Herb Trimpe: The Chaplains Tale




There were days when there were like 17 separate blessings of remains, just on one shift. The day when I had eight MOSes come out, member of service, under flags, that shift prior to mine had something like nine or 11. It was one of those days when they were getting into the lobby of one of the towers, the north tower I think it was at the time. In that tower the lobby was like five floors down, you know, everything was compressed.
I saw a PATH train down there compressed under, it was like a geological demonstration almost. You would see a wall of exposed debris and it would be layered, but it was compressed. You couldn’t really identify anything.

We came down there in a Gator one day, you know, one of those six-wheel buggies, and he says, “Look over there.” I looked and here’s this curved piece of aluminum sticking out around the bottom that had “PATH” on it in blue letters, the PATH emblem. Then if you looked real close you could see the rail sticking out here and there, twisted pieces of rail.

And then the truck assembly, the wheel assembly – the railroad car is called the truck assembly – that was the only part that wasn’t like totally crushed. You could see the wheels. Now that’s all cleared and there’s three separate lines there. The tracks were totally exposed and cleared, and they look pretty much undamaged except in places where there’s a rail missing.

It was amazing; even if it was cleaned out, it was amazing. This huge hole, six floors deep that was the basic foundation of the incredible complex. I mean, the mechanics of it, again being an artist, it was just a wonderment and luckily a lot of people were able to document it.