My Time at Ground Zero

By Paul Roses, D.C.

On Saturday, I was able to be credentialed in order to adjust personnel at the Javits center, a mile or two away from the World Trade Center. I’m sorry, but being crowded out by the massage volunteers in a small space on the second floor was not my idea of serving humanity. Innate heard. Before I even opened my table I overheard a Dr. John Pagano say “I’m going downtown” Hot Damn! Me too I thought. Seems Dr John befriended a high ranking national guard officer the day before. Within minutes we were cramped into a camouflaged hummer driven by two new patients …I mean soldiers, on our way to Ground Zero.

While on the way, citizens lined the west side highway, cheering and waving flags as we went by. Within 1/2 mile I smelled it. The acrid stench of burning wire or insulation. The closer we got the more hazy it became. Once there we were escorted and fitted with hard hats and masks and further credentialed with a red card allowing access to wherever and whenever we chose.

By now the anxiety was paramount. Once through the final checkpoint we walked towards the smoke, passing by a lot of completely crushed and mangled cars. Some were evidently pried opened by the “Jaws of Life.” Thousands of partly burned papers littered the now dirt covered streets, with an off white layer of dust covering everything else in sight.

And then we were there.

At first it looked as though godzilla walked through and decided to take quite a few gouges out of the sides of the buildings that were standing. Literally every window was blown out of nearly every skyscraper that bordered the quadrangle. Finally there beyond the smoke was “the pile.”

By now, two weeks later, crews used heavy equipment while many exhausted men on break just stood attentively, wishing, praying.

I stared in disbelief. The only evidence I was not looking at a construction site was the facade. The burned shell that once adorned the mightiest tower in NYC. I watched them being built for years from the Jersey turnpike on my way to high school. The tall cranes poised, rising with each growing floor.

We found a place in the shade near the “Spirit of New York.” This is a yacht where all volunteers could relax and have a hot meal. Some even slept on the upper floor as sleeping bags replaced the wall to wall carpeting.

I was proud to be a chiropractor. A DE chiropractor. All of the other 3 DC’s there were obviously caring for aches and pains. I had a much bigger mission. It was great to adjust ATF agents, maintenance workers, elevator men. However, one group was slow in responding to my offer of care.

The fireman. They walked from the site, dragging themselves, masks, boots and overalls dangling. It seemed as though they were all in a fog. It was these brave men and women who bore the weight of the souls of three hundred fallen comrades on their shoulders.

It still tears at me that I could not reach them that day. Yes a few had innate reconnected. But so many more were in a state of depression. I will not give up. I will adjust on the boat. Near the dining tables. I’ll hand out a short note, explaining my concern for them. I’ll tell them that during this difficult time, is when they most deserve to avail themselves of the most powerful gift on earth for the mentally and physically stressed. The chiropractic adjustment.

It’s great to know what I can give. It’s even greater to not hesitate when the chance arises.

With Love + Respect, Paul Roses

Update: Good news – once the fireman sat down all was well and lots got adjusted! @ 11:02 am | Article ID: 1001613766