9/11 Fifteen Years Later

I almost did not write this post as I had second thoughts but I felt I wanted to share my memories fifteen years on. On 9/11/2001 I was right in the thick of it in a production studio in Manhattan. It was a beautiful cloudless Tuesday which on occasion I can recall as vividly as if it were yesterday.

As I mentioned I was at a TV studio preparing to do The People's Court television show before all hell broke loose. In the control room we watched the mayhem unfold. In fact I vividly recall watching Channel 4 News in a live report from the World Trade Center area when during the actual live report the second plane hit the second tower. The shocked reporter just took off running and so did the cameraman.

Cell phones did not work. Neither did landlines for that matter. The only way I got word to my wife about my situation was sending an email via AOL. Does anyone have AOL anymore? I had no idea if the email would reach her.

In the studio we simply did not know if we should stay or go. What was safer choice? After the plane hit the Pentagon the director turned to me and waved goodbye adding, "Good luck, get home safe." Home for me at the time was Bucks County, PA, 90 minutes to the south via Penn Station. So I headed in that direction. The studio was at 37th Street and 5th Ave. and I could look south and see the brown smoke rising above the towers. As I walked toward Penn Station I passed by several churches with hastily posted signs on which someone scrawled with a sharpie, "Come in and Pray." At one church I saw people actually kneeling on the sidewalk praying.

As I got to Penn Station it was bedlam but I saw a line of people going down an escalator onto a train. I joined them. I didn't care where the train was going - just out of Manhattan. As I got on and actually got a seat before the aisles filled up there came an announcement, "Attention all passengers by order of the NYPD, Penn Station is now closed. All must exit to street level and exit the building."

A collective groan was heard on the train as we all made our way out. My next thought was - water. There must be a boat I could get on. So I headed up 8th Ave. then onto 10th. Coming toward me down the avenue were thousands of people headed to Penn Station. As I made my way up 10th my next thought was cash. I was going to take as much cash out of an ATM as I could before they too were shut down. I dashed in a deli and took out as much as I could and then continued north.

Once I got to 12th Ave. I saw a line of about 500 people waiting to get on a Circle Line boat. I jumped right in behind them. We all boarded. The stuffed to the gills ship slowly pulled away from the dock. At that moment there was almost an audible sigh of relief. The boat was headed over to Weehawken, NJ and you could turn and look across the Hudson and see the Towers engulfed in brown smoke. You could also smell it. It smelled like an electrical fire. People on the boat were actually joking around trying to mask their fears. No one knew what the hell was going to happen next but at least we were off Manhattan.

When we docked at Weehawken I ran to a payphone to see if it had a dial tone. It did. I dialed my voicemail and heard a message from my now ex-wife that I will never forget. I will not detail it just to say it was filled with tears. I was able to call her back and told her I would try to grab a train from Hoboken.

I headed down there with thousands of others and the trains were going nowhere. At the station they had set up hundreds of gurneys with IV poles awaiting trains from the Trade Center. Trains that would never come. It was an image I'll never forget. But that was not the final enduring image I would remember from that day....the one that still gives me chills and I will never forget.

After leaving the train station I headed up to a Cuban bar / restaurant. I thought a beer was just what I needed at that point. There were actually only a few people in the place and at the bar. After a few moments a near hysterical woman who had to be 8 months pregnant ran in with someone who had to be her mother. Through her tears I overheard her say to her mother, "his last words were he'd meet us here." I turned to the bartender and he looked back at me, we were both speechless. The pregnant woman then headed into the Ladies room as the Mom stood by the bar.

As I turned to continue watching Peter Jennings anchor the coverage on the TV behind the bar a man bolted in who was covered with the dust. It was the same dust which had covered people who were seen on TV running from the towers. As the man came in the Mom started crying and they embraced. The bar fell silent. Then the pregnant woman emerged from the bathroom, saw her husband and ran towards him crying, overjoyed. No one in the place moved and many including myself teared up. It was scene I will remember till I die.

Several hours later the trains began to run and I was able to get one to Montclair where my wife met me. I don't remember what we said to each other we just held each other tight for a long moment before heading back to Pennsylvania.

Did the world change that day? Without a doubt. Did it change for the better? For a short while it did in the aftermath. We were united as one people and a nation that was wounded and hurting. Can we look back from today and say that we have grown or are safer as a nation? I am not certain we can. In many ways the world is much less certain and certainly much less innocent than before 9/11/2001.

But it remains up to us to make it the world in which we all want to live. And by live I mean live in peace. I am a spiritual person and I believe that the dark forces in this world have increased the level of terror and violence that they spread because they know their days are numbered.

More and more common everyday people especially those in the Middle East simply want to live their lives and raise their families in peace. The time is coming soon when killing in the name of God or Allah will not be tolerated, promoted or accepted by people of any faith on the planet. When that day comes...and I truly believe I will see it in my lifetime then finally there will be lasting peace on earth.

Check out the forthcoming novel, The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutally Massacred in World War II, based on the Wereth Eleven story. Available for pre-order now.


