Monday, September 8, 2014

Wish Fulfillment

Love is the most important thing in the world, 
but, Baseball is pretty important too.
- Yogi Berra

FF Kenneth Marino of Rescue 1 in Manhattan was among the 343 members of the FDNY who died while coming to the assistance of others at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  Sadly, FF Marino, only forty years old but already a veteran of two decades as a firefighter, is among those who were killed that day whose body was never recovered.  

Approximately an hour before FF Marino and his brothers from Rescue 1 rode into history, he enjoyed an impromptu visit at the firehouse from his wife Katrina and the couple's two young children, Kristin and Tyler who were just three and one, respectively.  FF Marino was last seen entering the North Tower.  While his body was never recovered, the helmet he wore that morning was.  Katrina has held onto it - damaged as it was - because it gives her something to look at and something to hold that reminds her of her husband...and what he and their family sacrificed that day. 

Katrina Marino was a Massachusetts girl so, in the years following her husband's death, she and the children moved back to her childhood home in Bradford, Mass.  Tyler has no memory of the father who he never knew.  Kristin - who was three - not only has memories of her dad but not too very long after his death did this.  Watch it and try not to cry.  If you realize that goal, then please let me know how you did it.  I could not. 

FF Marino was a fan of the New York Mets and the Seattle Mariners and his favorite player was "The Kid", Ken Griffey, Jr.  In 2001, Griffey, Jr. was playing for his hometown team, the Cincinnati Reds. In the days following September 11, Katrina Marino e-mailed Junior, asking him if he could hit a home run for her husband and explaining that her husband would be looking down "with a big grin". 

Two weeks to the day after her husband rushed headlong into the North Tower, Junior obliged Katrina Marino's request.  In his second at-bat that night against the Phillies, he hit a home run.  The bat with which he hit the home run, which he later referred to as one of the most memorable he ever hit, was given to Katrina, Kristin and Tyler Marino.  

Oh to be a center fielder, 
A center fielder and nothing more.
-Philip Roth 


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