In Remembrance

The September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C and Pennsylvania are perhaps the single darkest event in the history of the United States.

DIABETES HEALTH has always been a magazine for the diabetes community. One may ask why would we would give coverage to the tragic events as opposed to giving an overview of the latest blood-sugar testing technology or offering an endocrinologist’s tips on how to keep your A1c under 7%. The fact of the matter is that the tragedy has affected each and every person in each and every community in this country, of which we are just one.

We asked some of our readers if any of them felt like sharing their feelings or telling of a family member or friend who was affected by the unprecedented acts—be they a rescue or volunteer worker.

Here is a sampling of what some of those readers had to say.

I am a registered nurse. I have been a volunteer with the American Red Cross Disaster Services for many years and was called in to assist during this horrible tragedy. However, this is not a story about me or what I witnessed, but about a memorial for a friend of mine. His name is Tim Grazioso. He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 101st floor of the WTC Tower One.

The New York Chapter JDRF records with deep sorrow the passing of our dear friend and member of the Board of Directors, Tim Grazioso, who has been missing following the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, 2001. Tim joined the JDRF/New York Chapter Board of Directors in 1996 and served the Chapter in the past as vice president of finance. He had just begun a term as vice president of fundraising.

Tim was well known to us all as a person of unstinting generosity with an extra-ordinary commitment to diabetes research. When his daughter, Lauren, was diagnosed with this horrible disease, he committed himself completely to find a cure for diabetes. His unwavering dedication to JDRF was a source of inspiration to all of us.

Our love and our condolences go out to his entire family and to all the victims and family members of this horrendous tragedy.

My name is Marilyn. I live in North Carolina and have type 2 diabetes. This attack on America has affected me in a huge way. My hometown is New York City and I have many family members still there. But that has not been the biggest trauma.

My son is a U.S. Marine. He returned from Saudi Arabia after six months there earlier this year. We fear that he may be deployed to defend the United States in service to his country. He says that he is ready to go and fight for freedom and help end the terror. He is my only child. He is 24 years old. His name is Jason. I was a single mom for 18 years. In 1998 he walked me down the aisle as I married my soul mate.

We have donated money and blood to the relief effort. Somehow I wish I could do more for the families who suffered such catastrophic losses.

My name is Delores Christian and I work at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. On September 11, I had just returned to the office and was told about the World Trade Center. I went to my desk to listen on the radio. The next minute, we were hit by something that almost knocked me out of my chair.

We all got up to see if everyone was okay. We were then told to get out of the building because an airplane had crashed into it. Some of us went to a department store in the area to call our families. My oldest son was on his way to work when he saw the airplane hit the building and returned back home to see if I was okay. You cannot understand the feeling of how your life can be taken in just a short minute. I am a victim of the terrorists and I will never forget the day of September 11.

My heart goes out to the families of my co-workers who did not make it. And I am asking everyone who get this news please pray for them.

My name is Lawrence Hrazanek and I have had diabetes for over 30 years. I am a criminal investigator with the New York State Petroleum Alcohol Tobacco Bureau.

On the morning of September 11, I was assigned to meet my partner, Christine Zumbo, at 8:30 am across the street from World Trade Center 2 to go to Brooklyn for surveillance. We would probably go into the Amish Deli, get something for breakfast and head out.

I left home by 6:30 a.m., but then there was traffic on the Taconic and it took 20 minutes to park the car. The train took its time getting to the stop. At 96th street it took a while for the number 2 to get there.

By the time I got to Park Place it was 8:50 a.m.—two minutes after Tower 1 was hit. I get to the Trade Center shopping level, and see some hysteria, but not many people.

As I open the door, I exit and the first thing that hits me is the burning smell. I see burning paper, concrete and metal all over. I cross the street wondering where Chris is. There is so much debris and fire on the ground I decide to walk on the promenade that goes around the Deutch Bank building.

I turn to look at the World Trade Center and see mass destruction on the ground, smoke high up in the air, but no damage to the building. I call Angie, the person we were supposed to meet in Brooklyn, who says Chris is fine, she is stuck in traffic in the Brooklyn/Battery Tunnel.

I see a few officers directing people down West Street to Battery Park. I take out my shield and help in directing and moving people. I am talking to an officer who is wearing shorts, an undershirt and sandals. We both hear a jet, look up and see it make a sharp turn around the tall building at the end of West Street, and start to straighten out. I say "that plane is flying awfully low, it must be a military plane doing a pass by." We step out onto West Street, hear the plane gun its engines, and then slam into World Trade Center 2. Debris is falling all around us, in a split second we both run into the Marriott on West Street and Carlisle.

After a few minutes we go back outside. We are now telling everyone to walk very fast up the street. I am trying to call my wife, but my cell phone is not working. People are walking by with cuts, scrapes, breaks, etc. If they can walk, they are told to just keep walking. If they can’t, we try to help them. I am still trying to call my wife to say I am okay. A cop tells me the phone in the lobby of the hotel is working. I go in. I try to call my wife, my parents, my sister, with no luck. I call a close friend, Steve, who lives in Manhattan. I told him to get a pen so he could call my wife. I am telling him to tell her I love her, that I am okay now, but I don’t know what is going to happen, and as I give him the phone number building 2 comes down.

There is now over a foot of gray/white stuff, and tons of papers on the ground. There is still a gray haze in the air, like a snowstorm. I get to the end of West Street and see people getting on ferries to New Jersey. I help direct people to get on. I see a smaller tour boat in a slip. I jump on as it is leaving and a worker say I cannot come because he has no life vest for me and it is against Coast Guard regulation. I tell him I am an officer, I am coming, and if anything else happens I am jumping in the Hudson and swimming to Peekskill near where I live.

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