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RIP Capt John Ogonowski & Crew AAL 11 9-11-01

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My only inspection that day was in Danvers, MA, 1pm. It was a crisp, clear, fall day... the morning... was a nightmare of course..

The subject house was a complex jumble of additions created over many years... hard to concentrate..

The owners had the wide-screen on one of the networks ..and the owners were in tears.. On-screen was the brother of Capt Ogonowski and he was remarking what a great guy his late brother was.

The Ogonowskis were 'townies' from Danvers, MA. The homeowners were personal friends of his... The inspection probably took 2 hours, but it felt like an eternity. They did not want to cancel it.. (I tried). (Relo job) Strangest inspection I have ever done.

Capt Ogonowski was revered in town because of the farm he ran on his days off as a pilot.

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I was getting ready to leave for a job. I was still working under the non-compete more than 25 miles from home at the time. I got a call from the guy that was working with me at the time. When I answered the phone he said, "Turn the TV on - We're at War!" and he hung up.



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I was in the middle of a refrigeration service call at a small store when I stopped to see what a small crowd of folks were watching on a tv. The store owner was also a good friend and told me the twin towers were gone. I said 'Whatdaya mean gone? Skyscrapers just don't disappear. He said 'Dey just gone'. I didn't get the full meaning until hours later.


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Very cold day, thirty-nine degrees and clear as a bell. Vacant four square that was a mess in a small villiage for a National Guard family. He got the notice that he was activated near the end of inspection.

It was an important day in our history. Lots of heros and even more innocent bystanders.

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I live in a town that is about 15 miles from NYC.

I was in my architecture office and my wife called to tell me that an airplane hit one of the towers. I did not have a TV in my office so I turned on a NY news radio station.

At the time we were working on a custom house design for a principal of an investment firm that was located on one of the top floors of the South Tower.

We were all listening to the radio when the South Tower fell. I closed my office and we all went home.

My wife and I went to the elementry school and took our kids out of class because we did not want them to be there when parents started to come in and get their children to tell them that their dad or mom was missing.

We watched the news for the rest of the day with horror. We did not allow our boys to watch.

The next day I called my client to see if he was OK and found out that he had stayed home to bring his children to school. He was alive but already a completely different person. Most of the other people in his office were killed. He spent the next few weeks going to multiple funerals every day. He decided to stay in his existing house and the new home project was cancelled.

Fortunately, none of our close friends were killed. Many of our friends worked downtown and have incredible stories of survival. One of the neighbors on my street was killed and he had a daugther in fifth grade. That was really sad to see.

Our office is located near towns that have commuter trains to NYC. Much of our work is for the affluent Wall Street workers. I ultimately found out that 13 of our past clients were killed. It saddens me to think of their families and the terrible changes for them.

On a positive note it was amazing to see how we all bonded as Americans. The communities came together to assist the families of people that lost a loved one. Many companies donated space and equipment to their competitors so they would not have to shut-down. In some ways this tragedy has made us more human.

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My 90 year old dad was visiting me from Nebraska. We were out on the lake on a rainy fishing day. My wife called me right after my dad caught the biggest fish he'd ever caught, a 30 something pound grass carp. It was all over with by the time we got off the lake and got home. He stayed an extra week due to all the travel restrictions. We spent a lot of time fishing and story telling during that week.

It was an incredulous day that pulled a lot of us together in common purpose.

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I was sorting mail in the post office. The office is adjacent to a major airport landing approach. Sometime after the events unfolded, the FAA gave the order to ground all air traffic. Shortly thereafter I was on the rear loading dock. I had never seen such a repetitious trail of air traffic swirling in for landing.

Living close to an airport one can get use to the noise of jet engines. You don't notice them until they're no longer there. Later that night I went out into my back yard and it was unusually quiet. The silence had real meaning. There are things one never forgets. For me, that silence is one of those things.

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9/11/01..My daughter rode the PATH to the towers rail station. Got off the train and walked out of the rail station(under the towers) at 8:45. Walked to Water Street to work. Her office (40 floors up) was in a panic . She saw the second plane hit.

She was directed to go to the "air raid shelter" in the basement to wait out the event. The men in the office surrendered their tee shirts to be cut and made into filters. She walked 40 blocks out of lower Manhattan around 3:00PM. Long and terrifying day for the Aherns of Needham,Ma.

We know where we were on that day.

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