Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Ride To Heaven On a Gyroscope

The Daily News asked her for the dope.
She said, "Man the dope is that there's still hope."
- Bruce Springsteen

On September 11, 2001, thirty-seven members of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey Police Department died in the line of duty at the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

Among the thirty-seven members of the PANYNJ Police Department who died that morning was Police Officer Steven Huczko.  Officer Huczko, a fifteen-year veteran of the Department, was forty-four years of age at the time of his death.   He was survived by his wife, Kate, and their four children, Kaitlyn, Liam, Cullen and Aiden.  

PANYNJ Police Officer Thomas Gorman was killed that morning too.  Thomas Gorman is the only resident of the tiny town that I call home, Middlesex Borough, whose life was taken from him on September 11, 2001.  Every Saturday and Sunday, when I go for my long runs through town, I make a point of running through Victor Crowell Park and paying my respects to him at the Memorial erected there in his memory approximately ten years ago.  Officer Gorman, only forty-one years old, was a member of the Department's ESU and was among the first PANYNJ officers to respond to the Twin Towers.  He was survived by his wife, Barbara, and their three children, Patrick, Laura and Bridget.

Superintendent of Police Fred Morrone, sixty-three years old, began Tuesday, September 11, 2001 not in Lower Manhattan but across the river on the Jersey side.  However, in the immediate aftermath of the first plane striking the North Tower at 8:46 am, Superintendent Morrone traveled into Lower Manhattan.  He was last seen up and around the forty-fifth floor of the North Tower trying to help lead people to safety.  Superintendent Morrone was survived by his wife, Linda, their three grown children, Fred, Alyssa and Gregrory, and two grandchildren.

On August 22, 2014, less than one month shy of the thirteeth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the PANYNJ Police Department graduated its largest-ever class of rookies.  Two hundred and forty-nine new officers joined the department. 

Among their number - for the first time in the Department's history -were three "09/11 Legacy" cadets, including Jennifer Morrone.  Officer Morrone, twenty-seven years old, is the second cousin of Superintendent Fred Morrone.  

The two other "09/11 Legacy" cadets in the 2014 Rookie class are sons of fallen officers.  Liam Huczko, was a boy of only twelve or thirteen when his father was taken from him.  On Friday he joined the same service his dad had proudly called home for fifteen years.

PA NY/NJ Police Officer Liam Huczko

And Patrick Gorman, a little boy of just ten or eleven who loved it when his dad would take him to work with him who was only ten or eleven on the day his father died, joined the ranks of the PA NY/NJ Police Department on Friday as well.  Once again, after an absence of just less than thirteen years, there shall be an Officer Gorman in the ranks of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey Police Department.

PA NY/NJ Police Officer Patrick Gorman
When one speaks of "following in the footsteps", one speaks of young men and women such as Officer Morrone, Officer Huczko and Officer Gorman.  May they walk well and walk strong, bringing honor to their profession and to the memory of the men who inspired them to it.  


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