat door opens walk in, youíll be fine. But the second you turn your back and youíre horsing around and somebody trips or falls or you trip over a book bag, thatís laying on the floor, be aware. Thatís it and thatís all it is; thatís what weíre going to have to live with. Being aware of whatís going on around us. And you got to protect yourself and your family and then the people around you. And if I see things I would let people know, so.

Carla: Thatís what it is, how many people when they tell you to go say something, really go to other people look itís not safe get out of here?

Derrick: Right, no. Nobody would do that, nobody would do that. I, you know, we see telephone wires down or wires from telephone poles down you know, people oh, this is nothing, this is the cable you know what? So itís the cable, do you have to be that close? Maybe it ainít the cable, maybe you made a mistake, why do you got to be that close, walk around it, stay on the other side of the street. You donít have to, oh let me go see whatís going on over there. You know, itís, weíre bad, weíre bad.

Carla: How do you feel about the war?

Derrick : I like the war. You know Iím not, I can't say everything we are doing is one hundred percent, but I believe military wise we have to have one. We canít be pushed around. Iím not even sure of all the issues and how true they are. I donít even know how true they are. Maybe three years down the road or ten years down the road the story might come out of really why we were there. I was drafted for Vietnam. Did I know we shouldnít have been there at that time? No, Iím a high school kid, Iím graduating, Iím getting out, youíre going to Vietnam. Thatís the story you know. Um, did that war prove to be wrong? Yeah, but what would happen if we didnít? I donít know, you know what I mean? Politically, Iím going to tell you right now, firemen, cops, politically, theyíre not that interested in that kind of stuff thatís going on. Do we agree with everything thatís going on? Nobody wants to send their kid to war, you know but the reason why youíre here living like youíre living is because there were kids before us that went to war. And thatís what I tell my son yeah, you know we went to Vietnam, we went to Vietnam for a purpose. Weíre believing our government, weíre believing our president, this is what heís telling us has to be done, letís go. So what winds up happening now, is these, these wars whoís saying itís over oil, whoís saying oh if we donít do this, you know this is going to happen, you know. So I, you got to believe somebody. Who do you, I donít know how true everything is up there. You know.

Carla: Do you think we waited too long to retaliate?

Derrick: Yeah. That...

Carla: Do you think we should have went like the next day?

Derrick: That day, that day. The fighters should have been up and going in and you have to, I believe, Iím one of those tit for tat, an eye for an eye guy. You have to go in there and let them know and let every other country know you cannot come in here and do that. And I know we have too many liberals to say we canít kill their women and children, but you know what that wasnít thought about when they did it to ours. So you got to go in there and I believe, I would have made that place a desert. There would have been nothing standing there. I donít mean bombing some hills looking for one guy. Weíre bombing hills, what are you getting? Letís see if we could find Bin Laden, thatís another thing. I canít believe they canít find one guy, thatís ridiculous. I donít get it. I donít even know if they want to get him. I donít even know if they want to get him.

Carla: They might be using it as an excuse.

Derrick: Exactly, exactly. Thereís something else going on that theyíre saying they canít find him but maybe, maybe they know everything about him, maybe they know his whereabouts, maybe you donít even know. Thereís great material to write a book, you know. But I donít think, I donít think we should have let them get away. I believe they got away with it, they got away with it. And every, every widow feels this, every widow I spoke to felt like they came in here, they came into our backyard, beat us up and left. And we allowed that to happen and like I said you could have went in there, you could have devastated that country and then I donít care if you find Bin Laden. Because there is nothing left. Why didnít they go get Bin Ladenís wife? They knew where she was.

Carla: Why didnít they get her? And they could have tortured her and said youíll get her back when we get him.

Derrick: We want him. Theyíre cutting heads off, off of our journalists. Like itís, you know what? You could do that and now liberals are crying that we were going to go in there and hurt a couple of possible civilians. They just, I donít get it. And I knew the longer it went the softer we were going to be. Itís like you being mad at someone, at your mom, and next week ehhh, itís not that big of a deal.

Carla: If we had done it that day we would have accomplished something.

