A good place to start is with Brian Birdwell, one of seven "serious" burn victims to come out of the Pentagon following the attack. His story is so full of holes it resembles Swiss cheese, but he wears his motivation on his sleeve at least---a slavish devotion to a fundamentalist God, his Lord and savior, the risen Jesus Christ, who must be believed in, if his teachings not obeyed. It is in that context specifically that makes our present day reality such an absurdity---the first shall be last indeed.
It's been staring us straight in the face. Here is a relatively recent photograph of Brian Birdwell:
In the 2004 book by Brian and Mel Birdwell, Refined by Fire, ghostwritten by Ginger Kolbaba, the voice of Mel tells us:
"Soon after Brian received the cadaver skin graft on his forehead, he told me, 'Enough is enough.'"In The 'Other' Tragedy - US News and World Report,
"Cadaver skin. You can see that in Brian Birdwell, who mouthed the words "I love you" to his wife, Mel, when he opened his eyes for the first time September 13. That same day, President Bush visited the Fort Worth native. "Colonel Birdwell," the commander in chief said as he strode into the hospital room. With tears in his eyes, the president saluted the bandaged soldier, holding it until Birdwell slowly raised his burned arm as high as he could to return the salute. Birdwell, burned over 40 percent of his body, saw himself in the mirror recently--his forehead plastered with cadaver skin, the tips of his ears singed off, the delicate skin around his eyes stretched out. His sense of humor was intact. "I think I look pretty good for a guy who just got run over by a plane," he said, grinning."And in the Washington Post article, Hope Breathes Beneath Wounds: Bodies Ravaged by Terrorism, Survivors Savor the Small Steps, by Donna St. George, published on the front page on December 2, 2001;
"By the grace of God, I'm still here," he said, sitting stiffly in a chair, his bandaged arms propped on pillows and his forehead a band of scab-pocked temporary skin.Six months after the Pentagon attack, Birdwell wears his uniform with a headband and compression gloves, as in this Mark Wilson photo of a White House event taken March 11, 2002, for Getty Images:
"His wife does not mind saying that this skin came from a cadaver. It protects him from infection until his own skin can be grafted there. Amid the horrors Birdwell has endured, cadaver skin is nothing to wince at – a medical necessity, a wound dressing."
He still does, four months after that, at a luncheon on July 18th at the Ft Myer Officer’s Club. Birdwell seems to have taken to this sartorial style the way General Peter Pace took to wearing a flattering diagonal sash on formal occasions. What function did the headband perform? Obfuscation?
I recall asking myself at the time when I read about the cadaver skin, WWMPSD? What would my plastic surgeon do? If I only had a small amount of tender buttocks flesh with which to effect skin grafts, wouldn't I transplant that to my face first?
It becomes clear to me that rather than the 39 surgeries claimed for Birdwell's recovery, he likely only had two: one which disfigured his ears, creating that "melting away" look so at odds with a full head of hair, and a ghastly botched tracheotomy scar to his neck---but a useful device for 28 days to avoid close examination of his supposed lung damage.
This must indicate a level of complicity with some in the medical establishment similar as that with journalism and the media.
My hypothesis is borne out in a low-resolution video originally found on the Birdwell's Christian burn organization web site, Face the Fire. If you look closely you'll see that Birdwell's hair line has been shaved to the top of his head. The demarcation line we see today between what appears to have been a light, even, chemical burn to his face, and what is frankly his freshly unmarred forehead, has been disguised by a dressing of colored salve that mimics wounds.
But that dressing stupidly ends midpoint, leaving the white skin under his former hairline, as if his hair burned away but while protecting the skin underneath in the process!
How could Birdwell's ears melt away and leave such healthy hair follicles in the vicinity?
"More than 30 surgeries later, Birdwell has regained some of his former appearance, including A FULL HEAD OF BROWN HAIR. Still, his wife, Mel, notices how people sometimes stare. His ears, about half their normal size, appear almost melted. HIS FACE AND NECK ARE RIDGED WITH SCAR TISSUE. His arms do not bend normally. Neither do his hands." http://stacks.msnbc.com/news/964915.asp?0sl=-42A Democratic Underground thread from August 2003 by the diligent DulceDecorum, addresses this hair issue with some passion, but regardless of how clear the implications were back then, they were unspeakable until today.
I posted a blog on January 04, 2007, Brian Birdwell: How to Serve Man, but I had delayed it for some time. My shock at revealing the nature of the beast needed to wear off first: That Brian Birdwell, along with all of the others burned that day---including the victims in New York City---were morally repugnant volunteers. Necessary components of a planned narrative myth requiring such liminal survivorships.
In addition to the constantly repeated meme of the cadaverous forehead, was another one equal to it: "the gold wedding band saved from hell."
