9/11 First Responders

Article excerpt

The families of the heroes who responded on 9/11 share their stories of grief and hope.

Jim Smith is now a retired NYPD officer, but on the morning of 9/11 he was an instructor of law at the police academy. His wife, Moira, was a patrol officer assigned to the Thirteenth Precinct on Twenty-first Street, around the corner from the academy, and she responded to the World Trade Center. Moira helped one person out of the South Tower to safety and had returned to help others in the evacuation when the building fell.

In thinking about 9/11 and Moira's death, I don't think I ever got to the rage stage. I was angry about a lot of things, but I knew I couldn't make it be about me. It couldn't be Poor me. It couldn't be I'm a victim of this tragedy. Rather than mourning Moira, I prefer to celebrate her. To celebrate who she was and what she did rather than commiserate about how she died. A tragedy would have been if she had been coming home from work at 4:00 in the morning and got hit by a drunk driver. The way she charged into those buildings time and again to get people out--that wasn't a tragedy. That was heroism, the definition of what it is to be a hero. I focused on that.

Zack Fletcher is a New York City firefighter, as was his twin brother, Andre. Both brothers played football for Brooklyn Tech High School, and also football and baseball for the FDNY teams, in addition to being volunteer firefighters on Long Island. Andre was killed on 9/11 while working with Rescue 5 in the North Tower.

Over at Bellevue they still have a lot of body parts but just don't have the DNA technology to positively identify them . …