Friday, September 11, 2009

It's 9/11 and I remember

I published this two years ago today, can't say it any better now.

It's 9/11 and I remember.

It’s 9/11 and, more than anything, I remember two friends – Dennis Mulligan and Mike Lynch.

Dennis and Mike were two firefighters among the 343 who died this day six years ago.

They were two among the 2,974 who died as a result of the attacks. They were two friends.

It feels strange now to call them friends, especially when so many knew them so much more than I did and since they’ve been profiled on CNN, in the New York Times and beyond. I Googled them one year on the anniversary and some random guy with a blog carries around a scrap of paper with Dennis Mulligan’s name on it. He never knew him, never met him. But Dennis personifies the brave firefighters and cops who ran into the buildings when everyone else was running out. Pretty amazing.

But to me, Dennis and Mike were pals, guys I played soccer with in high school, had a few too many beers with beyond and who I saw too infrequently – like so many others – once I moved to Boston and left the Bronx behind.

Dennis was 32 that day, assigned to Ladder 2. He had the day off but he jumped on the ladder truck anyway. Mike Lynch was 30 that day, assigned to a rotation on Engine 40. He was due to marry his longtime girlfriend two months later.

So many of my friends are cops and firefighters in New York that I had a nagging feeling one or more of them might have died on 9/11. It took a few days for me to get word about Mike and Dennis. And I’ve thought of them and their families many, many days since.

Today is their day. It’s a cliché but, as so often, clichés are clichés because they are truisms repeated too many times. 9/11 is about remembering them and the thousands of others like them.

It’s 9/11 and I remember.

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