A sign found by a Queens cop amid the rubble read "Please Remember Us Tower One, 101st Floor."
The message, hastily scribbled on the back of a desk calendar revealed the final thoughts of those trapped inside the Twin Towers on the morning of Sept. 11, moments before the buildings crumbled into dust and twisted steel.
More than 3,000 people were murdered on Sept. 11, in the worst act of terrorism to occur on U.S. soil in this nations history. More than 350 firefighters, 23 police officers, Port Authority Police officers and Emergency Medical personnel perished in the towers while trying to help victims escape.
Remember them? How can we forget?
The New Year arrived in Queens with a chilling message brother, was it cold! We shivered and shoveled the white stuff from our streets, as 2001 whipped into the borough with frigid forecasts . Mayor Rudolph Giuliani pelted the Port Authority for its poor performance in handling snow removal at LaGuardia and JFK International Airports.
Queens mourned the death of Joseph Crowley, Sr., a civic activist, attorney and father of the Queens Congressman.
Officials rallied to keep John Bowne High School open after local civics called for its closure, based on security and safety concerns the earth shook in Long Island City on Jan. 17, when a 2.5 (Richter scale) earthquake knocked photos from walls at 7:34 a.m .candidates geared up for the November election, and the Asian "Lunar Parade" headed to Flushing.
A Queens College alumnus who gave the school $4.3 million for a new Biology Research Center on the Flushing campus asked for his money back Dr. Bernard Salick said years long delays in the project were "embarrassing." Queens straphangers voiced their hope to derail the new "V" subway line, and Mets hero Tommy Agee died of a heart attack at age 58 Agee, one of the 1969 Miracle Mets, whacked the longest homerun in the history of Shea Stadium on April 10, 1969 Queens Borough President Claire Shulman gave her last State of the Borough Address Shulman wept as local school kids sang to her in tribute of her service to the borough Shulman, like most of the City Council, was preparing to pack up, forced by term limits to step down in January 2002 .
Ten families were left out in the cold in Briarwood, as city officials tried to determine why five houses in the area were sinking federal aviation officials started to reduce flights at LaGuardia Airport, utilizing a new lottery system police were out in force on Queens Boulevard, ticketing speeders and jaywalkers Queens educators took shots at President George W. Bushs national education policy. . .The Tribune shook the world of politics with a front page "Wanted Poster" featuring photos of Queens seven City Council members, after the pols announced their plans to try and overturn City term limits the front page blasted the pols "for disregarding the will of the people" local activists cried "fowl" when police and City officials went after pedestrians who jaywalk, etc. on Queens Boulevard the site of the Wendys Restaurant on Main Street, where the May 24, 2000 massacre occurred, was sold to a private developer .
Flushing residents rallied to try to stop the city from trashing the area, after they learned of plans to install a waste transfer station in Willets Point Mayoral candidate Public Advocate Mark Green called for increased safety measures on Queens Boulevard, following the death of a 14-year-old Forest Hills girl on the deadly strip.
Republicans in Woodside blasted organizers of the areas annual St. Patricks Day parade for allowing gay groups to participate in the march .the Tribune continued its coverage of the term limits controversy traffic became super-stalled on the Long Island Expressway when new construction kicked off on the highway, and a much-hyped blizzard fizzled and blew over the borough in March the threatened storm even cancelled a planned vote by pols on term limits the vote was rescheduled
The Reverend Floyd Flake turned down an offer by President George W. Bush for a spot in the Bush administration, opting to stay in Queens Queens was a borough of 2,229,379 people, according to the census the threatened term limits repeal was killed in a City Council committee plans for a mini-mall were released by developers of the former Wendys Restaurant in Flushing .
City Councilmember Walter McCaffrey was joined by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in plans to prevent borough sex shops and clubs from wiggling out of zoning restrictions a Tribune feature explored "The Life And Death Of The Term Limit Coup."
The dog days were beginning for a pair of Queens seniors when a co-op board threatened to evict the couple for owning a pooch a State Supreme Court justice turned off the juice on plans for construction of two power plants in Queens .
Ninfa Segarra was elected president of the citys Board of Education cleanup crews worked to remove oil from the shoreline of Little Neck Bay as officials looked for a cause, and the NY State Health Department threatened to shut down an Elmhurst adult home charged with performing unnecessary prostate exams on residents .
Tribune publisher Mike Schenkler stayed on top of politics with his "Not4Publication" page Schenkler hosted each mayoral and City Council candidate at his Fresh Meadows headquarters for a sit-down on issues and answers civics balked at plans for the construction of an elementary school on the Queens College campus the Tribune backed Board of Ed member Terri Thomson in April, when Borough President Claire Shulman requested Thomsons resignation from the board .