LTC (Ret.) Brian Birdwell at GOP convention Monday, June 12, 2006, 03:32 PM Comments as Prepared for the Republican Party of Texas State Convention, June 2, 2006 Copyright by LTC (Ret.) Brian Birdwell
"Inside the emergency room at Georgetown University Hospital, it was like a battle drill, lots of activity, voice commands, energy and intensity, but no chaos. Dr Williams told me that he would shortly put me under general anesthesia, so I knew in my heart I was speaking my last words. I told Dr Williams I wished to do two things. I asked MAJ John Collison, who had ridden with me to the hospital to take the wedding ring off my finger and give it to Mel and tell her that I loved her. Jewelry is normally cut off burn survivors since gold melts near 800 degrees, but I didn't want the ring destroyed. When the nurse removed it to give it to John, it was like running an overdone hot dog through something of a smaller diameter except the hot dog was my blackened fingers. Since most of the skin was already gone, when the ring was pulled off, it showed exposed bone and blood was streaming everywhere. I don't recall it hurting; not because of the morphine shot I was given at the Pentagon, but because I was concentrating on the dignity of what I knew was my immanent death. I then asked for the hospital chaplain to say a final prayer acknowledging God's sovereignty in my life and accepting his will for me should I awake or not from the anesthesia. After Chaplain Cirrilo lead that prayer I then told Dr Williams, not from the strength of a soldier, but with faith in my Savior, "lets get on with it," resting in the comfort of Christ's command of my life."National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States Public Hearing Monday, March 31, 2003
"Inside Georgetown University, I had yet another seminal moment. Major John Collison had accompanied me to Georgetown. I knew that when Dr. Williams, the attending physician there, told me they were soon to place me under general anesthesia and intubate me that he was going to do the best he could to save my life. But I also knew that I was facing, in being under anesthesia, that my last words were maybe those that I now speak.CNN.com - Transcripts Aired May 4, 2006
"I asked John to take the wedding ring off my finger. It removed skin, it removed muscle, it removed other tissue, but I don't recall it hurting. I don't know if that was because of the morphine that I received from Dr. Baxter or because I was more concerned with the manner of my death and how my life or my death was going to give witness to those on the medical staff.
"John took the ring off. I looked at the hospital chaplain and asked to say a prayer, a prayer of salvation, actually, rather, sovereignty of God in my life, not of salvation. We said that prayer. And after that prayer I had the peace of God's concern in my life and his sovereignty in my life to look at Dr. Williams and say, let's get on with it, resting in his sovereignty."
KYRA PHILLIPS: Brian, let's start with you. And what do you think is probably your most vivid memory from 9/11?Refined by Fire - Google Books Result, page 93
BIRDWELL: Being at the Georgetown University Hospital just prior to being anesthetized and knowing in my heart that I was dying and that I was saying my final words, having a friend of mine take my wedding ring off of my burned hands. Didn't have the chance to talk to my wife, but was making final peace with my creator and with the lord. And that's probably the most seminal of the moments that I experienced of many that day.
"Before we entered Brian's room, [Col.] TW [Williams] pulled me aside and handed me something. I looked down at his hand. It was Brian's wedding ring. As soon as TW handed it to me, I put it on and wore it next to my wedding ring. I decided I would return it to Brian after he was discharged from the hospital.In a Publisher's Weekly review of the Birdwell boo:
"I wasn't aware of the exchange Brian and John Collison had with the ring or the significance of the way it was removed because John had never mentioned it. His visit had been too emotional. But I knew that John had received Brian's ring at some point I just wasn't sure when."
"The Birdwells relate Brian's horrific injuries and treatments in a way that might turn some stomachs (skin coming off with his wedding ring..."
Sloppy planning has Birdwell's competition in the 9/11 youthful matinee-idol department, Kevin Shaffer, with exactly the same wedding band story!
Crawling Toward the Light by Bryant Jordon
"My hands were badly burned," he said. "My arms were very badly burned. I knew I needed help."The problem with men like Brian Birdwell and Kevin Shaeffer, and the other Pentagon employees, is that they are by faith and training pussies and lightweights. Neither allowed for the courage to undergo a statistically proper and believable wounding by fire. Out of the seven, only Louise Kurtz (and perhaps Antoinette Sherman, but that's an open question, given the collusion of various authorities,) can be said to have suffered enough for us to have invaded two countries.
A nurse assessed his condition in the emergency room. At some point she may have said Shaeffer was burned about 50 percent, but what he heard was that his chances were 50 percent.
"I grabbed that nurse by the shirt. I pulled her close. I told her, 'You don't understand. I'm alive. I'm alive. I made it. I'm going to live.' She said, 'Yes, Kevin. You are. You are.
"After that I remember them working quite hard on my hands. I had my wedding ring on my left and my academy ring on my right. The doctor called out for a ring cutter. I made them stop, the entire team. … I managed to pull my wedding band off. I eventually pulled my class ring off. I handed them … to the doctor. I laid back. I said, 'Now you can go ahead - do what you've got to do. Save my life."