Another Look: I Still Struggle to Speak of 9/11


Note from CM: I wrote this 5 years ago, on the tenth anniversary of the attacks on 9/11/2001. I don’t have any easier time talking about it today.

• • •

On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, I ate breakfast with the pastor with whom I used to work as an associate. We met at our favorite restaurant, the one we used to joke about as a “second office” for people in our church. When I was on the church staff, it was not uncommon for me to be there at least three mornings a week.

Skies were bright and blue in central Indiana that day, as I got in my car to drive the fifteen miles back to my office. Realizing that I had forgotten to give my friend something, I took a slight detour and drove by the church. The radio was on and I heard sketchy reports about an aviation incident in New York City. The announcer said witnesses reported that they thought a light plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.

Popping in and out of the church office to do my errand, I mentioned the strange report to the secretary and pastor, but didn’t think much about it. That changed as I got back in my car, drove south, and listened to further news bulletins about the unfolding events in Manhattan. By the time I reached my church, my associate had pulled the TV from the youth room into his office and was watching the horrific footage of the burning, collapsing towers. We spent the rest of the day in front of that TV, speechless.

We called a special prayer service in the sanctuary for that evening. Together, a few dozen of us watched President Bush’s address to the nation and then we prayed. As we were talking in the foyer later, one of my parishioners said, “Come here.” I followed him outside and he pointed to the heavens, the quiet, plane-less heavens, and said, “This may be the only time in our lives that we will see the skies empty like this.”

A couple in our church had a son in Manhattan. It was days before the phone system was repaired enough for them to talk with him and find out he was truly alright. Most of us were glued to the TV for days, watching the wall to wall coverage that preempted every scheduled show. I was scheduled to fly to Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia on September 18, to visit our missionary friends, Andy and Damaris Zehner. On Sunday, a man in our congregation took me by the shoulders with tears in his eyes and said, “Please don’t go!” We all struggled to know how to talk about this with our children.

To be honest, there were moments when it all seemed like a media event. The fact that we saw and heard and interpreted everything through what was being broadcast on television, radio, in print and on the internet gave the tragedy a slight air of unreality. Most of us have seen enough bombs and staged catastrophes on TV and at the movies that it was hard to distinguish the spectacular images we were seeing on the screen from the latest blockbuster. I had to work hard to process the fact that this was real — my God! — this actually happened, and thousands of people literally died. This was not some movie about war, this was war, and it had come to our shores.

As that began to sink in, and then as the days went by, then the months, then the years, I have found myself unable to talk about September 11, 2001. I haven’t read books about it. I haven’t watched anniversary coverage. If footage from the terror attacks comes on some news report or documentary, I usually change the channel or leave the room. I don’t enter into discussions about it. I avoid thinking about it.

It is not that I was directly touched by 9/11. I did not know anyone personally who perished in New York, Pennsylvania, or Washington, D.C. I was not traumatized as an eyewitness or first responder. I have not yet had the privilege of visiting Ground Zero and surveying the scene.

But I am a human being. And as a human being in the image of God I value life. Valuing life, I detest all forms of cruelty and violence and wanton destruction of human life.

Let me say, I am not a wimp when it comes to handling emergencies, trauma, blood, and death. I deal with death almost every day as a hospice chaplain. I’ve watched many, many people take their last breaths. I am acquainted with grief, and though it touches me deeply, I am constituted so that I am able, somehow, to offer a kind of strength to those who are going through it.

However, I cannot handle intentional cruelty and savagery. I’ve been like this as long as I can remember. I recall reading Truman Capote’s novel, In Cold Blood, as a young person, for example, and I have never recovered from that. It still gives me nightmares. I have never taken pleasure in violent movies or shows that display human brutality and its graphic results. Over the past few years, I have actually forced myself to watch some of these shows, hoping to gain insight about why they appeal to so many of my fellow human beings.

Honestly, I still don’t get it.

So, it turns my guts inside out to think about being a captive passenger on one of those planes, a worker trapped in one of those buildings, a human being filled with such panic and desperation that the only option imaginable is to leap a thousand feet toward concrete to escape the inferno. To think of beautiful human bodies pulverized beneath the weight of imploding skyscrapers or mangled in the fuselage of a plane that plows into the ground at 580 miles per hour makes me literally want to vomit.