A Tribune feature dug into Queens "Buried Past," exploring artifacts included in an exhibit on Queens history, and a Forest Hills High School graduate took home a Pulitzer for his poems despite community outrage, the city Sanitation Department refused to back down on its plans for a waste station at Willets Point Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Borough President Claire Shulman proposed a change for 56 acres of junkyard in Flushing (near Shea Stadium) into a Queens Convention Center .
Police busted 95 people in Willets Point, charged with dumping toxic fluids into Flushing Bay a sting operation at area auto repair shops also shut down 25 "chop shops" Trib reporter Richard Schack examined the feasibility of parking meters that were installed along traffic islands on Queens Boulevard, to add further safety to the highway .
Tribune assistant editor Stephen McGuire explored the "Battle Of The Board," an overview of Board of Education member Terri Thomsons fight to stay on the panel we looked into the life of Queens native Dennis Tito the Forest Hills High School grad who became a millionaire and spent $20 million on a ride into space plans were pending for a school at the former Stevens appliance store on Queens Boulevard immigrants living in Queens rushed to meet federal deadlines for citizenship .
Groundbreaking ceremonies marked the start of construction of a pool at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park a debate in Albany stalled cleanup efforts at Queens toxic sites the MTA announced plans to replace token booth clerks with MetroCard machines Queens District Attorney Richard Brown celebrated 10 years as the boroughs top crime-buster the firm hired by the city to spray Queens against its "2000" West Nile mosquitoes was fined $1 million for improperly training employees and illegally selling pesticides .
Merchants rallied for a new Queens Boulevard parking plan the son of Borough President Claire Shulman died at age 45, the victim of heart failure, and the Tribune honored local dads with its "Father of the Year" contest Trib reporter Angela Montefinise examined "Queens On The Little Screen," a look at TV shows in, of, or about Queens, from Archie Bunker to the "King of Queens "
June ended on a tragic note, when three Queens firefighters lost their lives at a blaze in Astoria. The "Fathers Day Fire" was huge, but nothing firefighters had not seen before and then the Astoria hardware store and warehouse collapsed, burying Firefighters John Downing, Harry Ford and Brian Fahey beneath the rubble. Fellow firefighters went to their knees, digging with bare hands through the piles of concrete and steel to reach the three trapped men. Firefighter Joseph Vosilla of Engine Co. 261 survived being trapped and, months later, was headed on the road to recovery by some miracle .
The Tribune featured "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" an examination of the state of Queens municipal parks the brother of a Queens man wanted for six bank robberies gave up his sibling to cops .
The owners of a 10-month-old German shepherd went searching for answers when the pooch died after he was mishandled by crew members at a Delta terminal at LaGuardia Airport The Tribunes annual "Best Of Queens" issue compiled the things readers like best about the borough the No. 7 train dropped from first to fourth place in a straphangers survey, and we sniffed out the "Stink At Flushing Bay ."
Investigations began a probe of the storeowner and conditions at the Astoria hardware store that blew up in June, killing three firefighters mayoral candidate Mike Bloomberg met with Forest Hills residents, 107 hopefuls filed to run for City Council seats Mother Nature parboiled us with 104-degree temperatures the family of Flushing key maker Tony Avena continued his battle with the MTA to keep the 80-year-old family business at Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue the Elks lodge went on the market in July, and the first signs of West Nile disease were discovered in Queens .
We featured New York Citys vision of the 2012 Olympic Games in Queens we warned residents to beware the "Fire Escape Burglar" debated the relocation of youngsters at Creedmoors Childrens Center examined the "web of intrigue" shrouding the past of Peter Parker (Spiderman) a Forest Hills resident, and we told the tale of three Queens fishermen who rescued five men from a sinking boat off Jones Beach .
We mourned the death of Jack Maple, architect of the citys phenomenal drop in crime and began a series of in-depth interviews with Queens candidates Firefighter Joseph Vosilla left Elmhurst Hospital Center and headed to rehab Vosilla cheated death on June 17 at the Astoria hardware store fire Flushing residents waded through their flooded homes, demanding action from the city to unplug local sewers, and we offered readers a "Back To School" survival guide and an update on candidates and issues to look for in the Sept. 11 primary .
Acts of violence increased in Queens high schools a court ruling halted the MTAs plans to shut token booths the Tribune listed its endorsements for the upcoming primary election, and the family of Michael Griffith the victim in the 1986 Howard Beach case asked the courts to explain why they were not advised that Griffiths killer was paroled .
The Tribune front page read "Vote" on Sept. 6, as we urged Queensites to get out and pull the lever school bells rang in Opening Day, 2001 we reported on 20 toxic sites in Queens that were not funded for clean-up, and the Wendys massacre trial was put on hold until the presiding judge finished hearing election-related cases three detectives at the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst delivered a baby in the back seat of a cab, and we examined plans to renovate the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park .
