Sep 12, 2011

Kenin Cosgrove Victim, Hero

Whenever I think about September 11th, I think about Kevin Cosgrove, his call to 9-1-1 and the impact that it has had on me and so many

 There is something very special about this man, his tenacity, his perseverance, and even his humor in the midst of absolute mayhem, We hear his entire struggle with an impossible situation, including his frustration, his anger, his refusal to give up and his constant reiteration that he needs to survive to be there for his family, his children.

His strength yet all of it's frailty and a tenaciy and courage is forever captured on this tape, it endears him to us, it breaks out hearts, for we cannot change the ending for him no matter how many times we listen.

I think about his wife and children often, and hold them in my prayers, They too are victims of 911. They knew and loved this man intimately; husband, father, brother, uncle, friend and now they have shared the end of his life with the world for a higher good, taking an infamous "tragedy" and making it as real as it was for those who lived and died through it.  Sharing this tape was an act of selflessness and great courage, I commend the Cosgrove family for allowing us to listen.

My  prayer today is that healing and comfort be visited upon all of the people affected by this act of violence.. May all of us pull out of the wreckage of that day a new sense of closeness one-ness with each other - a new knowledge of what truly matters in this life;  kindness, love, compassion.
A  thankfulness for every day that we are gifted with. That is the main sentiment that kept cropping up time and  again within the condolence messages left on Kevin Cosgroves 911 memorial site.
He gave us this, and it is a awesome and eternal gift.

Please visit, leave some words if you wish, pray, in your private way, and remember to cherish life, make the most of each day insofar as reaching out to another person in need,  turn towards each other in love acceptance.

Original article in Bold print below.

I was researching an article called "the falling man" recently and I came upon a tape of several 911 calls that were made by the victims trapped in the burning towers on Sept 11th 2001.

After a long deliberation going back and forth on it, I decided to listen; It was very difficult and very painful and extremely moving. At times I literally experienced the physical symptoms that the caller was enduring, due to the smoke and heat coming from the fires where they were trapped in their twin tower offices. Just as another commenter on the site expressed so aptly,' At the end of Mr Congreve's call, I found myself not wanting to let go of him".And like many other's, hearing this call has forever changed my perspective of that terrible day.

The italicized text at the bottom of this post is the actual condolence message that I left at Kevin Congreve's online 911 memorial site. I have supplied a link to his 911 call with corresponding video in this post's title header above.

Mr Congreve's call from the 101st floor of tower two was used as evidence in the Moussaui trial, the only person ever prosecuted for the 911 crimes. After reading this post, if you wish to listen to the tape it is still available. I must warn that it will be an extremely emotional experience, and it will likely forever change you. At first I really regretted having listened because it was so raw so real so painful... but I soon realized that I should not regret for I came to see that it was for me, a necessary pain a pain that ultimately transformed 911 from an awful tragic Event to something altogether more real, more personal, more human and more true. And we owe the victims at the very least truth by embracing the complete and unvarnished reality of their experience.

The pain that many of us feel upon hearing these callers speak-about those horrific conditions in the towers, about their fear over their likely imminent deaths- and the distress in having to leave their families and loved ones- only made us feel as if we knew them. By being privy to the most intimate last moments of their lives, this has allowed us to honor their experience without the whitewash effect of news camera shots of a burning buildings thousands of feet away in the air.

Even the sudden and awful collapse of the towers into a veritable dust bowl, like so much else that happened that day, was somehow surreal- Its not that we couldn't and didn't consider the horror of what was likely going on way up there where our eyes could not see, it just wasn't in our face, so to speak, and we gratefully took advantage of that distance. Because really, the horror might have been too much for us to bear. But didn't we owe it to the victims to watch, to listen, for this was their reality-they lived through these awful minutes and in some cases, hours. This is the truth of that day - their truth.

The voices of the people on these tapes however will be with us forever The people themselves will thus reside in us. We carry them in our hearts, our souls now.

Many people have asked why I listened and why I would encourage others to listen, when it is so difficult to hear, so painful. My answer is that I've given it a lot of thought and consideration and ultimately realized that some times in life circumstances present us, as human beings with an opportunity where pain can serve as an engine for greater understanding and ultimately, growth, or we can choose to turn away, spare ourselves the pain but lose the chance for greater depth and character. We don't often get a chance to truly understand the magnitude of suffering involved by victims of violent crime and that is what 911 was, a violent crime of huge proportion, committed against thousands of people.

These tapes, and the nature of the Internet itself, have opened up doors for us. I don't suggest listening as voyeurs out of curiosity, but enter as caring and compassionate witnesses. We can use the powerful emotions that are triggered in us: the compassion empathy, the pain even the anger - to bring us to a new level of awareness, about violent crime, terrorism, justice, courage and the fleeting nature of life.  Hopefully we  will use this new found awareness wisely and do only positive and good things with it. And these good things in turn shall become the legacy of those who perished on that day, victims and heroes all.

Note: The link to the 911 tape itself is at the title header of this post - below is a copy of my entry on Kevin's memorial page)

Leave a memorial comment if you feel so moved, I am certain that the families read them and I am hopeful that reading them as they crop up every other day at least, provides solace to them knowing that their loved ones haves made this impact.

Rest in Peace Kevin.

The entry in italics was taken from he 911 memorial page found via the link below;

Dear Mr Cosgrove and loved ones,

I heard the tape of Kevin's 911 call for the first time yesterday while researching the "falling man" article in Esquire magazine. I cried much of the night, and my heart literally felt torn open.
I made myself listen to it again today, hoping that the shock had worn off just a bit and wanting to feel somehow closer to this man who was so courageous and heroic in his tenacious love for his family, and his will to survive in order to be there for them.

At first, I felt like a voyeur and wondered whether this tape and others like it should be made available for the public to hear - was it not just re-traumatizing everyone, I wondered? 
But I realized as that day passed that I, and all of us needed to hear these calls, and the voices of the people who suffered and perished on that day, because there is really no other way to fully understand the unvarnished reality of the suffering and loss that this terrorist act of violence wrought upon so many decent human beings.

Indeed, because of this tape, September 11th is now more real to me today almost 7 years after the crimes, than it was in the weeks and months following the actual tragedy. At the time, I couldn't allow myself to listen to too many of the details of Sept 11. I had recently been the victim of a violent crime and I was still involved in the court process for that case. So when Sept 11 brought its terror and violence to me and the rest of this world I think I  had to wall myself off just enough, otherwise I recall thinking that I would be swallowed up from the magnitude of the pain and suffering involved in the tragedy.
I was acutely sensitive  and empathic normally and at that point in my life I was in the midst of a post traumatic storm from the violent crime wrought against me months earlier.

So for the first time perhaps ever in my life I put a shell around my heart and wouldn't allow myself to listen or read too much about the horror of this happening.

Perhaps only now, years later, was I truly ready.

I want to say that I now feel that I know this man who before listening to this tape was a stranger. He  dwells in my heart and in my soul . His determination, his strength, his humor, his fear his humanness really, will forever be a part of me.

I have prayed earnestly to God that he holds Kevin in his peaceful and loving embrace forever and that the entire Cosgrove family be given peace and comfort while holding onto the memory of this devoted loving-and courageous man.

*** Posted by Laurel O'keefe ***