On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 I was driving to class at Central Michigan University.
It was between 8:30 and 9. The sun was shining, the sky was clear and there was a cool breeze in the air.
My wife Mary called me. It should be mentioned she was calling from work, we shared a cell phone. I thought it was an odd time for her to call.
“They bombed the World Trade Center,” she told me.
As I was driving, thinking about my next class, I really didn’t understand what she meant.
“WHAT?” I answered.
She said terrorists hijacked airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center.
No way, I thought to myself. When I lived at 228A Prospect Park West, from my rooftop I could easily see the Towers along with the Statue of Liberty.
When I arrived at the building where my class was located, there were a group of students watching a television mounted to the wall, CNN was showing live video of the towers on fire. 8:46 a.m. was when the first plane slammed into the North Tower.
Two planes would be crashed into the North and South Towers. The South Tower was hit at 9:03. Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story buildings came crashing down.
It was a terrifying image, one I will never forget.
There were nearly 3,000 people killed that morning, Captain Vincent Brunton of Truck Company Ladder 105, was one of them. Vinny was one of the best from our neighborhood, he was on the job in the World Trade Center doing his job…saving people. Rushing into a burning building to save people when the people are trying to get out. The ultimate sacrifice.
Vinny attended Holy Name grammar school and Bishop Ford High School. He was an excellent athlete too. I recall watching him run point guard in the schoolyard during the summer league. Loved his passion playing football for Farrell’s down at Farragut Road.
RIP Vinny. (Jan. 2, 1958-Sept. 11, 2001)