It began as any other morning. The radio went off @ 5:50am on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Kellan has just begun 8th grade. We were back to our "school routine". Our Summer had been full with baseball tournaments, barbeques, and a wonderful trip to the Jersey Shore and NYC. We took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I showed Kellan and John where 3 out of 4 of my grandparents had made their first steps on American soil. Later that day as the sun was setting we made our way to the World Trade Center. I have a permanent vision imprinted on my brain of Kellan standing with his back to the towers and looking up. These great and mighty buildings - a place where my cousin Dennis Buckley had worked for many years as a partner with Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of Tower 1 (North Tower). Later that week as we visited Rockaway Beach where my Dad grew up, we walked up to the Bay side and looked over to Manhattan to see what was a shining beacon of New York City, the Twin Towers. I would later find out that several of my Great Uncles had a hand in building these two amazing structures back in the late 1960's. We returned home on September 2 to Washington State with very fond memories of our trip.
When the radio alarm went off that day, I heard the reporter say that a small plane had crashed into the Twin Towers - the sun was out on such a clear and beautiful day in New York City. He must have been blinded by the sun. Obviously, thinking of my cousin Dennis, I quickly flipped on the TV. My heart immediately sank as I knew that this was no small plane. And then just minutes later another plane crashed into Tower II. I felt dizzy, scared and helpless - I screamed! Okay, Dennis had survived the 1993 Attack - he'll get out okay! He can just go to the roof and a helicopter will pick him up. We would later hear that the doors to the roof were locked - a security precaution after the '93 attacks. Pray! Phone lines were clogged to NY where all of my extended family lives, so I couldn't get connected with anyone. Not quite a week had passed when the family was notified that Dennis had not made it out - they had found some of his remains. Less than 2 weeks later, a funeral service was held in Lynbrook, NY for Dennis Buckley - husband, father to 3 little girls, son to loving parents, LaCrosse Champion, and overall happy and lovely man.
I write this today to put a name to our nation's most horrific tragedy. Dennis' family lives with the tragedy each day. For me, Dennis is never far from my thoughts. And so on this anniversary, I just ask you to "Never Forget", fly your flag all day, and if you see a serviceman tell them thank you for all they do to protect our country. God bless America! This is how I want to remember these two beacons . . .