Eleven years after 9/11, LeDuff says 'I love New York' - KMSP-TV

Eleven years after 9/11, LeDuff says 'I love New York'

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Charlie LeDuff holds the flag he found on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.  (Credit: WJBK) Charlie LeDuff holds the flag he found on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. (Credit: WJBK)

Eleven years ago, America was under attack.  Terrorists used airplanes to kill thousands in New York, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Fox 2's Charlie LeDuff was at Ground Zero that day covering the tragic event for The New York Times.  He shares his unique perspective on this national tragedy.

DETROIT (WJBK) -- This morning on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 massacre, I posted "I love New York" on Facebook.  Some guy posted back, "Then stay there."  I got news for you guy.  I never left.  Not inside.

I lived nearly a decade of my adult life in New York City, including the year after the terrorist attacks.  I covered Ground Zero, the fire department, the city as it got up off its knees for The New York Times.

I still have the flag that I found lying in the middle of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.  Remember when we were all flying them?  Remember when we all loved New York?  What happened, guy?  Where did your brotherhood go?

I remember coming out of the molten hole downtown a few week later taking the subway home to get my first real meal and a bath since the sneak attack on secretaries.  It was rush hour.  Some Muslim guy decided he was going to pray in the middle of the train.  You could feel the crowd wanting to kick him.  I got to admit, I did, too, but then I remembered the father of my best childhood friend, Osama, and the comfort he gave me in the rough seas of my adolescence and I let it go.

Maybe if we all prayed a little more like that Muslim guy on the train, the world wouldn't be in the position it's in.  That's why a mosque near Ground Zero doesn't bother me.  God bless America.

I went to the recruiting center in Times Square to enlist in the Marines a few days after the attacks.  I wanted to kill those responsible for bombing my neighborhood.  I was told I was too old, so I went to a rock with a pen.  Remember the mission changed from getting Bin Laden to also smashing the axis of evil?  Well, Bin Laden is dead now and so are thousands of American troops and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

A trillion borrowed American dollars later, we're still over there, and over here we're on the brink of financial collapse.

I'm back in Michigan now.  To tell the truth, I never left, and entering the second decade since that sad, sad day in New York, I can't believe what I see here -- cops without radios, firefighters without bunker gear, medics without medicine.  Where did the money disappear to?

Why do I care?  Because I don't want another calamity.  I couldn't stand to write another obituary of a firefighter.

So I'll say it again and I hope you will, too.  I love New York!

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