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‘Radio Free’ Montone: We Must Never Forget

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By John Montone, 1010 WINS

If you’re one of the millions of listeners who wakes up each morning to 1010 WINS, you’re likely familiar with the voice, and tone, of the station’s intrepid reporter John Montone.

Best known for his no holds barred, man on the street reporting, Montone has been getting in the faces — and ears — of New Yorkers for what seems like an eternity.

Montone is ready to add to his repertoire and bring his unique reporting style to print.

So please take a look and listen to John’s new venture: Radio Free Montone — a weekly blog where Montone takes you behind the scenes of news radio in New York City, and gives his observations on reporting in the greatest city in the world.

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Time slips away but the awful sights and sounds of that day never do. it has been 12-years and a gleaming new tower stands there. but for me the sirens still wail and the fire in the pit at ground zero still burns.

Standing beneath the smoldering South Tower, I looked up at black smoke pouring out of the side of the building where a jetliner had smashed into it.

And I cursed those responsible for the killing of the innocent. Then I turned and looked up the street at Broadway where those who had escaped the twin infernos were gathering.

I ran back up there to talk to people who had witnessed the attack and on my way, I passed a column of firefighters heading toward the towers. In my determination to do my job, I barely noticed their presence or their direction. After all, that’s what firefighters do, they head toward trouble.

On Broadway a woman described how the shadow of a giant plane passed over her bus as it came out of the Battery tunnel. She stopped for a split second then screamed, “It’s coming down.” In my mind’s eye I saw the building toppling over, but instead it disintegrated, imploding into a dry, white Tsunami. There was a “whooshing,” sound and then pandemonium.

In the scrum I ended up in the narrow hallway of a building where I was pushed then almost crushed by the crowd entering on both Broadway and Nassau Street. Finally those on the Nassau side relented and we all made it outside — out into what I described on the radio as, “like a nuclear winter,” a leaden-grey sky showering us with ashes, the remains of the south tower, the furniture and the people inside.

A few days before the first anniversary of the attack, I interviewed retired Fire Capt. John Vigiano. Captain Vig had suffered the most unimaginable loss, –his two boys. Firefighter John and Police Det. Joe Vigiano had both rushed to the Trade Center. They had died in the collapse or the conflagration. Their dad would never know but he did know what he had to do.

He suited up and went down into the fiery pit to search for the remains of his sons. Two brothers, so close that John who was more than a year older waited for Joe to earn enough Boy Scout merit badges to allow them to become Eagle Scouts together. Capt. Vigiano told me this choking back sobs and he made me promise that every time i went on the radio on that first anniversary, I would remind our listeners, “We must never forget.”

I told him I would and I did.

A dozen years have passed and yet, all those firefighters — young guys most of them…I can still see them marching in as the rest of us were running away —  marching in and then in a matter of minutes it was over.

We must never forget.

Be well,

John Montone

1010 WINS News