Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Today marks the sixth anniversary of the collapse of the World Trade Center after a coordinated terrorist attack, which also included the crash of an airliner in a field in Pennsylvania and another one that slammed into the side of the Pentagon. The Twin Towers were destroyed by two airliners which the al Quaeda plotters hijacked out of Boston.

A month after the collapse, I did my own small tribute to the memory of those who died that day by inducting the Twin Towers into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

The following details are courtesy of Wikipedia:

There were 2,974 fatalities, not including the 19 hijackers: 246 on the four planes (no one on board any of the hijacked aircraft survived), 2,603 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon.

Among the fatalities were 341 New York City Fire Department firefighters, 2 New York City Fire Department paramedics, 6 private ambulance personnel, 23 New York City Police Department officers, and 37 Port Authority Police Department officers. 1366 people died who were at or above the floors of impact in the North Tower (1 WTC). According to the Commission Report, hundreds were killed instantly by the impact while the rest were trapped and died after the tower collapsed.

As many as 600 people were killed instantly or trapped at or above the floors of impact in the South Tower (2 WTC). Only about 18 managed to escape in time from above the impact zone and out of the South Tower before it collapsed.

At least 200 people jumped to their deaths from the burning towers, landing on the streets and rooftops of adjacent buildings hundreds of feet below. To witnesses watching, a few of the people falling from the towers seemed to have stumbled out of broken windows. Some of the occupants of each tower above its point of impact made their way upward toward the roof in hope of helicopter rescue, however; no rescue plan existed for such an eventuality, the roof access doors were locked and thick smoke and intense heat would have prevented rescue helicopters from landing.

Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., an investment bank on the 101st–105th floors of One World Trade Center, lost 658 employees, considerably more than any other employer. Marsh Inc., located immediately below Cantor Fitzgerald on floors 93–101 (the location of Flight 11's impact), lost 295 employees, including one on Flight 175. Additionally, Marsh lost 38 consultants.

Approximately 400 rescue workers, most of them of the FDNY, died when the towers collapsed.

It's just my poor opinion, of course, but I don't think the hijackers should ever be included in the tally of those who died.

In the TV Universe, the number of the dead keeps rising each year as more and more shows create fictional characters who were killed in the various attacks - among them, Cousin Jimmy of 'Rescue Me', Mac Taylor's wife on 'CSI: NY', and the wife of a hostage taker in an episode of 'Without A Trace', for example.

As this is a blog dedicated to the fictional life of the alternate universe known as Toobworld, I'd like to memorialize one of those victims who had no life outside of Television, never forgetting the thousands of real people who did perish that day.

In a way, the character I've chosen probably summarizes the collected perception of the victims of 9/11: just one lost among the thousands who perished that day, remembered mostly by only those who knew him and loved him when he was alive, but whose name is invoked today in the roll call of the honored dead (as seen on TV this morning all up and down the dial).

In fact, I don't even know this character's name. His mother's name is Naomi, and she lives in Connecticut. He was probably raised there as well, but moved down to New York City after college - perhaps he was a UConn grad like myself and Becky Howe of 'Cheers'? - to work in the financial district.

He was born January 21, 1964, which made him 37 years old when he died. He had his own office in the World Trade Center; one that faced north, as it had a spectacular view of Manhattan. It could be that it was high enough in the Towers that he might have been an employee with Cantor Fitzgerald or Marsh, Inc. At the very least, he worked for the televersion of a company similar to those corporations.

He went into the office early that day because he had a company meeting at nine. But he was there with enough time to spare so that he was able to call home to Connecticut and talk to his mother. There was no way to know what was to come; and therefore there was no need for either of them to say those things we all regret not having said after it's too late. They talked about the mundane - the weather, the upcoming weekend, what was planned for dinner that night, a trip he was going to make... the stuff that makes up Life.

And then he was gone. Off to the meeting, and then gone forever.

On January 21st, 2004, in order to remember him on what would have been his fortieth birthday, Naomi took the train down from Connecticut to finally see the spot where he died, what was now that gaping, empty space in the sky. (She would have taken the car, but now in her later years she had a habit of backing up into people.)

However, she got lost on the subway and ended up taking an uptown train on the East Side. Luckily she ran into a doctor by the name of John Becker ,who begrudgingly took her to her destination - Chambers Street. Once there, seeing that she could not summon the strength to go upstairs, only then did Dr. Becker learn why she was in Manhattan that day. Instead of rushing back to the Bronx to his practice and to his friends, he chose to stay with Naomi as she remembered the son she lost just over two years before.

[Naomi's story was seen in the 'Becker' episode "Subway Story", written by Steven Peterman and Gary Dontzig and directed by Ian Gurvitz. Frances Sternhagen, who played Mrs. Clavin on 'Cheers', played Naomi, which reunited her with Ted Danson as John Becker, who played Sam Malone on 'Cheers'.]

Toby OB

"I can't wrap my head around it, Mac.
You get up, you go to work, see the people that you know, you talk, you laugh.
You're living your life, then suddenly, boom. It's just over.
Just like that, and you never even saw it coming
Danny Messer

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