Derrick: That day, as vicious as can be, go in there and take them down. You know who it was, there was no secret. I donít believe it was a secret, we knew exactly who and what. I just donít believe they knew how bad it was going to come. And actually if that building doesnít come down with that first plane, and they put that fire out, and the casualty number is two hundredÖ

Carla: Compared to thirty-five.

Derrick: Right, and you know what and the fire department, and weíll rebuild what was destroyed on the thing, and the fire department doesnít lose the amount of men that it lost, it goes you know, no big deal. But because of the impact that itís going to have, itís I think that uh, we definitely didnít respond the way people are happy.

Carla: Well donít you think that as America, we should have, you know weíre brought up in the sense that we are safe. Nothing like this can happen. Regardless if something like this should happen, we are you know one of the biggest countries in the world, with the most money, the most everything; weíre a very powerful country. How could we not be able to retaliate? Like you know or have a sense--all these government agenciesÖ

Derrick: Because every time, it seems to me every time they want to spend money on the military people think itís a waste of money. Thereís x amount of dollars to be allotted for the military well you know, we havenít really been in a war. God knows, Desert Storm, but that was joke war that was fought with computers. You know what I mean? We are sending out missals eh, you know what I mean? Hit it, hit it, hit it. So, so we werenít really aware of a real street fight war; this is a street fight war. We donít know how to fight like this. These are people like I said walking around on your buses with bombs we donít fight like that. We fight, okay let me see the strategy, we come up over this hill you come up over here. Thatís how we fight so, so I think if you would have went in there and you would have devastated them, you think the next country would even think about planting a bomb on a bus or a tunnel. Whatís next the bridges, the tunnels? You know what I mean, your water supply? You know, whatís next? So if they, and all kidding aside, I donít know what they could put in but, you think anybody is watching these water supplies? You think anybodyís watching these reservoirs? Whoís watching that? So you just donít know whatís next. And Iím not saying to have somebody posted everywhere, but start to make things a little bit more secure because as the years progress and you get into this war, this terrorism war. Youíre going to have to be protected. Youíre going to have to protect people because otherwise once they stop you from doing what youíve normally done, and youíre not living the so called American way, and doing what you want when you want, saying what you want, writing what you want, reading what you want, theyíve won. Theyíve won because youíre not living in America. Youíre not free anymore; youíre living in fear. You canít say Bush is a jerk, or you know you canít do that. You canít do that over there, they donít go for that. You canít pick what religion you want to be. So once they get in to a point where they are going to stop us from living and writing. You could write a book about Bush tomorrow. You could call him everything you want, nobodyís even going to come up to your house, knock on your door.

Carla: But if you did that about Bin LadenÖ

Derrick: Youíre dead, youíre dead. So no if, if we donít fight for those things that we took thousands of years to get, you donít have anything. You know you donít have anything; you donít have a choice to do anything. You know they all turned around and said listen, this is our religion and this is what youíre going to follow, whether you believe it or not, this is what weíre doing. Donít let me catch you walking around with a cross on your neck. That ainít happening! Or a tattoo of Jesus. That ainít happening! This is what we-weíve lost then. And you know the reason why? They hate us is because we could do whatever we want. You think that little kid jumping up and down, burning the flag, stamping, yelling, you know laughing at USA, you think he has any clue of whatís going on? No, heís just seeing the fathers and the parents and his older brother. Thatís what he knows. And if you would have, and I would have had, I got to be honest with you, after I left 9/11 and I saw the devastation and after you knock on door after door and tell that wife and those kids that your dad ainít coming home, I would have had no problem seeing those people being like that. And thatís how bitter most of the fire department was. Because we went to funerals, we were going to one funeral at nine oíclock, jumping on a bus, heading to Long Island for the two oíclock funeral and after that then you went to a wake the night, the next night for one of your buddies. And then you went back to Ground Zero and dug again, and it was never ending. And itís still never ending.

Carla: So you did it for two weeks right?

Derrick: Two straight weeks and then you know, you almost had to sneak back down there. Because now they didnít want anybody down there. They were trying to organize a little bit more. Um, so Matt and I we snuck down there you know what I mean? We got down there, we went down there, yeah uh, you know weíre uh, fire department, weíre supposed to be with this group right here. Itís illegal but you know, we didnít want to know that. We wanted to know Iím going to help and do whatever I want and if it means just giving out you know, water; Iím giving out water for the guys that are there. Because theyíre there eight hours, digging stopping for lunch, washing up and digging again. Are they going to find anybody alive? No, but are they going to be able to tell me Iím bringing home Billy OíKeefe today? Yes.

