Thursday, August 14, 2014

Perseverance and Endurance

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength
To persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
- Christopher Reeve

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 the Fire Department of the City of New York suffered the greatest, single-day loss of life in its history.  343 members of the FDNY, heroes all, died while trying to save those trapped in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.  This is the story of two of those 343 heroes...

Dennis Mojica had been on the job for twenty-eight years.  At the time of his death on September 11, 2001 he was a Lieutenant with the elite Rescue 1 unit, which unit he had been a member of since 1990.  Lieutenant Mojica was fifty years old at the time of his death.  He had dedicated more than one-half of his life to the service and protection of the people of New York City as a member of the FDNY.  Prior to joining the FDNY, Lt. Mojica served honorably in the United States Navy.  In the course of his duties as a member of Rescue 1, Lt. Mojica also lent his talents and his compassion to those beyond the geographical boundaries of New York City.  He went to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to assist the victims of the bombing of the Murrah federal building and, thereafter, to Atlanta, Georgia to assist those injured in the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing.  On the morning of September 11, 2001, he was among the first FDNY members that entered the stairwell of the North Tower to rescue those who were injured and trapped inside.  He was one of eleven members of Rescue 1 killed that morning when the North Tower collapsed.  He died two months prior to his planned wedding to his fiance, Maria.    

Manuel Mojica, Jr.  Firefighter Manual Mojica, Jr. was a thirty-seven year-old husband to Anna Marie, father to Stephanie Ann and Manny Alexander and a member of Squad 18 of the FDNY when he was killed in the line of duty on September 11, 2001.   He had a reputation for keeping calm even in the most stressful of situations and for doing whatever he could to insulate Anna Marie and his children from the often difficult and occasionally terrifying experiences he encountered in the course of his day-to-day.  Proof that everyone needs a good ritual to soothe them, FF Mojica was known for his end-of-shift/bedtime snack:  milk and cookies.  Not the first thing one thinks of when thinking of a tattooed, Harley-riding, muscle-bound firefighter?   A reminder therefore that one cannot always judge the contents of a book by a simple perusal of its cover.  

Heroes are selfless people who perform extraordinary acts.
The mark of heroes is not necessarily the result of their actions
but what they are willing to do for others and for their chosen cause.
Even if they fail, their determination lives on for others to follow.
The glory lies not in the achievement, but in the sacrifice.
- Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono


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