Friday, September 16, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Captain America

- "Catch Me Now I'm Falling"
(The Kinks)

FF Brian Bilchera member of Squad 1 in Brooklyn, was Captain America - at least in the eyes of his wife, Tina.  He was a "do anything for you", "there in the nick of time, every time" type of fellow. His character traits and strengths might have evoked comparisons to a comic book hero but they were in fact something far superior to anything that might have appeared there.  His, unlike the Captain's, were real.  They were not merely the figment of an animator's imagination. 

His brothers in Squad 1 affectionately called FF Bilcher "Tugboat" because at 6'1" tall and 240 pounds he was a solidly-built, somewhat broad-based man.  He spent the final ten years of his far-too-short life as a member of the FDNY.  On what sadly turned out to be the final night of his life, he telephoned Tina to tell her that he had been asked to work overtime.  She had given birth to the couple's first child, their son Grant, on August 29, 2001.  Both of them were thankful for his ability to pick up the overtime shift as it lessened the young family's financial burden while she was home on maternity leave.  Neither of them had any way of knowing that when they said their final "I love you" to one another that evening, those would be the final words they would ever speak to each other.   

FF Bilcher, who was only thirty-eight years old when he died on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, is one of twelve members of Squad 1 who died at the World Trade Center that day.  On June 4, 2002, on what would have been the Bilchers' second anniversary, Tina Bilcher laid her husband to rest. With nine-month-old Grant on her lap, she bade farewell to Captain America.  

Perhaps not farewell but, instead, I shall see you again...

FF Brian Bilcher, 
Squad 1 - FDNY

...and think of you every day until I do. 


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