And then…to know that all this was no accident, but the result of depraved human design and intentional actions, sickens me beyond words.

 “… the one who loves violence His soul hates.” (Psalm 11:4)

Me too. Deeply. With down in my stomach hatred.

Believe it or not, this is the first time that I have intentionally engaged in conversations specifically about 9/11 since the days immediately following the attacks. Ten years later.

And even now, I am doing it by sitting alone in my living room typing my thoughts. If you and I were face to face, I would struggle to speak the words. As it is, I can feel the tightness in my chest, the butterflies in my stomach. It’s hard to swallow. I’m fighting back tears. I’ll probably wake up a few times during the night with this on my mind.

Violence and cruelty sucks.

If I feel this way, 700+ miles away from Ground Zero, with no intimate connections to the event, ten years after it occurred, what must it be like, day in and day out, for those who were directly touched by the barbarity that day, who have had to live with wounds from the blunt force trauma caused by this inhumanity every moment since September 11, 2001?

I cannot wait for the day when these words come to pass:

“Violence will not be heard again in your land, nor devastation or destruction within your borders; but you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise.”

• Isaiah 60:18

Even so, come quickly.

32 thoughts on “Another Look: I Still Struggle to Speak of 9/11

  1. Also, today’s Communion hymn at St Boniface was “America the Beautiful”. I didn’t think it was a good idea.


  2. When I hear politicians say we should have taken their oil (supporting the lies at the Madrassas) I cringe as I know good, decent people with eventually die over those words, sooner or later.

    When the Arab Oil Embargo went down in the late Seventies, a common one-liner of the time was “Nuke their Ass and Take the Gas.” This is just the 21st Century upgrade of NTA&TTG.


  3. A day late, Mike Jones, but I do want to tell you how greatly I appreciate your reaction to this tragedy. It is an inspiration, in the face of all the mindless hatred we hear and have heard since that day.


  4. The ESV may now be “set in stone,” but that stone now bears at least one controversial change:

    Genesis 3:16 Permanent: Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.
    Previous: Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.

    Genesis 4:7 Permanent: Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.
    Previous: Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.


  5. I lived and worked less than 10 miles from the Pentagon on 9/11, and still do. Someone said that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center, and that seemed accidental at first. The second tower was hit just as someone turned on the TV in the office conference room. When we got word the Pentagon had been hit, all you-know-what broke loose in the office. Several mothers immediately left to get their kids from school. Rumors began flying that other federal buildings had been hit. Soon afterward speculation began about the intended destination of Flight 93. I don’t recall getting a lot of work done that day. In the evening I attended a prayer service at my church along with many others. Not until later did we find out the governor of Virginia asked local residents to stay home that evening.

    The next evening I attended an Alpha dinner at my church. Several people at my table had been in the Pentagon the day before but evacuated safely. Not until a day later did I learn one of my cousins in New York had survived without injury. As far as I know nobody at my church was killed or injured in the Pentagon, although at least one member of a sister church was killed.

    15 years later I still shudder as I remember that day. My parents never forgot the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor; I doubt I’ll ever forget 9/11.


  6. My 70 year old brother-in-law had to start meds for anxiety/obsession after the tragedy of 9-11. He’s better with the meds but he’ll probably never get off them.


  7. On September 11, 2001 I was on my way to a breakfast meeting with some friends when I heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. My first impression was that this was an accident. But while still driving the radio announcer said that another plane struck the other tower, and I knew immediately then that this was an act of terrorism. And yet a few minutes later after a somber breakfast meeting I heard from someone that a plane crashed into the Pentagon.

    A couple of days later there was a televised memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral. Several religious leaders spoke but none more elegant than Billy Graham. i do not remember all he said but I remember that he quoted Jeremiah 17.9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (ESV, but I don’t recall what translation he used). He then went on to explain that evil cannot be fully understood, and that if Jeremiah didn’t understand it than neither does he.

