Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ten years ago today I was working less than a mile from home. That bright September morning I was nailing shingles on the roof of a little barn that I’d just built for a customer. I guess I must have gotten a phone call from my wife, telling me what was happening.

There’s coverage of the memorial services on the radio and television this morning. I listened to a little of it - the clock radio was on when I woke up.

Just now I was out in my front yard mowing the lawn. A fire truck from the next town drove by - the firemen were wearing their dress uniforms, not their helmets and coats. A minute later another truck drove by and I thought, “Oh, of course - a memorial service.”

I went back to mowing and something across the road caught my eye. I thought it was a trash bag blown along by traffic - then I saw a uniformed fireman walking along the road and I realized that the object had fallen off the truck. When he picked it up I saw that it was a fireman’s helmet. I stood by the lawn mower and watched as the fireman walked back to the truck that had pulled over just a little way down the road. I didn’t know him, but I realized he looked familiar. I’d probably seen him in the supermarket or the convenience store.
I watched him walk by, waiting for him to look across the road. I knew what I wanted to do - he was past the house and a little ways further down the road when he looked behind him and across the road. When he looked at me I saluted him - he nodded in response. I went back to cutting the lawn and thinking about those hundreds of people who ran into those buildings ten years ago to do their jobs.