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Heroes of Ground Zero

In Their Words:

Mike Yerambinsky

A year after September eleventh I feel (laughs) I don't know, I can't put it into words, I really can't. I'd have to really think about it, you know, how do I feel, uh ... I think, the thing is I'm doing, I'm doing very well right now. Okay, I'm doing a lot better than I did you know, how do I feel? When I think about things that happened that day, I get upset. You know, when I'm talking and laughing and joking around with guys in the firehouse, I'm doing very well. You know, so it comes and it goes, so the feelings are constantly changing for me a year afterwards. If someone starts talking about something that refers to September eleventh, I get very upset. Sometimes I have to walk away and have a private moment by myself. Sometimes I'll talk about it for a little while, but I do tend to get emotional when people bring the subject up.

I do think about that a lot, and of course I thought about that. You know, when it first happened, about why did I survive and why didn't they. And, you know, there was a certain amount of guilt that I had, that I did survive. And I rethought about it, if I could have done anything different, and of course over time I realized there was nothing I could do differently. But of course there was a very, very sad feeling, you know, especially thinking about their families and my family -- are they luck-, that they're lucky. You know, it was very difficult for me to get through that, and of course I wondered why. It was a matter of a couple of minutes, whether, you know, whether I lived or not, and I just happened to be, I guess, lucky. I happened to be lucky. It wasn't my time to go.

Sure, I know of a few people that are in the fire department that are having a tough time still, and I believe mostly it's because they haven't dealt with it. And everybody deals with it in their own time and, you know, when they decide that it's ready for, that they're ready to deal with it, they will. You know, for me as I had said, it was very important for me to deal with it very quickly, to get through it. And, yeah, there are guys that are still struggling with this. You know being in the fire department, we have a certain bravado and it's not everybody wants to talk about their feelings, you know, it's not something that's open in the firehouse. So it is difficult for certain guys, but everybody in their time, God willing, will get to that point where they have to talk about it and get through it.

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