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Seth Gilman

On that fateful day I was awakened by a phone call. At the time I had just gotten my bachelors degree in Production Management from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. I was still in the process of deciding if I was going into television production, becoming a New York City Police Officer, or pursuing a master’s degree in Education so that I could become a teacher. I was 22 years old. I also was and still am a New York City Auxiliary Police Officer. That January I had been promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

I was awakened by a phone call. One of my officers called me and in a panicked voice told me “Sarge, Sarge, turn on the TV.”

I flagged down a taxi and after some convincing that I was not going all the way downtown, took me to my command. I was working out of the 13th Precinct at the time.

As we stepped out of the station house the first tower fell. Everyone was mobilized. It was a very hectic day. We helped to turn around all traffic so that even 2nd Avenue became an uptown street. By the end of the day most of lower Manhattan was emptied out. It was like a ghost town as you got further downtown. They needed help escorting out-of-town iron workers to the site. We knew where we had to go so we took our police car and went downtown.

I would later attend 19 funerals for friends, people I knew, and strangers who wore a uniform similar to me and who were in that way related to me.

Those are my memories of that day. I teach it to my students each and every year and will until the day I die. My friends are gone but they will never, ever be forgotten.