Interview with Lieutenant Christopher Love
September 11, 2011
By Emily Katz
On the tenth anniversary of September 11th, Lieutenant Christopher Love rode the downtown six-subway train to the site of Ground Zero, a trip he takes every year in remembrance. “Everyone comes together on this day,” said Lieutenant Love, “the ten-year mark is the big one, though it seemed like yesterday”.
According to Lieutenant Love, it was a beautiful and sunny day. He was with his fellow firemen at their base in Harlem where they watched on TV as the World Trade Center’s North Tower collapsed into the ground. “When the first tower came down, we knew that we had lost a lot of guys,” said Lieutenant Love. Eager to go downtown to assist with search and rescue, he immediately called the dispatcher who told his brigade to hold back “to protect the rest of Manhattan.”
Lieutenant Love and his brigade were finally able to reach the site of the attack at nine o’clock that night. “If you could picture what hell looks like, that was what it was like at Ground Zero,” he said. Love and his team crawled under debris and even went into the subway system. They found no survivors. He stayed at the site for two straight weeks, and cleaning up the aftermath took a total of four months.
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, left Lieutenant Love with psychological scars. “I can’t stay in hotel rooms that are really high up,” he said, “and I can’t look at heavy machinery because they cause the horrifying images of that day to resurface.” The fire department was changed; it lost many of its senior firemen. According to Love, the men in the brigades today are much younger, much less experienced.
A New Yorker from Brooklyn, the Twin Towers were symbolic to Lieutenant Love. He recounts, “When I arrived at the site on that day, I couldn’t even tell where I was because the buildings were gone.” To him, the reconstruction of World Trade Centers is a way of telling the world: you can’t beat us.