At the time of 9/11 I was a cop and had been one for many years. What follows is something I wrote very soon after 9/11 to help me cope with the horrors of that day:
If you know me then you knew them.
As I contemplate the horror of this attack on our great country I tend to
think, I can’t imagine. Yet as I contemplate further I realize that, in a
small way, I really can imagine.
I can’t imagine what it was like at the end for the poor souls on the
airliner. I can’t imagine what it was like for the innocent people in the
buildings that were attacked. But I can imagine what it was like for the
officers who died in their valiant efforts to save total strangers.
I can imagine this because I am a cop. Being a cop is a strange thing. We
are all, for the most part, the same exact thing. Just as a McDonalds
cheeseburger is the same either in your town of three thousand miles away-
the same can be said for cops. We all tend to be very much like each other.
As such I know what it was like for these men and women in law enforcement
as they faced their death. Their response was no different than mine would
have been, no different from those of the cops who work for me. No different
than that of cops if it had happened three thousand miles away.
These cops saw danger that others ran from. These cops ran towards it.
Others ran out to save themselves. These cops ran in to save others. These
cops, who through their careers have been vilified and mocked by the general
population tried, heroically, to save those who may well have been their
These brave officers were under no obligation to enter these buildings.
The credo that “Cops fight crime and firefighters fight fires” didn’t occur
to them. They knew that people needed help and they didn’t hesitate. Just
like I wouldn’t hesitate and just like the cop three thousand miles away
These brave men and women of law enforcement had husbands, wives, children
and other family and friends that cared for them greatly. Just as I do.
These brave men and women, unhesitatingly, sacrificed all that in the
service of total strangers. Just as I would have and just as the cop three
thousand miles away would have.
My prayer is that their experience of death was quick and
To my friends and family I boldly suggest this- If you know me then you
knew them. They are no different than me, no different from the cop three
thousand miles away. We are no different. We are one.