A PHILADELPHIA 9-11 EXPERIENCE
Martin Connors writes:
Below is my 9-11-01 experience. I had written it mostly because of the strength that my six year old son had renewed that night following that terrible
morning. I had sent it to the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police along with the poem She Still Stands. My family and friends have urged me to
share these words my brothers and sisters on the job. Please should you find it appropriate for any memorial site or publication, please share it with those of
the NY Cop. Philadelphia officers, such as myself, care deeply for our brothers and sisters; because when it comes down to it -- only a cop can depend on a cop.
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.
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.
She Still Stands
From her island sanctuary
She stood glorious in the sun,
As clouds billowed softly by,
I saw Liberty; her torch raised to the sky
From the sky flew the demons from the east,
By blade, capturing the wings of the eagles flight,
Four riders stormed down delivering death,
Laying siege on her fortress of democracy
The towers destroyed and the keep damaged,
Countless souls delivered into Godís hand,
The devilís seed had been sowed
An unholy bounty reaped
Fire, soot, and ash rained down to the street below,
Onto The Knights of Saint Michael and Saint Florian,
Burying those who try to save
Life pushed to the limit never thought to be undone
From her island sanctuary she stood immobile,
As clouds of smoke, ash, and soot billowed
Devastation recognized and dealt
I saw that Liberty still stood
Her sons shall raise their swords
To vanquish the evil back into the night
Her torch shall never grow dim
It will always be raised to the sky
About the author:
Full Name: Martin Connors
Department: Philadelphia Police Department
Assigned: 12th Police District
I have been a Philadelphia Police Officer since 12-15-97. I have been assigned to the 12th District since 6-10-98. I am married, and have a son, Timothy, 6 years old who wants to be a Fire Marshall, so that
he can "save people and figure out how the fire started." I am the son of a Philadelphia Police Officer,
who is a native New Yorker. I have cousins Stantens and O'Leary's who are both Police and Fire. My personal claim to fame is that in my rookie year, I delivered a baby in the back of my RPC on the street.
Copyright © 2002 Edward D. Reuss
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