Today marks 8 years of the attacks in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. Project 2,996 commemorates the number of people who were ripped from their lives on 9-11-01. I’ve joined this project, and pledged to remember one person. I never met him. But I would like to put a name and face of one of those victims, Captain Frank Callahan:
I learned that Capt. Frank Callahan was a man of few words but had the heart of a practical joker. Once, he delighted his firefighters by dancing down the middle of Central Park West. He loved to wear the same flannel shirt while off duty.
I learned that he sat for hours patiently listening to his daughter try to play the piano, that he was big enough to knock down a door but gentle enough to cuddle a baby.
I learned that he always went into a fire first. And the last to go out.
And then I learned this: When Callahan rode off to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, he made three phone calls -- to his teacher wife at her school, to his home to check on a sick child, and to his 20-year-old daughter to make sure she did not go to her job at the Twin Towers. She didn't.
In short, I learned Frank Callahan was human. When heading into danger, he first made sure his family was safe.
From Mrs. Callahan, I learned that a few years after they met, Mr. Callahan was appointed to his post in 1973. "That job was all he ever wanted," she recalled. "That was the best thing that ever happened to him."
Capt. Frank Callahan was a good husband, a loving father, and a dedicated fire fighter.
He died on September 11, 2001. He was 51 years old.
We must never, ever forget.
More tributes to the victims of 9/11 here.