Thanks, Aspen, from a firefighter
April 8, 2002
This poem was written to try to express my sincere gratitude to the Aspen Country Day School, the Grass Roots Aspen Experience, the Aspen Fire Department and all the wonderful, kind and generous people who live in the city of Aspen.
The 20 families of the New York City Fire Department that your city so graciously opened their hearts and homes to, I am sure would join me in raising my glass to thank and salute all of you.
The wives and children of firefighters who gave their lives on September 11, firefighters who were actually there when the towers collapsed, and firefighters who worked many long hours in the days and weeks following, trying to save and then recover this tragedy’s many victims were given a very special, badly needed break from all that has happened.
By the time our week in Aspen was over, I personally witnessed smiles on faces that I was not sure would be able to smile again, and for this I am sincerely grateful.
@ATD Sub heds:A wonderful Aspen tale
@ATD body copy: Listen to this magical story,
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for there’s never been a truer tale
About the wonderful town of Aspen,
and some people who refused to fail.
A tragedy had befell our nation,
At much too great a cost.
And many an American Hero
On that tragic day was lost.
The families of Aspen Country Day School
Are some of the rarest kind.
They could not help those who were lost.
So they would help those who were left behind.
For the plan to be a success
A call for volunteers they’d send.
And what came back in response
Was a line that had no end.
Now, back in New York City,
so many stricken with grief,
Smothering with a heavy heart,
Unable to breathe relief.
Sometimes it feels so terrible
That my mind refuses to roam.
How do you tell your three young kids,
Their daddy is not coming home?
The Aspenites all wondered
What would happen when the paths crossed,
And the firemen still agonized
Over all that they had lost.
What was about to happen
Was set in good intention,
But looking back, I now know,
was divine intervention.
Yes, that was magic in the mountains
And Aspen’s beauty did its part,
But the essence of this story
is about the human heart.
I’ve learned from being a fireman
That when you reach out in the dark,
You’ll never know whose heart you’ll touch
or where you’ll leave your mark.
All the parts of this story,
There is really no need to tell.
But you should know that what you did
Gave a child a respite from hell.
And of happy endings,
I am their biggest fan.
This story isn’t ending,
it only just began.
Lt. Engine 76, NYFD