Familes are Forever

Familes are Forever

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Fireman's view: 15 years later.

My brother; Benjamin Thomas Tolman

Ben's Facebook Post 9/11/16
Today I had the somber and sobering opportunity to do a 343 minute tribute to the 343 fire fighters killed on Sept 11, 2001. I stood at attention holding an American flag wearing my turnout gear, with a set of empty turnout gear next to me representing fallen fire fighters. I stood there for nearly 6 hours, 1 minute for every fire fighter killed that day. A couple of people stopped and stood with me for a few minutes. Most people honked or waved. I could tell who the veteran...s were because they would promptly give a dignified salute. Alot of people took pictures. I had many "thank you's" . It brought some people to tears. I am glad I was able to turn people's thoughts back to those who lost their lives that day, even just for that short time they saw me. I had 6 hours to think about it. I hope they saw the empty gear beside me and knew what it meant. I tried to imagine each fire fighter stepping into the gear next to me for one minute. I imagined the empty lockers at their stations because they would never return. I imagined their cars in the parking lots never to be claimed by their owners. I imagined empty beds and empty homes. Holes in the lives of so many others. Sons, Father's, daughters, mothers. Brothers, sisters. Lives shattered in a single day. Some of those people talked to me today. One guy was a pilot for United Airlines in the new York area that clear morning. Another person stopped who was in New York city and saw it all with his own eyes. One person shook my hand and told me more than half of his Fire Dept. died that day and wanted to send my photo to that department to let them know they weren't forgotten. Never will I forget. I will always remember. It is more real to me today after doing my small tribute and getting to meet people directly affected by that day. God Bless the United States of America.
Ben's Facebook Post 9/11/13
I woke up this morning 12 years ago to watch the news and weather before school. As a 6th grader I did not fully understand the events that unfolded before my e...yes on that television that day. All I knew was bad people attacked us and many people died. I remember watching my mother crying. Now as a almost 23 year old fire fighter, soldier, and american. I realize the events of that day forever altered the course of my life and all Americans. We live in a "post 9/11 America" the moments after the attacks we as Americans were united. But since America has become more divided than ever. Maybe today we can put all other titles, opinions, race, religion, and other dividing factors and stand today united as Americans for the honor of those who lost their lives that day. And those who answered the call, Many their last call, To help those in need. And the soldiers who sacrificed all to bring to justice those responsible for the cowardly attack that rocked this nation. Today WE are Americans! We will never forget 9/11/01.
The link below is a video someone took of my brother and submitted to their local news.
I couldn't be more proud of him, my brother Derek, and my many cousins and uncles who serve as firefighters and policeman. My husband who was a fireman, my brother in law who was in law enforcement. My Father in law, my Grandfather in law, my brother Ben, my brother in law who have all served in the armed forces. As well as my own Grandpa Greer who was a WII purple heart recipient and volunteer fireman. I am so blessed to have and had such great examples in my life.
And to my friend Alan, whose poem I found 5 years ago and still brings a tear to my eyes.
Let the world always remember,
That fateful day in September,
And the ones who answered duties call,
Should be remembered by us all.

Who left the comfort of their home,
To face perils as yet unknown,
An embodiment of goodness on a day,
When men's hearts had gone astray.

Sons and daughters like me and you,
Who never questioned what they had to do,
Who by example, were a source of hope,
And strength to others who could not cope.

Heroes that would not turn their back,
With determination that would not crack,
Who bound together in their ranks,
And asking not a word of thanks.

Men who bravely gave their lives,
Whose orphaned kids and widowed wives,
Can proudly look back on their dad,
Who gave this country all they had.

Actions taken without regret,
Heroisms we shall never forget,
The ones who paid the ultimate price,
Let's never forget their sacrifice.

And never forget the ones no longer here,
Who fought for the freedoms we all hold dear,
And may their memory never wane,
Lest their sacrifices be in vain.

Alan W. Jankowski

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