posted on August 26, 2011 14:58
Alan Amato sat with friends in the Batavia City Centre this afternoon, across from the city's 9-11 Memorial Exhibit. The group meets there regularly for lunch, but the backdrop is now a bit different.
Against the opposite wall sits a totaled NYC Port Authority patrol car. The black sheet metal is scraped and dented, the windows and light fixtures blown out, and a gritty dust permeates the tan interior.
"You wonder what was going through everybody's head down there...when that was happening," Amato said, harkening back to the hectic scene at Ground Zero on September 11th, 2001. This patrol car was sitting at the base of the World Trade Towers that morning. When they fell, debris and dust rained down on the car.
"You don't expect that over here (in the United States). Other countries, you see it all the time, but here you'd never think about that," he said of the attacks. Amato wondered aloud whether the driver of the patrol car was even still alive today. Was he or she sitting inside when the World Trade Towers fell down upon the car?
Sitting next to Alan was Loretta DelPriore. She said the car brought back a lot of bad memories.
"People jumping out of the buildings, because they knew they couldn't get out past the fire," she recalled. Loretta saw pictures of those tragic final leaps in magazines.
But there are happier thoughts surrounding the attack for her, too.
"So many people helping each other – firemen pulling together and working hour after hour. They never took a break," Loretta remembered. "Even people from this area, they went out to help."
Alan agreed. "We may not always get along with each other...but a crisis will pull the whole country together," he said.
The Port Authority patrol car will be in the Batavia City Centre through the month of September. The Centre will be opened for a special memorial ceremony on Sunday, September 11th.