Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Pied Piper

Children are always like wet cement.
Whatever falls on them makes an impression.
- Haim Ginott

Port Authority of New York/New Jersey Police Officer Michael T. Wholey and his wife Jennifer were the proud parents of three very enthusiastic little balls of wet cement when, on Tuesday September 11, 2001, Police Officer Wholey was killed in the line of duty at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

A graduate of SUNY-Albany, he had been a member of the Department for eight years.  At thirty-four years of age, he was already looking forward to retiring once his three children had completed their respective educations.  Jennifer Wholey said it beautifully, "He was an excellent police officer.  But it didn't define him."

Rather, what defined him was his love of his wife and of their three children, Meagan, Erin and Patrick.  Meagan, the oldest of the three, was born in 1993.  His sister Bernadette called him "The Pied Piper" and described how his children would race out of the house to greet him when he returned from work, knowing that Dad was always up for a trip to the park or some other activity that permitted him to share time and space with them.

Three little innocents, each an apple of their Daddy's eye, deprived of the opportunity of sharing their lives with him.  Not one of them had even reached the age of ten when he was taken from them.  His oldest two are now in college.  His hoped-for, yet never-able-to-be-realized retirement date would have been, by this time, tantalizingly close. 

Sadly, Police Officer Wholey's body was not recovered from the place that became known as Ground Zero.   Sadder still is that he is but one of a number of fallen members of the Port Authority Police Department who died that terrible morning whose body was never recovered. 

There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children.
One is roots. 
The other is wings.
- Stephen Covey


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