top of the dome
From: Jerry Macala, South Pole Station
September 2001

I took the photo the day we got the news here at pole. It still makes me 
shiver thinking about that 3am call I got from comms and the story slowly 
unfolding over LES-9 that morning. I called an all hands meeting here at 
8am. By that time most of the station had already heard the news, and the 
reaction was universally a mixture of shock and disbelief. Jeff Kietzmann 
and Dave McDonald went up on top of the dome to take the flag down to half 
mast. It was unusually warm that morning, approximately -38F (compared to 
-80F) but the winds were up around 15 knots and the cold was as biting as 
always. I suppose this gesture was our way of coping with our feelings of 
powerlessness and "taking control" of the situation.


The news dealt a hard blow to all of us here on station. One of the great 
things about wintering is that few happenings in the outside world have much
impact here. The isolation usually provides a great deal of comfort, but it's
not possible to escape the impact of what happened last week. It wasn't just
a crime against the United States, it was a crime against humanity. As such
it is difficult to comprehend and come to terms with, but time will help.

A year on the ice has had a profound effect on me and most of the rest of 
the crew here. It certainly puts a lot of things in perspective. I wish more
folks could experience it and understand how fragile life is and how we need
to depend on each other.

Jerry "Mac" Macala
South Pole Winter Site Manager 
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Large image | USA Today article