    In 2004 my family visited my mother in Queens. We took a day to visit Manhattan where we climbed to the top of the Empire State Building and later headed south to see the site where the towers once stood. My kids were 15, 13 and 10 at the time. We all stood speechless as we stared through a chain link fence at a huge hole in the ground where the towers once stood. I don’t remember what we said or discussed afterwards except I vaguely remember taking the time to tell the kids that there is evil in the world and that it is incomprehensible. Somehow I knew that they understood that evil is incomprehensible.


  8. At the time of 9/11, I lived about fifteen miles, and worked about thirty miles, from Manhattan in northern NJ. The roads I had to drive from work to home went over low hills and mountains, some intermittently opening out onto a view of the NYC skyline, though its was many miles away. At one such overlook, as I was driving home, I could see a huge column of smoke rising from Ground Zero into the cloudless blue sky. Ever since, crisp, clear Autumn days have been tainted with the memory of hell on earth for me.


  9. I have 9/11 memories too, since I live in the area, but didn’t lose anyone. It was a weird period of time, but the weird nightmarish sense I got seeing armed guards in various places you wouldn’t normally see them was made worse by the national sense of self righteousness. Hundreds of thousands of people are dead because of it.

    And right now we are helping the Saudis bomb Yemen, killing thousands and bringing them to the brink of famine. They know we are doing it. And it is barely even an issue here.


  10. It will go down like that, of course, so that the Anti-Christ and his minions can argue that all the missing people from the rapture were vaporized in the nuclear attack. But who they’ll be making that argument to in the aftermath of a full-blown nuclear war is what I wonder. Cockroaches? Bacteria?


  11. well, depending on who wins the election in November, your Scofield friends might be right about a coming war.

    I remember during the heyday of Hal Lindsay, the Plain Reading of SCRIPTURE(TM) was that the Rapture would occur just as the first ICBM warheads were cutting atmo and the nuclear detonation sequences initiated. (Tritium boost injected, trigger capacitors fully charged, klystron tube beaming initiator neutrons into the primary pit…) And then God beams you up before any harm can come to you personally. Gave “Look Up for Your Redemption Draweth Nigh” a whole new meaning.


  12. Hi MIKE

    you wrote ” When my Christian (Scofield) friends say, “Don’t hope for peace, we all know how this is going to end. We will have a huge (Armageddon) war soon” and they imply . . . they can’t wait.”

    well, depending on who wins the election in November, your Scofield friends might be right about a coming war. I’m afraid that, given a certain victory, nuclear weapons will be considered by the Commander in Chief as offensive weapons in the field of battle rather than defensive use only if we are under nuclear attack by Russia or China. I’m not the only one worried about this, believe me. Nobody will win a nuclear war, we know this. But I think the candidate in question asked ‘if we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them’


  13. oops, the proper name of the cutter is the USCGC Forward.
    (acronym stands for United States Coast Guard Cutter)


  14. I’ll never forget the number of my Coast Guard son’s first cutter. We picked him up at Christmas time when they came back from duty, and as the cutter rounded the bend to pull up to the pier, there was the number 911 on the side of it. Yes, I got chills.
    My son joined up because of 9/ll and we were so proud, and still are. The cutter is the USCG Forward.


  15. Oh, Mike, I so agree. And now we have someone running for president who recently stated that the way to stop ISIS is to go into Iraq and “take the oil” which feeds right into what you are saying is one of the false stories being spread in that part of the world. How would people not believe it when that is what one of our front runners is saying?

    I too hear Christian lies about history and listen to Christian friends & family talk about “going over there and bombing the hell outta those people.” I makes me sick & sad. And yes, good people will die because of these words.


  16. Like every other Tuesday, it was deadline day at the small-town newspaper office where I worked. And that meant knocking out local news stories, making phone calls, and processing photos non-stop as fast as I could manage for about 10 hours straight. Back then, we didn’t have a television in the office and only one computer in the office had internet access — and that computer was usually tied up with page-making duties.
    The first hint we had that something was going to be radically different about that day was when the husband of our production manager called in saying that an airplane of some kind had hit one of the Twin Towers. Details trickled in a piece at a time after that. At one point, someone found an old radio and plugged it in. I can remember trying to listen to that radio while I typed up relatively meaningless crap about the county fair cattle show and Friday night’s football game. It all seemed somehow detached from reality — like listening to a recording of that old War of the Worlds broadcast by Orson Wells.
    I managed to sneak outside at one point for a smoke break. I remember the spooky quiet that seemed to have fallen over the world and the clear blue sky free of the usual com-trail lines.
    Around lunchtime, my editor sent me across the court square to the First Baptist Church to get photos of people gathered there for prayer. After a few shots, I put down my camera and joined them. And I have to admit that few minutes hand-in-hand with friends and neighbors in prayer went a long way toward helping me get through the rest of that day.
    It wasn’t until later that evening when I went to cover a local town council meeting that I actually saw televised images of the destruction. Hours of fearful imagination did not prepare me for that. I can still see those images in my head — though they’re not as vivid as they once were, and they fade a little more every year.


