Father, Model and Hero
Clinton Davis, a Port Authority policeman, was a disciplinarian. "Keep in line, stay out of trouble and stay in school" was the mantra he had for his children and his nephews and nieces.
"When one of the kids got into trouble, he would have a little talk with them," said his younger sister, Sandra Davis. The children looked up to Mr. Davis, 38, as their model, and the family savored the story of his restraining a "huge crazy man" at the World Trade Center. In the process, Mr. Davis tore his hamstring.
The knowledge that Mr. Davis died while helping others gives the Flushing, Queens, family comfort. One of his colleagues told his family that he ran in and out of the north tower to evacuate people, and when he went in one last time, the tower collapsed. His body was later found on a stairs next to his closest friend, another Port Authority police officer, Uhuru Houston.
"They knew their father died a hero," Ms. Davis said of Clinton Davis's three chidren, ages 18, 12, and 10. "And that made it a lot easier for them to accept the facts." But still, they are on the move with their mother to Texas, where their maternal grandparents live. The memory New York evokes is just too painful.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 26, 2001.