Thursday, September 8, 2011

Today We Remember FF Paul Gill, FDNY

Today we remember FF Paul Gill, age 34, Engine 54, FDNY.

Paul was killed on Sept. 11th, 2001, helping people out of the Marriott Hotel on the 21st floor.

His mother left this beautiful tribute for her only son:

“It is so difficult to fully comprehend the full impact of what has happened to the small boy who was my son and who is now known to the world as a hero. He started out as a very active child in the womb who kicked day and night.

Raising him was a challenge to be sure. There was never a dull moment. He challenged me to the utmost.

He had a happy upbeat spirit, worked hard, had many friends because he was a friend. He loved life.

When he became a fire fighter, I could not have been more proud of him because I knew that he was serving mankind just as I was called to do as a professional nurse. I felt that part of me was being lived out in him as a public servant. I was proud as could be when I would see him on the fire truck in the neighborhood and I would stop to talk to him and his colleagues. Sometimes I would stop and cry in the street because I could not contain my pride and joy.

At one time I felt compelled to tell him how proud I was of him and he typically replied by saying "No Problem”. I know that I took him by surprise but I knew that it needed to be said by his mother.

Even grown men need to know that their parents love and approve and are proud of them. And I am glad that I had the opportunity to say that to him while I had the chance.

On the night before he died, we had a short routine conversation, which ended in our usual "I love you" before saying goodbye. I am so grateful that I had that last opportunity to say one last expression of love before he went to his death just 12 hours later.

On my birthday he gave me a card which said in it, "Thanks for being my mom' to which I responded jokingly, "I didn't have any choice.” When his birthday rolled around the following month I wrote of course, 'Thanks for being my son".

This year since he wasn't here to celebrate my birthday with me, I took out that wonderful card and placed it with the other cards that I had received. This is just a small window of what it is like to be the mother of a hero. He was an ordinary person in so many ways. He did not think that he did anything unusual. It came naturally for him to do all the wonderful things that he did. 

Truly great people are usually that way they do what they have to do and don't look for acknowledgement. I always told him that I was proud of him but that he should not be a hero. He would always do what I told him not to do, so I guess that I should not be surprised that he did go ahead and become a hero.

I think of him every day. Some days are worse than others. Sometimes I wonder if this really did happen and it feels as if I am finding out about this for the very first time. Sometimes it feels as if I once had a son many years ago and sometimes it feels as if it can't possibly be almost 8 months since I last saw him and spoke to him.

I'm glad for him in some ways that he is at rest now because he worked so hard and had so many responsibilities in life. His life was cut short, but it will never be forgotten by those who know him and who loved him.

He gave his life so that others might live.

I look forward to joining him one day. Until then I hold on to the memories and hope that he is able to know that we all miss him and love immensely.


We Will Never Forget!

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