1 World Trade Center

A hole in all our hearts and the origins of GORUCK. Though time has passed, I can recall with absolute clarity the rage I felt after 9/11. Soon enough our memories of Ground Zero will have a memorial, and a monument, and an anchored skyline.  And when the Challenge comes to NYC, 1 World Trade Center will always be on the route. Not so much for what it was as for what it is.

This picture, taken 12 days after, still summons my rage. And as the story unfolded and heroes fell, it grew. Now, however, that rage is eclipsed by the promise of those who remember, and rebuild.

I’m not gonna lie.  I wish the cranes were gone and life were back to normal.  I wish 3am downtown were not filled with floodlights and the din of jackhammers. But patience is probably a virtue, and building to rebuild is time well spent.

For me, 9/11 was a call to service, a call to arms. That path began at basic training, which thankfully didn’t last forever, and where (far left) I looked like I was 14, which thankfully also didn’t last forever. Everyone remembers where they were when the towers fell. I was at home in Florida, just one of many whose lives changed in that precise moment. The service I admire of our firemen, our police officers, and our military, is the service I sought in Special Forces. And it all comes back to this giant hole in the ground, a place I still find hard to visit.


  1. Uri says:

    Jason, our deepest thanks for your service.
    When the people of this country volunteer to go in harms way in order to protect your country, they way of life and freedom, you *know* that no matter what those terrorists will try to do, no matter what their twisted minds might come up with, they – the terrorists – already failed.

  2. Andy says:

    Great photos! I will never forget. Thank you for your service and thank you for GORUCK.

  3. Mike Downing says:

    Hi Jason,
    Thank you for your service. I guess you weren’t angry enough to HTFU and join the Marines, eh?

  4. Grant says:

    Great photos and commentary, Jason; you continue to inspire.

    @Mike: Poor taste after such a personal narrative.

  5. Rod says:

    Thank you for your service and for the great photos. I will never forget the loss and understand your anger, America’s anger. I also know how hard it is to visit the site were it all began for you, mine is the Vietnam Memorial, never been.. As a Vietnam veteran perhaps I’ll make it on a future GORUCK challange. Thanks for GORUCK!

  6. Kit says:

    Great post Jason. I too was deeply affected by the 9/11 attacks. My dad is a pilot for American and I remember being in class hearing that a plane hit the towers. I wasn’t sure if he was flying that morning or not. It turned out he wasn’t, but it still sent chills down my spine and does to this day. I too was angry and it was the first time I saw our country come together as one. I have a deep respect for people like you Jason who served our country and still do to this day. I guess that’s where my love for all things GORUCK stems from. I feel a connection with the company from basic human level. Sharing a mutual respect for one another and coming together as a team is not seen in society today. thank you for what you do Jason, I am looking forward to a lot more “Good Livin”.

  7. Hal says:

    Jason, thank you for sharing your thoughts and the pictures. No truer words have been written than those on the plaque “May We Never Forget”. I will never forget that day, nor will I ever forget the feeling inside as I watched the events unfold. It is with great pride in this country to see that we may have been knocked down, but not knocked out. We will never forget, we will rebuild, and we will continue on. The picture of the GORUCK Challenge takers going by the rebuilding is indescribable. Thank you to you and to all those who have served and are still serving to protect our freedoms and our way of life.

  8. Sean Bowden says:

    Excellent post. I was too young to realize the implications of the attacks, but we are all living through the consequences. My mother used to work for one of the companies that was located in the WTC buildings. We lost many friends that day. Thank you for your service. It’s people like you who motivate my training and myself to become the best Army officer I can be, come 2013.

    I am honored to be GORUCK Tough, Class 020. Thank you for the opportunity to push myself harder than I have before. I think we all are better people from it. I’m looking forward to more Good Livin’ in the future.


  9. Ricky Connor says:


    Thank you for that post. 9/11 has not only affected us each in our own individual way, but has also affected those of us who love this Great Nation in the same way as well. It was not only an attack on The United States of America but for me, it was also an attack on my livelihood as a proud American Fireman. I’ll never forget where I was that day, I’ll never forget what I watched on T.V. and I’ll never forget my trip to NYC in October of 2002, for The FDNY Memorial Day where the roll call alone took around 2 hours. It changed me as a Fireman… it made me want to be The Best, in honor of the 343 that ran into those two buildings, knowing full well that they would never return. I will never forget and I beg all of you reading this to remember as well.

    Thank you to all of the Veterans, Active Duty Members, and Future Members of The U.S. Armed Forces for what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and the actions to come to defend my family and I so that I can work the best damn job in the world!

    Ricky Connor
    Brevard County Fire Rescue, Fl
    Firehouse 41 – Truck and Rescue Company
    GORUCK CLASS 007 – St. Augustine, Fl – Dec. 2010

  10. Laura says:

    I worked in 2 World Trade for many years and am a survivor of the events of that day. Any small change in my steps that day and there would have been a very different outcome. As with many others, I lost many friends and colleagues. I also have a number of friends and family in the military. I learned of GORUCK a few weeks ago and am looking forward to participating in one, hopefully in the Fall in NYC before New England TM (hint, hint). This additional layer of context as to its origins adds even greater incentive to come and run along beside you. Thanks for this post, and for your service.
    All the best,

  11. moshe says:

    I couldn’t agree with the above posts more. It was one of those events that sears itself into our minds, where our future children will ask us where we were at the time and everyone of us will have an answer. Thank you so much for giving GORUCK and letting us give back just a little to all those who sacrifice every day so such an atrocity can never happen again.

  12. Andrew says:


    That was my favorite part of the challenge for class 019. All gave some and some gave all on 9/11. I thank you for your service and what you are continuing to do with GORCUK.

  13. Nik says:

    We are forever grateful for everyone that ran in that day and for everyone, like you Jason, that stepped up to defend this country. Like everyone else, i wont forget where i was that day watching the events unfolding.

    And thank you Jason for for bringing this GORUCK Tough family together.

  14. Jim says:

    Thanks for going forth to do the deed after that horrible day. I remember all too clearly the beauty of the day and how quickly that changed. I recall CAP’s over the city and knew that very soon the baton would be passed and the brave men and women of our armed forces would be going into harms way. I also recall the POTUS speaking from the pile, I was never more proud to be an American.

    Thank you for your service and best of luck in your endeavors. I look forward to the challenge which will end sometime in the morning on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. We will hoist a pint to absent friends.

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