Carla: Billy OíKeefe lived around the block.

Derrick: Right.

Carla: That was my friendís father; she went to high school with me, Kaitlin.

Derrick: Kaitlin and Tara were the ones I was talking about that was getting her belly button pierced and Billy says who do you like, who, who should I go to? You got a tattoo, who should we go to? I got to her house, yeah, I got to her house before her mother got home, I came to the door and she knew why I was there. And thatís the perfect thing I was telling you about. Her mom happened to be out, she had a doctorís appointment and when she returned home, Iím sitting on her couch with her daughter crying. And thatís the guy I drove for the five years. It was his eulogy I gave. And thatís what I was saying, you think thatís easy? Thatís what Iím saying, people donít realize how it affected everybody. Now I donít know her well enough to say has her attitude changed on being prejudice? Did, does she feel she doesnít want to be in the carÖ so I donít know how it changed for those people. I know how it changed for the people Iím able to speak with all the time. But, it might, like I said it snowballed to the point where itís never ending.

Carla: Like in the news the other day, how that woman doesnít want, I forgot who it was, that woman, about that guy that they want to prosecute. How she doesnít want to do it because she sees how itís a vicious cycle.

Derrick: Yeah well, is there going to be any punishment for people who do something wrong, or if thereís not going to be any punishment, itís like me trying to tell my kids you know, if you donít do your homework I have to punish you. You canít have television. Well if he doesnít do his homework and I donít do anything, do you think heís doing it tomorrow night? Heís not going to do it tomorrow night. And itís just going to go on and on. And from not doing your homework one day and maybe not doing your work when, when you go to work, ttís just going to progress to a point where now what did we produce? A bunch of nobodies. You know what I mean? A bunch of people who donít care about anything. So you have to do something and like I said with Kaitlin and Tara, you know that sucked for me to go in there, you know? And I was at every company picnic with these kids growing up.

Carla: And you know what? Kaitlin, I remember, Kaitlin was in my homeroom and I didnít see her for like two months and it was so sad, because my father had died only three months before that. So you know what I mean? So we were both in the same position and I was just like oh my God, like I didnít take it, I guess because of the way it happened, as hard. You know?

Derrick: Right, but you could think and realizeÖ I mean simple things, simple things like she had a flat tire you know what? Dad used to come out and change that flat tire for her. You know, now theyíre lost. Theyíre three girls in there, three girls, two dogs and what do you do now? You know so that had an effect on her. And years to come down the road when her kids are reading the history books and reading about oh my God, your uncle was there, you know what I mean or your grandfather was there, you know what I mean? Your so and so passed away there you know trying to help people. And that has an effect on everybody. So thatís what Iím saying, years down the road, this is going, this is going to affect whether it be physical from breathing this stuff in or mental from you just sitting home and saying you know oh terrorism oh it could happen anytime. You could just freak out just being home, just sitting. We did the same thing, every time a plane passed by, we look oh, oh man thatís you know?

Carla: Oh as you were digging?

Derrick: Yeah, we didnít know what was going on. Yeah, they had coppers flying around, they had jets all over, I says well theyíre not going to hit here again, but you know what, how about the people in L.A.? What do they do? Office buildings closed all over. Disney emptied out. You know that could happen anytime. But now what because 9/11 is over, they canít hit Disney? What makes you think you know? Iím not even sure about the whole conspiracy thing about maybe we shot down that other plane. For all I know, the one that crashed in the field in Philadelphia.

Carla: The one thatís a new movie?

