My name is Eric Rodriguez, Im a paramedic assigned to 35 Zebra 2. On the morning of September 11th, my partner and I, Joel Pierce went over to Carls Place, a little deli over on Union and North 8th where we get our breakfast every morning, cause its right around our 89, and its really relaxing. As we were sitting down eating, all of a sudden we heard a lot of Brooklyn units getting switched to Citywide. A lot of 31 Units down by the Brooklyn Bridge. So we looked at each other and said wow, something must be going on, lets see if we can, you know, something good to buff. So we switched over to citywide and we started hearing all these reports about we have fire showing at the World Trade Center, explosion. So we go woah, so we drove over to Kent Avenue and as we got around Kent and North 6th, we could see that the North Tower had been struck. I didnt know what it was. I mean, the plumes of smoke were coming, and I remember getting on the phone and calling my wife and my mother saying turn on the television. Theres a hole in the World Trade Center. So now at this point, my partner is calling Citywide, telling them were an ALS haz-tac, As were standing there watching the buildings is when the second plane hit. It was then that we realized that this was not just a fire. That whole feeling just like, your stomach dropped out. At that point, we got on the radio and said 35 Zebra, were going. We had our Sargent from the 90 Precinct, was down there. He had already got --cleared traffic for us straight down Broadway to the Willie B. I remember going across the Willamsburg Bridge, I looked at my partner and said brother, no matter what happens, we go home alive tonight. Thats when we started noticing that people were jumping on that side. At first I said look out, theres debris falling. We looked up and said no, thats not debris, those are bodies. Were thinking bodies from the fire floors. Then we started seeing they were screaming and they were moving, and we were watching them hit the ground. At that point theres nothing you can do to treat them. You know we might need to move back cause theyre gonna start taking some of us out. So we moved back here where South End and Liberty meet. I was in back of the vehicle and I heard, it sounded like I thought another plane had struck the building. This loud bang and then it sounded like a locomotive, or like when I used to live in Howard Beach, when the planes used to come in at night, flying right over the house. Everything started shaking and I heard like a thunderstorm. Somebody screamed its coming down. I dont remember if it was on the radio, because the side door of the bus was open. The back door of the truck--I could see out of. I looked, and I bent all the way down to look up as far as I could, and I could see the cloud coming. I thought the building was actually falling over. I didnt know it was pan-caking. I was like, Im not getting out of here. So I dove on the floor of the truck. I was praying, if something hits this bus, dont let it collapse the box. If it does, I hope theres a big enough void that Ill be alright. I remember something hit the bus hard enough that my siren went off. Then the siren died. So the siren went off and then it died. It was pitch black, and I heard the May Days comeacross. I couldnt breathe, you know. Oral Histories From Sept. 11 Compiled by the New York Fire Department - The New York Times People so caught up in the election sometimes forget why it is we vote. Why do we choose new leaders to represent us. It is at times like those , a time when Eric showed the courage and strength of the American spirit. This election is not about slogans or who's daughter had a baby and when. It's about the strength to lead a nation when the time calls for it. It's to focus on finishing the job that these evil people brought upon our nation 7 years ago and to lead us. So when you vote the very act of doing so tells all those who would do the things that Eric lived through that day that you will not be swayed by evil and you are an American no matter who you vote for. God bless you and no matter who wins, it is my sincere hope that the person who does leads this nation with the dignity we all deserve.