The tragedy was greater than we knew

I used to go fishing frequently.  Since I was not very good at it, I spent most of my time doing nothing.

As a result, I would ‘chat up’ nearby fishermen.

One day, I started conversing with a short, muscular gentleman with a thick Russian accent.  As our trust level built, he shared a remarkable story.

He had made a living working in New York City, climbing to the highest peaks of the tallest skyscrapers, changing light fixtures. He worked in the rain, the wind, the sleet, and the snow.

He was the only one in his company who would do this; therefore, he made a lot of money.

He was changing the lighting on a TV tower in lower Manhattan one beautiful September day when he observed a  low flying jet from a distance. He continued to watch as the jet streaked across the sky with a deadly purpose, and spectacularly crashed into the world trade center.

The man carefully put his tools away, but before he finished, the second plane hit.

This Russian immigrant had a difficult time expressing in English the level of horror he experienced at that moment. As he spoke to me, his eyes misted up and his fists clenched.

So, he descended the ladder, and never went back up.

He no longer could climb the tall buildings.  He could not even climb a stepladder in his living room.

September 11, 2001 was the last day this man ever worked.  He went on disability at a fraction of his previous income.

At the urging of his boss, he made a few attempts at a comeback, but it never worked out.  He just couldn’t do it. At this point, the Russian completed his story.

I find it a bit spooky. If those jets had never crashed into the World Trade Center, I would never have met this man. And my life would have been  a litle less rich.

I never saw the Russian man again. But everytime I think of 911, I think of him. I hope to see him again sometime.


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