Sunday
Posted by Robert Child

More WWII Films Coming, Allied, Dunkirk, USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage


As I mentioned in a previous post WWII films continue to be popular both in Hollywood and with audiences. Three new forthcoming films will continue to keep the genre alive and well.

ALLIED


Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Allied, stars Brad Pitt who is returning to WWII once again after the success of David Ayer’s, Fury. He stars as Max Vatan, a British intelligence officer who encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard) during a mission in Casablanca that forces them into a pretend marriage so their cover isn’t blown. The pair is reunited later in London and fall in love, though the horrors of war threaten to destroy their relationship.


 
DUNKIRK


Christopher Nolan will direct WWII film Dunkirk, based on his own original screenplay. The action adventure film, set during the legendary 1940 evacuation in France. The large scale film will be shot on a combination of IMAX 65mm and 65mm large format film photography, and shooting began in May. The British director will also produce the film with his longtime producing partner and wife Emma Thomas. (From the Hollywood Reporter)




USS INDIANAPOLIS: MEN OF COURAGE



Academy Award Winner Nicolas Cage stars as Captain McVay, the captain of the doomed WWII heavy cruiser, the USS Indianapolis. After completing its top secret mission to drop off components of the atomic bomb, the USS Indianapolis crossed the Philippine Sea without an escort. The I-58, a Japanese submarined helmed by Commander Hashimoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy, spotted them and fired six torpedoes into the ship. The USS Indianapolis sank in a matter of minutes, leaving survivors in the water for days on end, awaiting rescue.



Check out the forthcoming novel, The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutally Massacred in World War II, based on the Wereth Eleven story. Available for pre-order now.


Friday
Posted by Robert Child

Hacksaw Ridge Trailer "Please Help Me Get One More."


WWII stories continue to engage worldwide audiences and Mel Gibson's epic forthcoming film, Hacksaw Ridge, in my opinion raises the bar.  The official trailer was unveiled today. You cannot look away.



Check out the forthcoming novel, The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutally Massacred in World War II, based on the Wereth Eleven story. Available for pre-order now.


Thursday
Posted by Robert Child

American History Free on Kindle Today in Honor of July 4th

Today between the BBQ and fireworks you can grab two of my historical books on Kindle absolutely FREE. And you can get another historical book for .99 cents for a limited time. Below are the books and links. Have a happy and safe 4th of July holiday!

Hamilton at War 
Free today at Amazon

As the story opens, young Alexander Hamilton marches with the Continentals at Fort Lee, New Jersey. He is frustrated by being relegated to the end of the line and missing out on the action. He desperately wants to make a name for himself. His fortunes soon change at the Raritan River when the vanguard of British infantry catches up to Washington's army.

Hamilton, and his cannons are the only defense line available to prevent the army from being destroyed. Successfully protecting the Continental army and allowing their escape with his rear-guard action, Hamilton catches the attention of George Washington.

The future President asks the twenty-year-old Hamilton to join his staff. Sent on one daring mission after another Hamilton s stature grows, creating great political mistrust among his rivals. When ambition overtakes Hamilton, he threatens to overthrow Congress, which he sees as corrupt. Challenging a Congressman to a duel who views Hamilton as treasonous immigrant his world nearly self-destructs.


With the end of the American Revolution looming and his visions of his own glory fading, Hamilton becomes determined to leave Washington s staff and return to the battlefield. Washington, the only man who can help him, does all in his power to deny him. One daring assignment remains, however, that will determine the outcome of the final battle and the entire war. It is at a place called Yorktown.

Washington's Crossing: America's First D-Day
Free today at Amazon

Late December 1776.

A ragged Continental army has now put an icy river between themselves and the pursing British army. The men in blue and buff uniforms have known nothing but defeat and had once again made a narrow escape while the Congress at Philadelphia reflecting no confidence in their troops prepare to evacuate to Baltimore.

Washington’s besieged men reflect the state of a nation weary of war and a cause on the brink of extinction. They are an army in waiting - waiting for ammunition, blankets and reinforcements. But others, nearly half, are simply waiting for their enlistments to be up on January 1, 1777. Within days Washington would have no men with which to fight and the cause and the dream of independence would be over.

This is the backdrop of one of the most daring surprise attacks in American history - Washington's crossing of the Delaware and the subsequent victory at Trenton. Told in an urgent narrative style, Washington's Crossing: America's First D-Day, reveals the cast of characters and many untold aspects of the Crossing that made the victory even that much more incredible.

Gettysburg Voices from the Front
On sale today at Amazon

A stirring collection of first-hand accounts from Privates on up to the commanding Generals at the Battle of Gettysburg woven into a dramatic and compelling narrative. The reader is transported back to the chaos and uncertainty of the sweltering first three days of July 1863 when Lee's Army of Northern Virginia invaded the North threatening Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington itself. Soldiers on both sides gave everything they had believing that Gettysburg would be the final epic battle in an already long and terrible war.








Check out the forthcoming novel, The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutally Massacred in World War II, based on the Wereth Eleven story. Available for pre-order now.


Today Marks the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme

"100 years ago today a flower of a generation marched to it's doom in a capture of less than five miles of bloody ground." From, How Canada Won the Great War. Available worldwide on Audiobook (itunes, audible) Paperback and ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retailers.