  17. I have my memories of 9/11, of course. But I plan, on Sunday, to go hear a speaker at Urbana University here in town, who will talk about peace, in honor of Alicia Titus. Alicia lived a few miles from Urbana, and was a flight attendant on the second plane, the one that hit the South Tower. Her parents have dedicated much of their lives since then to working for peace. Of course they have been called “unpatriotic” for standing against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. One person asked them what their daughter would have thought about their participation in an anti-war protest. They answered, “She would have been leading the protest.”

    From Psalm 16: “As for the saints in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight.”


  18. Like everyone old enough, I remember that day vividly. Having lived and worked in the Middle East, and spent a long time studying the relationship between Islam and the West I also felt an, I guess I would call “intellectual” (for loss of better words) grief as well as the human emotional grief. It is like watching two people that you love dearly, hating and killing each other for stupid reasons (all murder is of course is built on evil-stupidity).

    Five years later a Jewish friend in NYC, who knew of my connections with the Middle East told me about a group of medics who had worked the 9-11 tragedy that day in Manhattan. They (not a Christian group at all) came away from that experience wanting to respond to hate, not with more hate, but with kindness and compassion and listening (a Jesus-like attitude, although they didn’t know Jesus). The opportunity had just presented itself when a major earthquake (83.000 killed) struck the very area where the pro-Taliban Pakistani people were living. Little did we know it was also where Osama was living at the time. This team of medics packed up their bags to go and to show love to the very people who had supported the terrorists attack that killed all those people (including their co-workers) they had carried out that day. I asked if I could go and they invited me to come.

    We actually rendezvoused in Abbottabad, (home of Osama). The Pakistani government had warned us that it was a very dangerous place for American people and don’t dare talk politics. Even people coming to help in the earthquake (The US Army was also sending help in a different part of Kashmir) would be in danger. We had to have personal body guards and one night we were surrounded by the pro-Taliban people screaming through a mega-horn, “Death to the Americans.”

    One day, in our medical camp, I realized that I was the only American. The others were Pakistani / Afghan workers and a couple of Pakistani doctors. We were eating in our makeshift kitchen some goat curry. I looked around at the (Osama-looking) men and asked the Pakistani doctor next to me, (who spoke English) to ask them, “In their opinion . . . what was 9/11 all about?” When he spoke in Pushto and Urdo, they all became very agitated and all tried to talk at once.

    The unanimous response I heard that day was this (in summary):

    1) George Bush used the CIA to blow up the World Trade Centers. Disney worked with the CIA to create large holograms of airplanes crashing into the buildings, but secret video shows the CIA planting the explosives. Engineering experts in Pakistan had already been on TV to prove that airplanes would not have caused the buildings to crash. That all the Jews had been warned to get out. Only Muslims perished that day.

    “Why would George Bush do this?” I asked.

    2) Because the Bushes are oil people. They want Middle Eastern oil. This was a conspiracy to pin this on Osama (a great man and freedom fighter against western hostilities) so that they would have an excuse at the UN to invade Afghanistan so that the Christian soldiers can take their women to rape and to invade Iraq to take all of their oil to make the Bushes even richer.

    I felt great grief and at loss for words. Finally I said, almost in tears, “If this was true, I would hate America too and fight against her with all of my might alongside you. But the problem is, this is NOT true. When the other Americans get back, talk to them. They were there that day and saw what happened with their own eyes.”

