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Changed by 9/11: Robert Cea, L.I. Taxi Driver

Long-time Lynbrook resident Robert Cea looks back the 9/11 attacks.

9/11 was a complete shock to me, like I'm sure it was to most people as well.

Actually, at that time, I was in Arizona visiting. On 9/11, I woke up about 8:30 a.m. — 11:30 a.m. in New York — obviously, after the tragedy occurred.

I knew something was wrong when I hit the snooze button two or three times and the rock music station was talking about terroism or something each time. The rock station wasn't playing music.

Soon after, I saw the complete picture of 9/11 on TV and I immediately telephoned my parents in Lynbrook. Although I tried to call them several times, I just couldn't get through, as the circuits were too jammed up.

I then decided to call one of my sisters who lives in Suffolk County, and thankfully I got through. She informed me that my parents in Lynbrook were fine and also that my two brothers, who were in the New York Police Department, were alive and well too.

My little brother John worked for the NYPD in Greenwich Village — which is very close to the World Trade Center — but he had just completed a night shift and was home when the tragedy occurred. My older brother Tom, a deputy inspector with the NYPD, spent numerous hours in the days, weeks and months to follow at Ground Zero.

A few years later, Tom was diagnosed with a thymoma, a rare cancer of the thymus gland. Tom's surgery was successful and he's been cancer-free since. I hope Tom stays well. One has to wonder if that thymoma was directly related to the exposure of the 9/11 site.  

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