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FBI agent recalls aftermath of terrorist attack on World Trade Center

Zoe Alvarez, Staff Writer

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“Kieran, wake up and turn on the TV,” she said.

He was so tired but woke up.

“Aunty, what are you talking about? I’m going back to sleep,” Kieran said.

“Something happened,” she yelled. “Turn on the TV.”

After the searches, agents then went to a place that was called the “fresh kill’s landfill” a place where all the rubble from Ground Zero was brought.”

— Kieran Ramsey

He knew his aunt never yelled so he turned on the TV. Thirty-three seconds later the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center.

The day was September 11, 2001, terrorists had attacked the twin towers, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and crashed a plane in rural Pennsylvania.

He called his FBI partner, woke her up, and told her what happened.

Shortly after, Ramsey called his boss and asked him what he could do to help. They met at a site away from the office and were told to call everyone else to join them.

Then he began to put together the lead crime team, and others were chasing leads and false information having to do with New York, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania.

Three to four days later he and his team went to New York to help with recovery efforts. They proceeded to work the next month at Ground Zero.

They began at Ground Zero where Ramsey said they were “quite literally” looking for human remains as they brought out the rubble. The team would look for human remains in big dump trucks full of rubble, and anything that was of evidential interest even though they weren’t really focused on evidence.

He and his team in some sense knew what had already happened at that point. They had conducted searches on top of nearby buildings where various objects were found such as some of the passports or pieces of passports of the hijackers. But still, their focus was the search for human remains he said.

After the searches, agents then went to a place that was called the “fresh kill’s landfill” a place where all the rubble from Ground Zero was brought and they would sift through rubble in search for human remains and other items, he said.

The atmosphere at Ground Zero was absolutely horrible according to Ramsey noticed that everyone was in a frantic pace to remove the rubble and look for missing people.

“You wouldn’t find people all at once in the rubble. You would only find body parts in the rubble and damage,” he said.

Every time someone was found in the rubble, the search crew would sound the sirens and they would let out a loud wail alerting everyone around. They would then check if the person was dead or alive, Ramsey said.

After watching the planes crash into the two towers, Ramsey was uncertain of what he felt at the moment.

“I was shocked I think, not unlike anybody who saw it,” he said. “I was shocked and I think maybe a little more emotional because I’m from New York originally.”

When he saw the plane hit the tower live on tv as he was on the phone with his aunt, it was almost unbelievable. He had to convince himself that it was actually real he said.

While working at Ground Zero two weeks later, Ramsey and his family had arrangements for lunch. He remembered that he had walked 15 blocks in the city to find the restaurant and meet his family.

When he saw his family, his siblings, and father, they all broke down into tears and were overcome by emotion because of what had happened, he said. The attack on the World Trade Center had happened two weeks prior and was still very fresh in their minds and hearts.

They were also emotional since their father had lost his close friend which they were very close to as well. It also made them emotional to see that he was helping there at ground zero which meant the world to them.

Not only did it shock Ramsey and made him emotional, it had changed his perspective personally and professionally as well.

Even now I get teary-eyed talking about this. I am still in disbelief that this could happen, that under the circumstances it could happen.”

— Kieran Ramsey

“Once I was finished working at Ground Zero, I flew back home to Seattle and the first thing I told my wife was I wanted to have kids,” he said.

This shocked and very much surprised his wife, he said. She had thought this was a result of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and he had partially agreed. She would never forget the first thing he told her. Ramsey said.

They had children six years later but the concept of raising children to be good people never left, he said.

Sixteen years later Ramsey is still emotional on what took place September 11, 2001.

“Even now I get teary-eyed talking about this. I am still in disbelief that this could happen, that under the circumstances it could happen,” he said.

 

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FBI agent recalls aftermath of terrorist attack on World Trade Center