The Battle of the Somme (French: Bataille de la Somme, German: Schlacht an der Somme), also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of upper reaches of the River Somme in France. It was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front; more than one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

Available in paperback, Kindle and Nook
The French and British had committed themselves to an offensive on the Somme during Allied discussions at Chantilly, Oise, in December 1915. The Allies agreed upon a strategy of combined offensives against the Central Powers in 1916, by the French, Russian, British and Italian armies, with the Somme offensive as the Franco-British contribution. Initial plans called for the French army to undertake the main part of the Somme offensive, supported on the northern flank by the Fourth Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). When the Imperial German Army began the Battle of Verdun on the Meuse on 21 February 1916, French commanders diverted many of the divisions intended for the Somme and the "supporting" attack by the British became the principal effort.

The battle is notable for the importance of air power and the first use of the tank. At the end of the battle, British and French forces had penetrated 6 miles (9.7 km) into German-occupied territory, taking more ground than in any of their offensives since the Battle of the Marne in 1914. The Anglo-French armies failed to capture PĂ©ronne and halted 3 miles (4.8 km) from Bapaume, where the German armies maintained their positions over the winter. British attacks in the Ancre valley resumed in January 1917 and forced the Germans into local withdrawals to reserve lines in February, before the scheduled retirement to the Siegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line) began in March. Debate continues over the necessity, significance and effect of the battle. (Source wikipedia)

Check out the forthcoming novel, The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutally Massacred in World War II, based on the Wereth Eleven story. Available for pre-order now.


Friday
Posted by Robert Child

New Release this week, The London Vermeer - Serialized Novel

Pleased to announce my latest crime thriller release which came out earlier this week, The London Vermeer. It is the first part of a three part serialized novel and the continuation of the Riley Spenser series which began with, The Russian van Gogh. The book is also part of Kindle Unlimited so if you have an Amazon Prime account you can get it for free.


The London Vermeer:

Forensic Art Detective, Riley Spenser, returns in this fast-paced follow up to the, Russian van Gogh. With the $300 million dollar van Gogh returned safely to the Amsterdam Museum Riley relocates to London. She heads up the new Monuments Men UK office where her mission expands from locating stolen WWII masterpieces to contemporary art theft. Her primary mission is tracking leads in the 1990 Gardner heist.

In this first installment of the three-part serialized novel an alarming development occurs. Riley's boss in the States calls with some shocking news. The Boston FBI has identified the original culprits in the Gardner theft. Riley is devastated but soon realizes that the FBI has no clue where the paintings actually are. This is simply a ruse to flush the thieves out of hiding.

Unfortunately for Riley it works. She has been the most visible investigator into the crime for the past 15 years. The Gardner thieves have have zeroed in on her as the pawn they need to secure an even bigger score than the Museum's standing offer of $5 Million for return of the paintings.

To make matters worse Justin is recalled from assignment in the Middle East. His covert mission has gone terribly wrong and he fears reassignment, demotion or worse. His SIS supervisor encourages him to take a few days off but Justin ends up in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time. Filled suspense, The London Vermeer, features action that jumps off the page like a major motion picture and a storyline filled with twists and turns that will keep you guessing from one page to the next.

Purchase on Amazon.




Check out the forthcoming novel, The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutally Massacred in World War II, based on the Wereth Eleven story. Available for pre-order now.


Hamilton at War Gets a New Cover

I am excited to unveil today the new cover for my book, Hamilton at War. The novel has been out for a while but with all the excitement around the smash Broadway musical of Hamilton I thought my book needed some freshening up. The story has been read and praised by a number of people including Alexander Hamilton's 5th Great Grandson, Douglas Hamilton. I was humbled and grateful for his comments on the story which took a couple years to write and actually began life as a screenplay.

Kindle Version @ Amazon
Paperback  @ Amazon
Audiobook


Synopsis:
As the story opens, young Alexander Hamilton marches with the Continentals at Fort Lee, New Jersey. He is frustrated by being relegated to the end of the line and missing out on the action. He desperately wants to make a name for himself. His fortunes soon change at the Raritan River when the vanguard of British infantry catches up to Washington's army.

Hamilton, and his cannons are the only defense line available to prevent the army from being destroyed. Successfully protecting the Continental army and allowing their escape with his rear-guard action, Hamilton catches the attention of George Washington.

The future President asks the twenty-year-old Hamilton to join his staff. Sent on one daring mission after another Hamilton s stature grows, creating great political mistrust among his rivals. When ambition overtakes Hamilton, he threatens to overthrow Congress, which he sees as corrupt. Challenging a Congressman to a duel who views Hamilton as treasonous immigrant his world nearly self-destructs.

With the end of the American Revolution looming and his visions of his own glory fading, Hamilton becomes determined to leave Washington s staff and return to the battlefield. Washington, the only man who can help him, does all in his power to deny him. One daring assignment remains, however, that will determine the outcome of the final battle and the entire war. It is at a place called Yorktown.

Check out the forthcoming novel, The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutally Massacred in World War II, based on the Wereth Eleven story. Available for pre-order now.


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