This is Tommy.
He is my next door neighbor and a decorated NYC firefighter. Tommy was in the North Tower of the World Trade Center trying to get as many people out as possible while the South Tower collapsed.
He is responsible for saving countless lives on this day 6 years ago.
He is a true definition of the word hero.
Tommy, I’m proud to know you and I’m proud to call you my friend. You are a rare human being that would risk his life to save others. Thank you from all of us. When you let me try on your formal firefighter jacket yesterday with all of its metals and badges, I was so honored. And at the same time, I have never felt so humbled, because your true courage and bravery so far exceeds anything I have ever dreamed of. You are one of my idols.
I love you dearly and I am so thankful for you.
Today I’m thinking of all of you – all of the ones affected by the tragedy. My heart goes out to you today and always.
Today, I drove over the Williamsburg Bridge, looking over the railings thinking about how on this day six years ago, I walked with hundreds of others. I thought about how it was on the bridge that I heard the horrible crashing – a sound I never will forget, and I knew it was the North Tower collapsing behind us. It was the tower that had the red blinking light on top of it that I used to make wishes on since I moved to NY because it was the highest point in the sky and stars are so rare. All of us stopped in our tracks. People were wailing, crying, and some were standing still and somber. I remember leaning against the railing and the woman next to me holding her hand over her face. I didn’t even turn back to see it, because I couldn’t. I just remember a horrible crumbling feeling in that place where my ribs meet and thinking please, please let the people have gotten out.
I finally reached home, grabbed supplies, and went back in to the closest trauma hospital to the WTC to volunteer. I have never seen so many New Yorkers band together to try to help each other, to try to put the city back together, to comfort one another. Random people on the street, police officers, fire fighters, doctors and nurses – everyone – we were all family on that day.
I know that my writings have been heavy lately, but it was important for me to write today. Today marked the day that the world changed forever. It is a day to remember those who lost their lives. It is a day to remember our true heroes, people like my friend Tommy. My heart goes out to all of you.
This picture I took from my window at the sunset in July of 2001. For many summertimes, I would open my big window, sit on the daybed with my legs dangling off the ledge and watch the sunset colors reflect off the sides of the World Trade Center. I spent many nights there, wishing on that red light, it’s soft glowing on and off in the city night. I have looked back at this picture many times, wishing there was a way to erase the past, wishing it still stood in the skyline, wishing all those we lost were here today. I have held that picture to my view that has been what it has for the last six years. The empty area in the sky where these buildings once stood is like a hole in New York’s heart. In all our our hearts. Forever.
Today we remember you and we thank our heroes – the brave men and women who make this city the best city in the world. We will never forget.