Just about everyone knows someone that passed away in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks if you're from New York.
For me it was my best friend's father. He was a firefighter in New York City.
I was surfing with some friends in Long Beach when we noticed the cloud of smoke billowing from the city. I drove home to find my dad huddled around the television and we watched together as the second plane hit.
I immediately got in my car and drove to the school my friend and I were attending worried sick about his father. He was off that day for a dentist appointment, but as soon as he heard the news he drove into the city while most others were fleeing. Soon he was running into a building to help others at the cost of his own life. He was found holding onto a coworker, covering his mouth with his hand, trying to protect someone else in the last seconds of his life.
For me Sept. 11 changed my view about New Yorkers. We might all walk with our heads down, not smiling and bumping into each other, mowing down old ladies to catch a train, but faced with great adversity, we change. We turn from millions of individuals all fending for themselves into a group or team who look out for each other, and out of that group a few heroes emerge who are willing to sacrifice there own lives to protect and save the lives of others.
I hope everyone is as grateful as I am to have those people on our side.
Rest in peace Dennis Carey.