Tuesday, September 07, 2021
6 New Yorkers Featured in Legion 9/11 Podcasts
The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast launched the first of 20 memorable, inspiring and captivating stories the week of Aug. 16. New episodes are published each weekday by 9 a.m. Eastern through Sept. 10. Visit legion.org/tangoalphalima to download each episode in this special series in audio format or watch on The American Legion YouTube channel, youtube.com/c/americanlegionHQ.
Here’s a snapshot of the episodes involving New Yorkers:
• Aug. 17: “I just felt this concussion wave go right through me.”
Jimmy Brown, a New York City firefighter who escaped before one of the towers collapsed. Brown, a Marine Corps veteran, heard the first plane and the explosion, then saw “debris raining down” as he emerged from the firehouse and headed to the scene.
• Aug. 20: “It was an emotional roller coaster for all of us.”
Linda Beecher was a single mother and EMT with the New York Fire Department on 9/11. Beecher, a member of The American Legion Auxiliary, served as a liaison that morning and worked in the field through the following May. She describes the first World Trade Center collapsing and the 16-hour days working at the morgue, cataloging all the body parts, personal effects, damaged equipment and more.
• Aug. 26: “To me, it was a big closure.”
That’s how Wilem Wong, an Army veteran who recently retired from the New York City Police Department, refers to the day when Osama bin Laden was killed. Wong, a member of American Legion Post 1291 in New York City, was in Afghanistan on the day that justice prevailed. But, as he points out, “I knew that was not going to be the end.”
• Aug. 27: “Everyone stopped in their footsteps.”
American Legion member Mark Otto, a Marine veteran who served during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, was walking to his job at the Stock Exchange on the morning of 9/11. He recalls watching one of the towers burn on a TV at the exchange when all of a sudden the entire building shook “like an earthquake.” It was the second plane hitting the other tower. His military training kicked in and he proceeded to evacuate his newlywed wife safely. “It was like a zombie apocalypse movie.”
• Aug. 30: Past Department Commander Frank Peters was a ferry boat captain during the 9/11 attacks. His ferry had just docked in Manhattan when the second plane hit the tower. He loaded the ferry with people fleeing the island, then returned with first responders and picked up more people trying to escape the destruction.
• Sept. 9: Sept. 11 was the sixth day John Paluska, 18, was in New York, after leaving Iowa to attend Fordham University. After watching the second tower fall from his apartment rooftop, he took a subway to ground zero to help the rescue and recovery. He subsequently joined the Army, became a Green Beret and deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations. Now he is a volunteer with the 9/11 Memorial Museum.