Things We'll Never Know
Michael D. Mullan honored his father by following him into the military, he honored his mother by following her into nursing, and he honored himself by becoming a firefighter, his brother, Patrick, said in a eulogy.
Sometimes Firefighter Mullan combined his vocations, like when he told a young boy named Steve who had a 106-degree fever that if he let him put in an I.V., he would get a trip to the firehouse.
Steve has a picture of himself with Firefighter Mullan, 34, who worked at Ladder Company 12 in Manhattan's Chelsea section, next to the fire pole.
"Michael loved to play the piano," said his mother, Theresa. "He played the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis, and when he got up, the piano went into cardiac arrest."
A captain in the Army Reserve, he was planning to become a nurse practitioner. He lived with his parents in Bayside, Queens, and had a girlfriend.
"I know what his goals were, but what would he have attained and achieved?" Mrs. Mullan said. "Would he have married, and been a father? We'll never know."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 25, 2001.
My World Trembled Today
Patrick J. Mullan II
(This poem is dedicated to New York City’s Bravest, the selfless men and women of the Fire Department of the City of New York. This poem is especially dedicated to the brave souls of Ladder12, the Pride of Chelsea. Most of all, this poem is dedicated to my brother Fire Fighter Michael Dermott Mullan, Badge Number 7830, who courageously gave up his life in the Marriott Hotel on September 11, 2001. His honor and glory will not be forgotten.)
My world trembled today.
The slaves of evil smote us with fire and dismay!
Destruction and death, they carried on the morning breeze.
Their evil mission was to bring us all to our knees.
Ground rolled, earth groaned, and the sky went black.
Death came from the sky; our country was under attack!
Alarm bells rang out; many knew that they would die.
They dialed their cell phones to tell their loved ones good-bye.
Who would respond to the alarms and devastation?
The Fire Fighters of New York answered the call, the bravest of our nation!
Helmets, respirators and turnout coats were pulled down from the rack.
Our brothers were going in! Many would never come back.
Red flashing lights pierced the blackness, sirens like war horns did bray.
The brothers ignored the smoke and fire as they climbed the stairway.
Water, rope, ax and halligan they brought into the fray.
“May God Bless and Protect you. Be safe,” men, women and children did say.
Hundreds of lives they had saved and some fire fighters made it back out.
But, “A tower is down!” they could hear some people shout.
No dishonor would they bring to their brothers or their names,
They had pledged their lives to save others; they went back into the flames!
Smoke filled the air, and hot fire blackened their skin,
But lives were in danger, so they went right back in.
They fought without fear, like ancient warrior poets of old.
Their strong backs were bent; their courageous hearts were bold.
Lives by the thousands, our heroes saved that fateful day,
As steel beams melted, and concrete gave way!
Sheetrock and glass rained down like hail.
But souls were in peril; the brothers could not fail!
The battle was lost when the second tower came down.
The damage was too great, and the fire would not drown.
Our bravest and best fell answering that call.
And, great and terrible was the sound of their mighty fall!
Our innocence died on that evil day.
But our heroes made the sacrifice for us; their courage never would sway!
To rescue even one person, they gave up their lives.
They left behind their families, their children and their wives.
As the Angels wailed with sorrow and the sun turned red,
Many families knew that their loved ones were dead.
Men were silent and bowed down their heads.
Women tore at their hair, and wept alone in their beds.
Children cried bitter tears and all cried out loud,
“They are lost forever, in the fire and in the black cloud.”
We stand now in awe, our hearts crushed and broken,
Our faces wet with tears, and mournful words we have spoken.
We will never see the like of them again,
Not until the sun and the moon has died, and the world comes to an end.
But those of us who survive, must always recall,
“Heroes may not live long, but cowards never live at all!”
We will live on to tell their brave story,
never forgetting their honor, never forgetting their glory!
Our children must be made to remember their valiant last stand.
Our grandchildren must be taught to say,
“Thank You. We love you. You are the Pride of our land!”
My world trembled today,
my brother is gone, he is far away.