Sunday, September 10, 2006

Michael T. Carroll

“Thirty-nine years old, NYC Firefighter of Ladder Co. 3, a native of Yorkville, on September 11, 2001, heroically in the line of duty while trying to save others at the World Trade Center”

This morning, I drank my coffee from a cup without a handle… I will never be able to look at a broken cup again without thinking of Michael T. Carroll.

I did not know Michael T. Carroll, but after everything I have read, I feel as if I know him now. A dedicated family man, firefighter at Ladder 3 for 16 years, an uncle, a son, a brother, a husband, a baseball coach, a friend - an honorable man – Michael was all of these things and more. I read where he had snapped off the coffee cup handles on all of cups at the firehouse. No one was ever sure why, but it was his legacy somehow. Michael was also a teacher of young firemen; he trained them to be their best, and not to back down from a challenge.

It has been five years since his family has seen his smiling face, five years since Michael and his buddies were hanging out at the firehouse shooting the breeze, five years since his children received a hug from their dad. Five years ago today, no one could have imagined what would happen “tomorrow”. Perhaps if we had we would’ve held our loved ones a little closer, kissed them a little longer, and said all of the things we wanted them to know about how we felt about them.

When I signed up to participate in the 2,996 project, I had no idea how it would effect me. I looked at Michael Carroll’s photograph, and there was a depth in his eyes that rocked me to my core. I began searching for information about this amazingly heroic man, and I smiled through the tears at tributes his family and friends had written about him.

Mr. Carroll was a true humanitarian. His sister wrote that during a blizzard in 1996, after what must’ve been a harrowing day at the hospital for his father’s surgery, Michael picked up his fellow New Yorkers and drove them home one by one, instead of just going home to the warmth of his own family. That is the kind of man that we lost on September 11, 2001.

So today, on the day before the awful attacks that rocked our nation, please do me a favor. Say his name aloud – Michael T. Carroll – and take a moment to be thankful that our country had 39 years with this amazing man on earth.

To Michael’s wife Nancy, and children Brendan and Olivia – We will NEVER forget the hero that we never had the privilege to know… Our hearts ache for you.