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Remembering 9-11

September 18, 2013
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

I had the opportunity to see the piece of the Twin Towers on display in Bonita Springs Riverside Park. The emotions that it brought from me was surprising after so many years.

Like many people I still remember what I was doing when it happened. I worked for New York State Parks and Historic Restoration in Central New York. My crew started work at 7 a.m. We were working in a man lift restoring the outside of one of the buildings at Fort Ontario on Lake Ontario. I was called on the radio by our park manager and told to come to the office immediately!

What was going on? I had never been summoned like that before. On entering his office I saw the TV on and a simulation of a plane hitting a skyscraper. As I watched the broadcast was interrupted by live video of a plane hitting the second tower. I looked at everyone in the office for explanation? They told me. I couldn't believe it.

I had friends and family that lived there and worked in the towers. I called my wife, and she told me she was already trying to contact people. While talking to her, we got a call from the head office in Albany and told to secure our site; it could be a target. We park dump trucks and heavy equipment in front of gates and entrances, then dismissed all employees. Once this was done I was told to go home and check in in the morning.

At home, we managed to locate family, but some friends were still missing. One of the guys I knew in the transportation department was gone.

I was raised in a municipal household. My father was a police dispatcher, my uncle a police seargent, my brother a fireman, and others in the family were troopers and deputies. When I was in New York State service, I had the privilege of representing many of these folks in Civil Service Union negotiations. These men and woman perform their duties under the worst conditions with our and their lives often on the line. When I see what these people were willing to do in the performance of their duty I am very proud.

To all of them thank you.

John Paeno

Bonita Springs



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