Thanks, dad

· Sep 23, 2001 Tweet

I always brag about my dad. I love telling people he is a firefighter. When I call him at his firehouse, Engine 28 on 2nd Street in Manhattan, I always ask for “Lieutenant” Becker even though he insists I could just ask for Brian Becker.

Some girls get all giggly when I tell them what my dad does; “He must be cute, all firemen are hot!” they say. The guys all think it is just “so cool!”

But it is not always so cool. It wasn’t that cool when he was in the hospital a few years ago with a burn on his arm. I was young and did not wholly understand that he would recover. I was too young to visit him and I missed him very much during those days. I still do not know exactly how long he was in the hospital, but I remember it felt like an eternity.

On September 11, 2001, those feelings of anxiety were multiplied by an innumerable amount. When I was woken up by a call from my best friend, I did not know how to react to the news that one of the World Trade Center buildings was gone.

“Is my father working this morning? Is he okay?”

I did not know where my dad was because I was 1000 miles away, here in Madison attending UW. So for half the day, I did not know if my father was alive or dead.

When I finally spoke to my mother, all she could tell me was that my father was at work but she had not heard from him yet. I did not stop crying long enough all day to dry the fallen tears off my cheeks. I knew that, because of the location of his engine, he would definitely be at the scene.

Finally, word came that he had survived — he was one of the last men to escape the second tower as it crumbled into nothing. Hearing my father’s voice that night was the single greatest experience of my life.

Unfortunately, many people in my father’s engine were not so lucky — my dad lost a lot of friends that day.

Even after hearing that my father was okay, my mind would not cease and it has not ceased since that day.

As for my dad, the days following the disaster, he continued to make his way through the rubble. He works for 24 hours and then he goes home for 24 hours.

This tiring cycle is still going today. Despite the sorrow he must feel, he and every other wonderful firefighter goes back every day to anything he can. I have never been more proud that my father is a firefighter — a hero.

Countless people have asked me to thank him for them. So for them and especially for me, thank you, Dad.

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This article was published Sep 23, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 23, 2001 at 12:00 am

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