In 2006,, I signed up to commemorate one of the lives of the people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I knew it would be hard to or so I thought. It was hard, and easy. He would be the age my brother T is now.
I’d started off concentrating on the death,
when the realization hit me that it wasn’t about how he died, but
rather, it was that he had lived. That it is important to remember that
each life is precious and irreplaceable.
is the face of an important man. It’s a nice face. It’s a handsome
face. His face could be the face of anyone’s brother, cousin, nephew,
uncle, grandson, husband or father. And, the very fact that he could be
anyone, makes him someone important. Not because he died, but because he
was a person, with a life, a soul, a destiny, a place in his family.
name is Kevin McCarthy. He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. He was
probably somewhere between the 100th and 105th floors when the plane hit
the North Tower. Things may have happened so quickly for him that he
didn’t have time to feel fear. I hope so. I fervently hope that when he
left this world, he entered into the next with joy.
Kevin was so
close to me in age that I’m pretty sure we experienced many of the same
things. We watched the Brady Bunch, and the Love Boat, the Carol Burnett
Show, Sonny and Cher, and perhaps my favorite, Red Skelton. He would
have watched the A-Team and the Rocky movies and ET and Star Wars and
wondered who shot JR. Maybe he watched MacGyver and Happy Days and
Charlie’s Angels. He may have had a poster or three on his walls.
probably practiced fire drills, safety drills and learned to duck under
his desk in case of a nuclear bomb. He probably teased his sisters at
home and fiercely protected them outside of it. My family had five
children, his six. I suspect that a remark once made by my mother, might
have been made by his: "When the girls are gone to camp the laundry is
cut in half. When the boys are away, the food bill is cut by
He may have liked the Beatles and owned their
records. He knew what records WERE… and would have been trying to
explain them to his grand children eventually. He experienced the
amazing transformation of our world, from records, to eight tracks, to
floppy disks, to CD’s and DVD’s. He went from Pong to surfing the ‘net.
was probably in the first classes that experienced true desegregation.
He sadly watched as Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were shot. He
watched the news coverage of the riots at Kent State.
have watched the evacuation of the embassy in Vietnam. He may have had
friends with older brothers in ‘Nam. He may, as I did, know of a brother
who never came back, and others that came back as changed men. Then he
probably asked himself: WHY.
He watched a man walk on the moon
for the first time. He watched astronauts soar into space, some dying in
the attempt. He watched as the Challenger flew its brief flight. He
watched a space station be built, and then fall to the earth, and
another space station be started.
He experienced a boy’s life
with the freedom our children do not have anymore. He might have gotten a
BB gun for Christmas one year, or a ray gun or a water pistol. He might
have been a cowboy for Halloween one year, and routinely have worn his
six shooter, loaded with caps. And just when he was old enough to go out
by himself on Halloween, to hit the good neighborhoods for candy, it
changed forever because of a poisoned pixie stick.
“Just be home
for dinner before darkness falls”, our mothers would have told us. “Wash
up well before coming to the table, and YES you DO have to use soap.”
We watched the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night. You could go
to a movie and get drinks and some popcorn for under $2.00, and we could
go there alone. Our world was smaller, but we explored it a little more
one on one than is possible today. Our bikes could take us anywhere.
Just get home before dark…
After college he got a job and a wife
and family. He lived in Fairfield, Connecticut and must have had a
lovely home. The commute was long and he may not have made it home
before dark every day, but I’m sure he was glad to get there at last.
left for work one day on a beautifully sunny, clear day. He was a Stock
Trader for Cantor Fitzgerald, who occupied the 101st to the 105th
floors of the North Tower. The view must have been breathtaking from his
floor, the 104th. The day was so clear, the sky so blue. I’d venture to
guess that he and his colleagues probably remarked on the nice weather,
and clear air.
And then darkness fell, and he left this Earthly
home. He was 42 years old. He will live on in the memories of his family
and our minds forever as a 42 year old. His hair will never grey. He’ll
never age. He’ll never walk a daughter down an aisle. He’ll never smile
at the sight of a son and his bride. He’ll never be the fun uncle to
his nephews and nieces. There will never be a time when his particular
place in his family will be filled. There will always be a face missing
from the family photos.
He is survived by his wife Debra,
daughters Chelsea and Stephanie, and son Andrew; parents Charles and
Marie McCarthy; four sisters; Kathleen Sullivan and her husband,
Richard; Karen Toomey and her husband, Kevin; Maureen Baumgartel and her
husband, Scott; Mary Ellen Rice and her husband, Tim; one brother,
Charles Jr. and his wife, Deborah; and 9 nieces and nephews as of
September 11, 2001.
And be cause of that place he left, he is an
important man. Please, instead of Speaking, Thinking or Feeling angry
about the end of his life, Stop. Think, hmmm no make that: Ponder about
the beauty of the world around you. Study it well and Smile. Celebrate
his lives, both the Earthly one and the Eternal One.
As Red Skelton would have said: “And May God Bless”
NOTE: I repost this every year, and think of Mr. McCarty. A couple of years ago, his sister found my blog and commented on this memorial of her brother. It is one of the nicest honors of my blog life that she liked this.
I know we're all not ever going to forget.