I want to take a minute to remember New York City Fire Department Battalion Chief Orio Joseph Palmer and Fire Marshall Ronald Paul Bucca. After arriving at the South Tower of the World Trade Center on that day 14 years ago Palmer single-handedly repaired an elevator and took it up to the 41st floor sky lobby. Once there, he went on to run up 37 flights of stairs to reach the plane’s impact zone on the 78th floor. Palmer directed survivors of the impact how to get out of the building, radioed essential information to firemen below and brought comfort to those stuck and injured on the 78th floor by assuring them that help was coming. Palmer was met there by Fire Marshall Ronald Paul Bucca. They were the only first responders to reach the impact zone that day. The two men are believed to have made it to the highest floor of any first responders in either tower before the buildings collapsed. Their courage and heroism mark the selfless actions of all the first responders who survived, and all those who perished on September 11, 2001. To view a five-minute clip from a 2009 documentary of Palmer's actions that day click the Youtube link below.
Michael E. Palmer is a writer and photographer based in Alabama.
He can be reached at email@example.com