Thursday, September 29, 2011

Timothy's Strength

I wrote Timothy's Strength on Wednesday, September 12, 2001. I wrote to exorcise my demons and tribute those that sacrificed; hoping it would inspire solace all from the words of a little boy, my son Timothy.  His simple little boy wisdom was spoken from an old soul. 

It was this night I promised that he would never wear a badge if I had anything to do with it; however I felt that should he follow in my footsteps as part of his own path I would be proud of him none the less.  This not only a tribute to those that perished on 9/11, but to the coming generations hoping one day there will be no need for war. 

It is now a tribute to my son, who on that night saved my soul.

 I was surprised when it was published by the FOP Grand Lodge website and paper, as well as several other publications that asked for permission to re-print.

The events are true and not exaggerated.  Those that suggest remembering this day is foolish, are those that allow the suffering to continue - it does not matter if they are friend, family by blood or contract, or a stranger, it is this person that allows those that wish to undermine our society and allow those that are enemies foreign and domestic attempt to prosper.

Timothy's Strength 
A Philadelphia Police Officer's 
September 11th 2001 Experience

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 gonna 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.