    Satan is the father of lies. He uses lies to create hatred and the foundation of evil. Now, in the US, I constantly see Face Book postings from my Christian friends about conspiracy theories against Muslims (or Obama). I hear Christian lies all the time about history. I hate it. It sets the stage for the excuse to “bomb the hell” out of those “nasty Muslims” who are plotting to come here and rape our women and blow up our babies.

    When I hear politicians say we should have taken their oil (supporting the lies at the Madrassas) I cringe as I know good, decent people with eventually die over those words, sooner or later. When my Christian (Scofield) friends say, “Don’t hope for peace, we all know how this is going to end. We will have a huge (Armageddon) war soon” and they imply . . . they can’t wait. I do believe in Peace. I do believe that the Gospel will eventually overcome lies . . . but not without a formidable fight.


  19. Like Stephen I was/am local to D.C., working in College Park, Md. at the university. My husband is a fed who works about a mile from the Capitol Building. Our department lost a student and his wife and two children on the flight that hit the Pentagon. It was our son’s 10th birthday.

    Somehow my husband got out of D.C. on the commuter train and I drove home. They locked down and shut down all the schools in the area. We picked up our son. Of course, by then everyone knew about Flight 93 going down also, with the intended target being the Capitol.

    Like many others, I have not been the same since. That day was the start of my issues with depression, fear of public places, fear of flying and other public transportation, difficulty living near D.C…. just a lot of fear and paranoia. I became hyper-vigilant and have to discipline myself away from being constantly tuned to the news. I’m pretty sure these are PTSD symptoms. Like Chaplain Mike, I avoid fiction that includes violence, terror, horror—whether it is film, TV, books. Why would I expose myself to even more of that when the world provides the real stuff?

    No one ever forgets when my son’s birthday is.


  20. I was in Washington DC on 9/11. My office building was in New Carrollton, MD which is about ten miles east of DC. My brother called me from Georgia with the first news, asking me if I had heard anything. (It’s strange to think back to those ancient days when the computer system we used didn’t have internet access. I manage a team of software testers and almost every application we use now is web based.)

    Pretty soon people in the office were getting calls and we were hearing all kinds of things, crazy things; the Metro was shut down, we were under martial law with tanks in the streets, the White House was on fire, etc, with no way to verify any of it. Eventually someone in authority decided that the best thing was to send everybody home. I lived in Silver Spring, MD and my commute involved taking the Metro downtown and changing trains to come out to New C so I faced a long trip home if the Metro was down. Well I walked to the station and fortunately the news was wrong, it was still open, although obviously the stretch that included the Pentagon was closed.

    New C is the end of the line and above ground and standing on the raised train platform off in the distance towards DC you could see a plume of smoke rising up. (This is ten miles away remember!) I suppose when you’re in shock your mind disconnects and I remember it was only much later that it hit me that that was the Pentagon! In the car with me heading downtown were three other people who were obviously together and I saw them poring over a subway map. They noticed me and one of them approached and pointed towards his map and said “Metro Center”? Turns out they were all German and unusual in my experience none of them spoke any English. Well helping tourists with directions is a cottage industry up here but my knowledge of German is strictly World War II movie level ( achtung! verboten!) so how to explain that today might not be a good day to go downtown sight seeing? Realistically though all I good do was say yes, this train goes to Metro Center (which is actually where I was heading myself). I’ve often wondered what happened to those folks. I’m sure they had a much more interesting time of it than they planned.

    As the name implies Metro Center is a hub where all the train lines cross and usually it is a frenzy of sound and motion. Imagine two hundred people standing on the platform, anxious and afraid, lost in their own thoughts, totally quiet. I finally made it home to my apartment but the strangeness continued. First the streets were packed tight with bumper to bumper traffic, everybody trying to get home. Then at some point in the afternoon, nothing. For the rest of the day and that evening the streets were completely empty. (If you’ve ever lived in an urban environment you will realize how weird that idea is.) And starting midafternoon squadrons of jets began to orbit the area. You couldn’t see them but you could hear them up there when they passed over. The phone lines were so busy that it took me a couple hours to get through to my family to assure them I was safe.

