Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Never-Lasting Innocents


Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends....
-Green Day
A bit of a programming note.  I am aware of the fact that there are people who pop by this space - if not on a daily basis - then at least on a recurring and/or semi-regular basis - whose initial visit here happened at some point within the past twelve months.  Please note that whereas this little piece of real estate at the corner of Anti-Social and Insane, which is thematically inconsistent for most of the year, shall in fact be almost universally so for the next eleven days. 


The attacks on the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001 are - to date - the defining historical events of the forty-six and one-half years that I have occupied space here.  As we approach the twelfth anniversary of this century's very own "Day of Infamy", it remains important - to me at least - that we continue to honor the sacrifices made that day and to keep a space in our heart for those whose lives were lost and their loved ones who mourned them then and who still mourn them presently.  If these are stories you would prefer not to read, then feel free to drop out for a while.  I am a man of woefully underdeveloped feelings.  I assure you that you lack the capacity to hurt them.  
Lincoln Quappe.  Firefighter Lincoln Quappe was a member of the FDNY's Rescue 2 unit, based in Brooklyn.  In September of 2001, he was thirty-eight years young.  He was married.  He and his wife Jane had two children.  His son Clint was but eight years old and his little girl Natalie only five when their dad and 342 of his FDNY brothers died in the line of duty at the World Trade Center.  Although he was only thirty-eight years of age, Quappe was a sixteeen-year veteran of the FDNY.  Prior to joining Rescue 2, he had been a member of Ladder Co. 123 and Engine Co. 134 in Crown Heights.  As she prepared for his memorial service - shortly after his remains were identified at Ground Zero in late September 2001 - Jane Quappe observed that she knew when she married a firefighter that the very real possibility existed that one day he could go to work and never come home.  She also observed that firefighting was in his blood.  He did what he did not simply because he loved it - but because he recognized that it needed to be done and that not everyone possesses the capacity to do it.  He would be pleased no doubt to learn that his son Clint is cut from the same cloth - a member of the all-volunteer Sayville New York Fire Department wearing the same formerly-retired number that once belonged to Lincoln Quappe.  Apples and trees.  Apples and trees. 
Michael Quilty.  Lieutenant Michael Quilty was a twenty-year veteran of the FDNY.  He had in fact just achieved that milestone approximately one week before the September 11, 2001 attacks.  Lt. Quilty spent the first eigthteen years of his career in Borough Park, Brooklyn, the home base for Engine Co. 282 and Ladder Co. 148.  In September 2001 he was a member of Ladder Co. 11 in Manhattan.  He was directing other members of his Company that terrible morning - having responded to the initial attack on the North Tower.  Little surprise to find Lt. Quilty in the middle of the action that morning.  In his twenty-year career in the FDNY he had received three separate commendations for bravery, including two unit citations for meritorious acts and, in 1997, the Fire Marshals' Benevolent Association's Medal for Personal Bravery and Initiative.  Lt. Quilty performed a rescue during a response to a house fire that required him to carry an unconscious woman down several flights of stairs to safety.  It was unclear which Tower Lt. Quilty was in when both collapsed.  Ladder Co. 11's truck had been parked next to Tower 1.  Forty-two years young at the time of his death, Lt. Quilty enjoyed spending time off of the job with his wife Susan and their two children:  Danny, who was fifteen at the time of his dad's death, and his thirteen-year-old daughter Kerry.         
Ricardo Quinn.   Ricardo Quinn was an EMT-P with the FDNY.  Paramedic Quinn was forty years old.  He was assigned to Battalion 57 in Brooklyn.  On the morning of September 11, 2001, Paramedic Quinn rushed to the World Trade Center to provide assistance to anyone and everyone he could.  He did so in spite of the fact that a shoulder injury he had sustained earlier that summer, from which he was still recovering on that fateful September morning, had resulted in him being placed on light duty.  He responded to Lower Manhattan not because he had to but because he HAD to.  It was in his DNA.  Paramedic Quinn had been a member of the FDNY EMS team for nine years.  Prior to that he had served in the United States Coast Guard.  An avid and skilled sand sculptor, Ricardo Quinn was survived by his wife Virginia, two sons and a stepson.  He and Virginia had met in the summer of 1988 at Jones Beach when their two young sons began playing with one another.  From that initial encounter love bloomed and the two married shortly thereafter.  Each brought with them into their union a son from a first marriage.  The couple's son Danny was but nine years old when his dad was killed.

Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are

As my memory rests
But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends....

-AK




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