The Men Who Went Up Instead Of Coming Down

My task was to record in the Book of Life the events of men under the indescribable horror of man to man. I watched as the first plane crashed into the tower, and saw the massive destruction requiring the souls of men and women. Fire and molten metal raged through the building as the stench of burning flesh filled the air. And then the second plane crashed into the twin tower.

Shock was quickly replaced by fear as men stared with disbelief at the chaos around them. And then the exodus began… some stumbling… some running… some hesitating. I wanted to shout, "Run… Run… Run!"

110 floors… down… up… how to escape? Hurry… call home… where do I go? Confusion… "Just get out," I managed to whisper.

There was no wrong and no right… it was man or woman for one's self. This was survival at its most basic.

The building next to us trembled… and then in an unspeakable horror… it was almost as if time stopped. It was as if the earth itself sucked a deep breath in and the south Tower disappeared into the ground - men, women, children… gone in a wisp of a moment.

No time to hesitate; no time to pause…if you're going to get out of here alive, just "Run!"

As I looked through the roar of the flames, I was seized by a sight too wondrous to fathom… As the mass of men were quite rightly fleeing, up the stairs strode men! At first I thought they had gone mad -- They failed to see the danger so rampant! But then I looked and saw the fear in their eyes. They knew! … That's more than I could comprehend.   They knew that their lives were likely forfeit… but up they strode! To rescue… to comfort… to lead strangers to safety.

In the face of such terror, as great as any experienced since the creation of man… and still they came! The firefighters, the police officers, the emergency medical crews. With fear on their faces, but bravery and love in their hearts...onward they climbed!

The rest I recorded…

That day, "Evil" in its purest form sought to conquer.

And yet through the very depths of hell, "Good" came charging. Yes, those brave men and women were cut down in their paths, but with each step up those stairs, they purchased back to this world a bit of humanity, of love, of hope.

The Men Who Went Up Instead Of Coming Down

Editorial Note: A couple of days ago, someone said to me, "Why are they making a bigger deal about the deaths of the firemen and police officers who died? -- They knew when they got hired that they might die. My immediate response was "because they were the ones going up, instead of coming down!" This missive is written from the perspective of an angel overseeing the tragedy

I created this page as a small tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives in an attempt to save others. I primarily used the term "men" because the vast majority of the rescuers were men; however, it is also a tribute to the women rescuers. I also hope that it will be viewed as a tribute to the men and women who somehow were able to keep themselves from fleeing, but stayed to help their fellow human beings. We ask, "where was God in all of this?" As Pastor John at the Peace Lutheran Church in Lompoc, Ca stated: "Behind the eyes of every man and woman who braved walking into those buildings." -- Elle Rowley

Credits: I hope the following photographers will forgive the unauthorized use of their images:
Towers photo: Spencer Platt -- Getty Images
Firemen with that great hero, the late Father Mike, NYFD Chaplain. Photo by Shannon Stapleton -- Reuters

Graphic provided by Free US Memorial Graphics, which no longer has a viable link
Heartfelt Graphic by Web Designs by Lori, which no longer has a viable link