    Well that’s my 9/11 story for what its’ worth. I’ve had worse days personally but none stranger


  21. Going to the Bronx from Jersey to visit the grandparents as a kid I saw the NY skyline. On 9/11 I went into a state of shock for a little while. I was surprised at the visceral reaction I had. I was driving to a paint store to pick up some more paint, listening to the radio and suddenly found myself crying pretty strongly as if a loved one had died. I then realized that I had just been driving randomly without any thought of direction for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning down this road and that, and had no idea where I was. I had to get my Mapsco (no phone with GPS) to find out. That was a bad day and the start of a fierce era in world affairs.


  22. > I haven’t read books about it. I haven’t watched anniversary coverage

    Same here.

    > they thought a light plane had crashed into

    I had walked across the parking lot to get a coffee. The clerk told me a bi-plane had crashed into a tower in New York; I immediately pictured King Kong astride a tower swatting at planes, shrugged it off. It was a beautiful day in Michigan.

    Back at my corner cubicle the NMS (Network Management System) had alerts – the computers we communicated with for Credit Card payment processing were offline. Pick up the phone for support…. no answer. Traffic on several circuits was flat-lined, Internet traffic was suddenly pegged to the top of the scale. Something was looking messed up, but no maintenance window scheduled.

    Then over on IRC [old Internet tech hackers/developers use to chat] the queries if anyone knew where so-and-so was working today, first a few, then more and more. People sending cell phone numbers for other people to try. People asking other people not to jam up the cell phone network. All just silent text, flowing across the screen. Sitting in a cubicle.

    The heavy sinking feeling; knowing it is a very bad day.


  23. –> “We’re a violent country.”

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s just America. Take a look around at the history of the world and at other nations in the world right now. We’re a violent PEOPLE. There seems to be an inherent violence in ALL humankind.


  24. That day holds a lot of bad and strange memories. My father-in-law was killed in a motorcycle accident on 9/11/96. My wife and I had planned to take the day off, visit his grave, and then attend the Washington State Fair.

    One of her co-workers called with the news just as we were preparing to leave. We sat riveted to the tv for about an hour, then decided there wasn’t much we could do. We went ahead as we had planned, including going to the fair. It was just surreal. Beautiful day, but hardly anyone at the fairgrounds. Some, like us, had decided there wasn’t much point to watching the tv with the horrific images and the talking-heads repeating the same non-information over and over. We checked-in periodically with the people manning the booths and such to see if anything new had transpired, but for the most part tried to enjoy a day in memory of my father-in-law and that had clearly become something else.

    I have a fondness in my heart for anyone who has a significant memory/anniversary/etc. on September 11th prior to 9/11/01. That “thing” you have has been forever tainted by a bigger “thing.”


  25. …and yet, this is normal life for many, many people around the world.

    That’s remarkable to me. How insulated we are. One giant, huge, horrific event…on a very large scale, sure, but also so common to so many.

    We’re a violent country. We do unspeakably violent acts to others around the world. And yet when it hits us…a JFK, a MLK, a Columbine, a 9/11, a Sandyhook…it’s so huge that many will deny it was even real and others will retaliate even worse.


  26. I remember going north on the Tappanzee Bridge and on a clear day, we could always look over and see the NYC skyline with the twin towers . . . and then came the time when we drove across the Tappanzee and no towers, very sad

    We once lived in a Ramapo Mountain lake district in Jersey where on Skyline Drive, on a clear day, there was a point at which you could look out and see the NYC skyline in the distance . . . . our old neighbors in that area told us that on 9/11, they could actually see the smoke rising from the skyline from that point when they drove over the mountain

    It’s like it was yesterday when I was at work and taking my class to first lunch and a friend said ‘they got the Pentagon, have you heard’? I said ‘what?” And she said the trade towers had been hit and the Pentagon was attacked ….. I dropped the children off at the lunchroom and went upstairs to the teachers’ lounge and saw the television …… we were all speechless …… I got on the phone and called my father who was in assisted living, and asked him if he was okay. Later he told me, that within thirty minutes, all three of us ‘kids’ had called in to see how he was doing. I guess that is what people did, then ….. they touched base with the ones they loved. Memories.


  27. They estimate 200 plus people purposely jumped to their deaths to escape the raging inferno. It truly was horrific. In one of the videos where firemen are getting ready to go up into the first building you can hear the ongoing, almost explosive thumps of the bodies as they landed. Horrific


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