9-11: A Memoir – by Ryushin Sean Malone

"On the day they wounded New York"
L. Cohen

11:30am 9/11/01, Ramsey, New Jersey.

I was in my former place of work seeking a job as an auto mechanic. I recall each and everyone's face and body language - grim expressions, heads down, slow moving and walking with a shuffle. I was standing at the front desk and I remember looking in disbelief at the TV screen in the customer waiting area. Something was very strange. I realized what was occurring after about ten minutes of watching the news. I was stunned and told my former boss what had happened. He said to me, "Where have you been?" This has been going on for hours now!

Ramsey is the town where I grew up. There is a part of a highway in town where you can see New York City while driving. Straight away, I got into my car and and drove to that spot. I had to see it with my own eyes. I arrived there and I will never forget seeing that smoke billowing over New York City. It was like a nightmare.

The very next morning, every man with a big-ass pickup truck was driving up and down in town like a maniac. We where glued to the TV for about a week - seriously. Ven. Kobutsu, my father, and my brother, Ian Taikan, went down to the docks to help the exhausted workers who where returning via boat to the New Jersey side of the Hudson River after trying to find survivors in the rubble. Kobutsu was offering grief counseling and Ian was helping load the boats with bottled water, respirator masks and equipment to go back over to The City.
It changed the world forever...

Ryushin Malone presently lives in Sedgwick, Maine and is active in The Engaged Zen Foundation, he may be reached through: ryushin@engaged-zen.org