9-11 We stood on the Queens shoreline and stared at the images across the river as the planes crashed into the mighty towers, we wept and prayed for the innocent victims, trapped in the fear and flames .
And then the world, as we knew it, changed forever before our eyes, the towers crumbled killing our mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters we would never be the same .
The terrorist attack shut down Queens highways, airports, subways and buses we walked home across bridges and along avenues, shocked but not shattered the Primary election was cancelled some victims families would later question why the votes of those lost could not be counted in a final tally weeks later From Flushing to Long Island City, we lit candles, prayed for the victims and ourselves we dipped into our pockets to buy supplies for rescue crews at Ground Zero, donated blood, our time and energy to help stabilize the city, as the list of Queens "missing" grew by the hour Shea Stadium was turned into an outdoor warehouse of donated clothing and equipment for rescue crews .
The Primary election was held on Sept. 25, and we called on Helen Marshall to oversee the post-terrorist needs of Queens as our borough president we prepared ourselves for traffic carpools, possible further attacks, biological "retribution" and war .
Queens Chamber of Congress Executive Director Lucy Nunziato retired, leaving the group after eight years .
Mark Green won a run-off in the race for City Hall, making him the Democratic candidate for mayor Joseph Vosilla, the "miracle" firefighter who survived the Astoria Fathers Day fire, went home he vowed to walk again a Queens cop gave the Trib his recollection of Ground Zero during the tragedy we examined the progress of the new Flushing Mall, and joined the borough at a prayer vigil at St. Johns University .
A Tribune front page photo brought it all home armed National Guardsmen patrolled LaGuardia Airport as we asked, "Life As Usual?" we also examined safety in the subways, and plans to avert terrorism a mural appeared on the wall of a Long Island City business a stunning portrayal of the events and aftermath of 9-11 .
The family of Tony Avena lost a court battle to stay in business in Flushing the court gave the 80-year-old business until the end of 2001 to pack and move out a plainclothes police sergeant cheated death in a shoot-out near Shea Stadium the cop was saved by his bulletproof vest the Tribune published an exclusive interview with the Queens publisher of an Afghani newspaper and we examined Wall Street firms that were opting for relocation in Queens after the terror attack former NYC cop Bo Dietl gave the Tribune his "spin" on fighting terrorism we continued to print stories of victims and their memorials, and examined safety measures put in place at Queens Borough Hall after the anthrax mail scare .
It was official! Helen Marshall was our new borough president Mike Bloomberg began his first day as mayor-elect by greeting Queensites in Kew Gardens, and we elected new City Council members to represent neighborhoods throughout the borough .
We were just beginning to cope with the terrorist attack when a plane fell from the skies over Belle Harbor, Queens American Airlines Flight 587 exploded in mid-air, tore apart and slammed into homes in Belle Harbor more than 267 people were killed in he crash, including seven people on the ground a dozen homes burned (two went to ashes) as investigators started putting the pieces of the puzzle together to try to determine the cause of the crash .
Thanksgiving despite threats of terror attacks, growing concern at airports and federal troops at our tunnels and highway, we proved our mettle by parading through Manhattan, then stuffing our birds and ourselves on Thanksgiving Day .
Squeegee men reappeared at some Queens intersections, including Queens Plaza, boasting that the Sept. 11 attack was distracting police, opening the door for their reappearance Wrong! police arrived at the scene, enmasse, and arrested almost a dozen of the dirt-smearers Claire Shulmans dream of a "new" Queens Hospital Center came true in December, when a new $147 million state-of-the-art medical facility opened its doors Schools Chancellor Harold Levy said the City should invest its $1.9 billion in school construction funds for new schools for Queens political columnist Arthur Nitzburg passed away from a heart attack in December the Tribune told the story of a Queens man who waited one full month to bury his parents victims of Flight 587, after City medical examiners identified the couple, and we spoke, via the internet, with a Queens Marine who is serving in Afghanistan First Lt. Charles Hermosa sent a message from the front line to Queens stay tough and hold on to our freedom as U.S. troops defend the flag .
As we close the book on 2001, we congratulate Queens moms and brides, dads and grads we applaud the boroughs more than two million people for their ability to live without fear we mourn with the families of those lost on Fathers Day and on Flight 587, and we salute our outgoing Borough President Claire Shulman .
It has been called the "first great battle of the first war of the 21st century" there are thousands of stories of Sept. 11 stories of heroism, of the lives and dreams of the victims stories of hope, and the vision of a city healed, but humbled, in the wake of so much devastation .
In time, the last pile of rubble will be lifted from Ground Zero, and the citys financial hub will rise and flourish...the funerals will end, and the broken heart of a city in so much mourning will heal .
The victims of Sept. 11 fell through the looking glass, to a place beyond pain perhaps from there, they can lead us to peace in time .
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