9-28-01

There are times that I look at you and I wonder if you were brought here for a greater purpose. Yeah, you might be saying “Okay, Dad’s lost his mind.” Well, it’s just a feeling. Mostly it’s just that I can’t get over how you were so brave for a six year old boy, during the course of September 11th. The experience left me with the feeling and vision of you becoming a police officer to replace me. I don’t want you to do that. I would rather you find your own path in this world. Today, you want to be a fire fighter/investigator. I will support whatever decision you make, as long as it is an honorable and fulfilling one. Nothing against your uncles and aunts, or even your grandparents or great-grandparents; but I would rather you not be someone who is surviving paycheck to paycheck, and have nothing to look back upon.

As of this day, the United States under President George W. Bush is preparing for war. Rescue workers have realized the task of finding anyone alive is fruitless. It’s now an operation to recover the dead. There have been reports of anti-Muslim attacks in the U.S. against anyone who is or resembles an Arab or is of the Islam faith. I don’t want you to grow up hating people because of their beliefs. We’re Catholic. Our doctrine decrees that God has given us free will to govern our lives. This means to sin and not sin. However, sometimes I wonder if we are not just, in some quasi-religious way, predestined. The human race will one day conquer the demons that test our endeavors.
The passengers of Flight 93, it is believed through the investigation, fought their hijackers. May their sacrifice continue to bring this country and world together in peace. There has been a wide spread surge of patriotism in the nation, and sympathy from the world. I have finally been able to write this in your journal without crying


I’ll update your journal with some of the events that have occurred in the past two weeks later this week.

 

10/6/01

The flights that were hijacked culminated in the destruction of the World Trade Center, damage to the Pentagon, and a plane crashing into a field, that covered an old coal mine in southwestern Pennsylvania. The passengers of Flight 93 fought back against those that had other plans for the airliner. Perhaps knowing what their fate was to be no matter the odds. These people had already known of the previous planes being hijacked and causing carnage in New York and Washington D.C. Heroes are not born. Heroes are forged in a moment of desperation to prevent an evil or wrong plan; or created by the work of a great deed, that they were not prepared to handle or some form of conflict is making things difficult. The other day, you and I were talking about cartoon characters. You have a fondness for Max Steel, and Spider-Man. I asked you which your hero was. You said that neither is your hero, and that I am, because I am your dad. You almost made me cry.

I don’t want you to forget this month of woe. Also I don’t want you to mull over it. Life will go on. Our way of life will continue. The American people are a resourceful and complex society. And if you don’t know it already, you’re my hero. Today, for at least the time being, National Guard troops are manned at Airport Check Points. The Coalition that President Bush is calling for is pulling together. Air Marshals are to be flying again, training near Atlantic City

 

10/7/01

It’s a Sunday. Today, at 1230 PM EDT, our military forces along with British forces, struck back at the Taliban who are harboring Osama Bin Laden. Using B-52, B-1, and F-17 Stealth Bomber, launched Tomahawk missiles from submarines, ships, and jets, targets were struck. President Bush came on the TV announcing this not as a war against Muslims, or even the Afghani people. I surprised its happening now. I was figuring another month or at least Christmas. What a nice present for Osama? The Emmy Awards were canceled. Again, the Police are put on high alert.

 

4/1/02

It’s now six months and two weeks since the attacks on America. I had sent your story out on the internet, and to some Police and Fire oriented journals. The response has been great. Uncle Michael took the poem I wrote at had it printed on T-shirts to raise money for the relief funds. We will be going to New York to visit Ground Zero to pay our respects. Because of what you said to me that night, you touched a lot of people. Just remember you are special.

 

Here is the story finally titled Timothy‘s Strength:

I am a Philadelphia Police Officer. I am married with a wonderful son. On September 11th, I (like most of my fellow Americans) witnessed the senseless slaughter of human life. The department was put on high alert and our tours of duty were extended. With the exception of a scant five minutes to change my uniform of the day, I did not see my wife and son until later that evening. My squad was deployed to the hotels near the Philadelphia International Airport. In each and every hotel we checked we saw the faces of travelers, many of them American, change from distraught to a significance of hope. People walked up to us and thanked us for being there. We were just doing our job. We were asked our feelings for fallen brothers and sisters in New York. I could only respond that it was horrible, seeing no need to raise their already heightened anxiety.
I felt the pulse of the true America was still beating.

I witnessed strangers offering to pay for dinner, a room, or share a taxi. When I returned home, I kissed my wife and hugged her. I went upstairs to kiss my son who should have been already asleep. Being the son of a Philadelphia police officer myself, I could not be angry with my six-year-old for waiting up and feigning sleep for my return. I too had done the same during the turbulence of the late sixties and early seventies.

My son, Timothy, sat up in his bed, and asked me, "Did you and your partners catch the bad guys that hurt those people with the bomb and airplanes?"

"No," I said. I choked back a sob. "We didn't. Not today."

Timothy leaned closer to me. For the first time in my son's life, he was witnessing me crying. He held my face.

"Don't cry daddy." He put on a brave face. "All those police and firefighters that died when the buildings fell on them will be replaced by their sons."

I began to cry heavier. My son just held me and said, "It's going to be OK." My six-year-old, perhaps oblivious to the true magnitude of the tragedy, was comforting me with his simple wisdom. I only pray my son will not take up my choice of career, and find his own path because he had shown me that night that he has the soul of the BRAVEST. He wants to be a firefighter/detective, in other words, a fire marshal. My only regret is that I am duty bound to Philadelphia, and wish to have been there to at least bring our brothers and sisters out to let them rest in peace.

 

9-12-02

 

She Still Stands

From her island sanctuary

She stood glorious in the sun,

As clouds billowed softly by,

I saw Liberty; her torch raised to the sky

 

From the sky flew the demons from the east,

By blade, capturing the wings of the eagles flight,

Four riders stormed down delivering death,

Laying siege on her fortress of democracy


The towers destroyed and the keep damaged,

Countless souls delivered into God’s hand,

The devil’s seed had been sowed

An unholy bounty reaped

 

Fire, soot, and ash rained down to the street below,

Onto The Knights of Saint Michael and Saint Florian,

Burying those who try to save

Life pushed to the limit never thought to be undone

 

From her island sanctuary she stood immobile,

As clouds of smoke, ash, and soot billowed

Devastation recognized and dealt

I saw that Liberty still stood

 

Her sons shall raise their swords

To vanquish the evil back into the night

Her torch shall never grow dim

It will always be raised to the sky

 

Martin Connors

Philadelphia, PA

9-12-01

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