Thursday, September 14, 2006
Honoring our Heroic Marines..
WTC rescuer: Film is fine BY SID CASSESE Newsday Staff Writer September 14, 2006 A black former Marine honored by Nassau lawmakers yesterday for helping to find two Port Authority officers trapped in Twin Towers rubble on 9/11 said he's not bothered by being portrayed as a white man in Oliver Stone's recent movie "World Trade Center.""I'm not upset with that at all," said Jason Thomas, 32, of Columbus, Ohio, an officer in the state Supreme Court there. "I saw what the movie was trying to get its audience to see - the devastation."Thomas grew up in Hempstead and graduated from Uniondale High School. His schoolmate, Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead), led the move to honor him. The sergeant heard of the attack from his mother, Iris Thomas, when he dropped by her Hempstead home. Although released from active duty a year earlier, he donned his fatigues and rushed to the site. He met another former Marine, Staff Sgt. David Karnes, of Connecticut, and they decided to start a rescue mission."At that particular site - at Church Street, across from the Century 21 [department store] - there were no rescuers," Thomas said. "It was about 3 p.m. when we went across this beam. Karnes was ahead of me. I thought I heard something from this black hole on my left with smoke coming from it. I hollered for Karnes, and we both lay on the beam and hollered: 'United States Marines! Is anybody there?' We heard this faint voice." Thomas said he and Karnes dug with a shovel for nearly two hours before shouting for help from other rescuers. "We finally got the first guy out at about 3 a.m.," he said.Thomas said Stone sent him a letter of apology for the misrepresentation and producer Michael Shamberg took him out to dinner in Manhattan. "Some people knew I was there, but nobody knew how to contact me," said Thomas, who worked at the site for 2 1/2 weeks. The legislature also honored Karen Denise Menjivar, 21, a poet from Uniondale.