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.
TIMOTHY OWEN, Born on July 26, 1995 died tragically on May 17, 2011. Beloved son of Georgette Connors (nee Graham) and Martin Connors III. Loving brother of Alaina, Charlotte and Dillon. Also surviving are his dear grand-parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and countless friends. Timmy, a graduate of Our Lady of Port Richmond and a freshman at Archbishop Ryan H.S. had a passion for designing his own comic books and writing stories. He will be remembered for his endless love of family and friends and all things Spiderman.
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