9/11 Stories: Simon Kirke

On September 11, Free and Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke was biking to his yoga class at Crunch gym on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village when he heard a boom unlike any other he had heard in his six years of living in the city. As he made the turn onto Seventh Avenue, he had a clear view to the south. The North Tower was as he described “diagonally wounded and in flames.” Kirke continued on to his class, which was in the basement of a building, assuming, as everyone in the class did, that it was a single plane accident. When he emerged after 10 AM, the whole world had changed. A second plane had torn into the South Tower. Kirke’s immediate thoughts were of his young children. One went to school near The World Trade Center. He knew she was on a study break. For 2 harrowing hours, Kirke and his wife didn’t know if she was safe. There was no cellphone service. Finally, they got a landline call from the parents of their daughters’ classmate. Lola was safe with them. A week after the tragedy, Simon volunteered as a Red Cross driver. It was the largest response ever for The Red Cross. Kirke’s job was to haul supplies and water to Ground Zero. Sometimes he’d drive New York City firefighters home, after their long day on the pile. He’d keep beat with the music playing on the radio, drumming on the steering wheel. He never told the FDNY’ers who he was. He was just their driver with the British accent, cracking jokes, trying to brighten their day.