I was sitting in front of my house, immersed in an article in my local newspaper, while my kids played outside. The story was about two high school classmates who were in the World Trade Center towers 10 years ago today.
One died; the other got out of the building 15 minutes before it collapsed, spewing steel and concrete and ash across lower Manhattan.
My youngest walked over, stood next to me and pointed at a picture in the paper. “Look Dad, a fireman!” he said with the excitement of a toddler who’s fascinated by policemen and firemen. “And another fireman!”
It was the now famous picture of New York Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge being carried from the site after the collapse of the south tower. I wondered if my son would ask about the man in the picture, one of 343 firefighters who died that day. I wondered how I’d explain it all to him.
He didn’t ask. He walked off to play with his friend. But not before I hugged and kissed him. And not before tears welled in my eyes.