Derrick: Could we have shot it down? Could we have gotten right on the side of them and told them, hey you know, weíre right here, land the plane. No, not landing it. Land the plane or then we got to take you down, and whoever has to die on that plane has to die. Weíll save thousands for the, I donít even know how many were on the plane. Itís sad to say but Iím not even sure how many were on the plane, you know. Those guys, those guys, those, even the women on the plane are they heroes? Yeah, they could have saved thousands of people. Because God knows if that would have went into, even if it doesnít, even if it doesnít hit the White House, maybe it hits downtown Philadelphia. What you canít do thirty five hundred people worth of damage? You know what I mean? The same thing so you know? What do I believe? Iím not even sure, but I couldnít go to court saying I donít believe either way, because Iíve always had reasonable doubt that it could be and I canít say a hundred percent. There will always be, there will always be, did he know? Did Bush know? He could have, could I say he definitely didnít? He canít. I donít know what they knew. And they ainít going to tell you, I donít believe theyíre going to tell you. I donít believe theyíre trying to play a game with me. The bottom line is you got to be a little annoyed with our government due to the fact that I donít want to know that you knew something was going to happen and you didn't know it was going to be as bad as it is. That doesnít help. That isnít helping these people who you know, lost husbands, fathers, sons, and daughters so I am a little annoyed. If I ever did find out truly that we definitely knew it was going to happen and we let it, then I think that we were let down as American people. I think we were let down; we put these people into office to protect us also, I mean you know what I mean? Theyíre there for protection. Out military is there to protect us. If theyíre going to allow things to happen to us, so that the price of oil could drop or we could get more of it or we could have more fields so we could plant on to feed us, then youíre doing the wrong thing. Then weíre taking a turn the wrong way. We got to make do with what we have? Well then we got to make do with what we have. And you know what I mean? If we have to rely on another country for something and we canít get along with them, well then we canít allow them to bomb us because well they supply us. Because if thatís the case, we got to, we got to try and come up economically with other solutions you know? And be dependent upon ourselves. And you know but that to me, every American, if everybody found that out, every American would be sick, that thirty five hundred people died because we want to bring down the price of oil ten cents a barrel. But you know itís ridiculous. Iíll pay the ten cents, bring me back thirty five hundred people. Weíre in an economy where we could make as much money as we want. So like I was saying, it would be devastating to, I believe, to America to find out that weíre going to allow stuff like that to happen, just for a dollar value because thereís really no value you could put on someoneís life.

Carla: That has a lot to do with that weíre a capitalist country.

Derrick: And I have to go along with some of the decisions made and I donít believe everything that should be made and they spend money on certain things that I donít think are right. But if, if that ever did you know come out and that was then, then youíve lost all faith in your country. It would be ridiculous so but I donít think Bush is any better or any worse than anybody else who would be in there. I donít think uh, if you had somebody who was a little bit more cooler, uh, might not have went to war. I donít know for sure if Bush was looking for a reason to jump in there and maybe this was the reason; hey, letís let something happen, weíll jump into war and thatíll justify the reason why weíre there. I donít know, I donít think anybody knows except the people in that white building and youíre not going to get the truth out of them until years down the road when one guy decides I donít have as much money as I think I have, Iím going to write a little book and thatís when itís going to start to come back out again. Until then, I have to believe what Iím being told, I don't have to accept it but I have to go with you know, this is the reason why heís doing this thing. In our country we are able to vote for the guy we think best suited for that thing. I know many times youíre taking the lesser of two evils, that thereís two shmoes running up there. What do you do? These are our choices. You canít, you know at least we have a choice.

Carla: So, who would be better? Would John Kerry be better than Bush?

Derrick: Right, would the vote have went better if Gore would have won Florida? I donít know, I donít know. For all I know, Gore could have been a moron and did nothing. I donít know. Itís very, very easy to make comment now because you donít have the opportunity for both these things to happen in the same situation with two guys as your leader, so how do you know who would have done what? You know, you go along with it. And all the people saying well you know what? I donít want Bush okay well the next time it comes around we vote again you pick the other guy. Am I going to be able to turn around and say you shouldnít have picked this guy? You donít know. Youíre just you know, you take a chance at the guy you think best suited for that, you know for that thing. And you see what happens. Footballís a perfect example, hey letís draft this guy as our number one draft choice. Heís the quarterback; he bombs out go to plan B. Thereís no plan B for the president; itís four years becomes plan B, by that time who knows what went on. So weíre, I donít mean to say weíre stuck, you know itís what it is, and weíre just going to have to deal with it you know, and hope maybe someday we get a choice or something that, uh, brings us back up to the top, where we should be as Americans and you know thatís it.



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