Local dentist recalls efforts to identify 9/11 victims

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – Like many of us on September 11, Dr. Mike Tabor remembers exactly when he heard the news and how it changed everything.

“And I said, what’s wrong? And they said you hadn’t heard of it? A plane landed in the Twin Towers in New York,” said Dr Tabor, dentist. in Nashville. “After about 5 minutes I said ma’am, I don’t think I could do this procedure today, but would you stay with us and watch? And so for the next 4 hours we watched our world change forever. “

In the weeks that followed, it became apparent that the New York medical examiner’s office was overwhelmed. Dr Tabor therefore left Nashville for Ground Zero.

“Nothing in a photo can do justice to what you see when you walk through that field of debris with the thick smell of kerosene in the air a month after the incident,” Tabor said.

Keep in mind that in 2001 DNA matching was only in its infancy, so dental records have become the most reliable way to identify those we have lost.

“Human teeth are particularly resistant to fire and heat,” he said.

The moment that struck him the most was a letter he found, placed in a pile of dental records, from a little boy who lost his father. “And the letter said – Dear doctors, thank you for helping to try to find my father, I hope he is not dead. Thank you very much, we all love you, Alex. – And then we had the dental records and then we compared the dental records and that was Alex’s dad, “Tabor said.

After 11 months of work around the clock, the 200 dental forensic scientists in charge of the unimaginable, have completed their assignment. Of the nearly 3,000 lost souls, 1,000 have been correctly identified.

“We want more than anything in the world to be able to identify all the victims who died on September 11. We did our best and we got a third,” he said.

He hoped that twenty years later his story would be easier to tell. “7300 days later, it’s an injury that doesn’t heal,” Tabor said.

Then again, Dr. Tabor is happy that he can still remember the pain so the rest of us will never forget.

“I’m proud to have been a part of this, and I cannot let it go, because their legacy must be carried on, and as long as I can do this, I will do my part,” Tambourine said.

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Robert Young

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