Seven Years Later

Memorial outside New York New York casino in Las Vegas, 2002

I haven’t forgotten.

Anthony is the only four-year-old fireman I know of. He calls himself “Fireman Anthony” and me “Fireman Daddy” and has a collection of toy firetrucks next to his bed, along with a real LAFD helmet his uncle got him. He keeps his fireman boots by the side of his bed like a real fireman because, as I tell him, firemen always need to be ready at a moment’s notice and they never know what they’ll be facing.

And tonight I will have to explain to a curious little four-year-old that on this day seven years ago, thousands of innocent people–including some of his heroes in the fire and police department–died.

I will have to tell him why Daddy cried. I will have to tell him that there are bad people in this world that simply don’t blink an eye at the thought of killing others. I will hold him, hug him, and remind him that the world he lives in is definitely not like the one Daddy knew.

After all that, I will pick up my little fireman, carry him to his bed, kiss him on the cheek and salute him like I always do. As his fragile mind shifts to fighting imaginary fires in Dreamworld, mine will still see the very real and horrific explosions coming from the World Trade Center towers.

Lest we forget.