“The initial impression was as if we had walked out of the audience and became part of the show...”
John Romanowich, a recovery worker, remembers his first day at Ground Zero after September 11, 2001.
Michael Garofalo and Jasmyn Belcher
Click here for the transcript.
John Romanowich (JR): I remember stepping off a bus that took us there. And I'd seen enough of it on television to pretty much know what to expect, but the initial impression was as if we had walked out of the audience and became part of the show, like we crossed into a different reality. I was working from 3 in the afternoon to 11 or midnight. By the time I got home, my wife and daughter were sleeping. When I woke up I was alone, I'd have breakfast. And one day I was getting ready and my identification to be able to access the site was gone. My daughter had taken my ID to school. Well, the next time that we were both home and awake, my daughter asked me to forgive her for taking it because she was just proud that she wanted to show her friends who I was. I think most of us considered ourselves just to be ants crawling around on the pile. But in her eyes, I was a big deal -- I was going to Ground Zero every day. Going back to a regular normal job and a regular normal existence, that was a real adjustment because we all eventually got to where that's where we all felt normal. We never felt right when we had to leave, when we had to go home. So that was like you were getting cut from the team.