11 Days of Heroes to September 11th, 2023: Rich Palmer

Image from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Read a compilation of responses from Department of Corrections worker Rich Palmer who assisted the NYPD with directing people evacuating:

“On 9/11, I was assigned to 60 Hudson Street, which was the headquarters for the Department of Corrections and my office. I distinctly remember that the morning of 9/11 was sunny with blue skies.”

“When the first tower was hit, I was told to assist NYPD with directing people who were evacuating. I helped ensure pedestrians fleeing would be safe from passing cars, fire trucks, and emergency vehicles. As I was doing so, I saw the explosion from the impact of the second plane hitting the South Tower. At this point, both buildings were on fire. You could see there were people jumping from the windows to try and evade the fire. In fear of the buildings imploding, we were commanded to return to our offices at 60 Hudson Street. There was not much time between the first tower collapsing and the second. It turned Manhattan with sunny blue skies into what looked like a nightmare.”

“[Related to his time at Ground Zero] Yes, I have many health issues. Every day, I take 18 medications to survive.”

“We have lost 28 members in the New York City Department of Correction to 9/11-related-illnesses…The Correction Department did not receive the same level of recognition for their time at Ground Zero.

“In fact, the Department of Correction was responsible for running the morgue operation at Bellevue Hospital. They also sifted through the debris at the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island to search for personal items of the deceased. It is upsetting that the Department of Correction has not been recognized the same way. We are known as ‘the Boldest’ for a reason.”

Image from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum