A/N: This is my take on a memorial service for the 15th anniversary to 9/11. So it would be set on September 11, 2016.
Just a small chapter as a dedication to those who gave their lives, or their health, to save others. I'm not from NY, not even from the US, so forgive me if I mess up some details. But I think, firefighters all over the world are somehow similar to each other… so I will probably never be able to understand completely what they've been feeling, but I have somehow an idea about it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Third Watch. It belongs to its rightful owners.
A Personal Hero
„And now I give you one of New York's Bravest, Division Chief James Doherty", Sasha Monroe said as Jimmy walked up to the podium.
"Thank you Madam Mayor", Jimmy said as he walked to the podium and took over the microphone. He was wearing his FDNY dress blues and looked down over all the assembled citizens of NYC, Firefighters, Paramedics and Cops.
In the first row, next to his empty chair, his wife Kim sat, with eleven year old Kevin next to her and three year old Alexandra on her knees. Joey, or Joe Doherty as he preferred to be called these days sat in the back of the place, with the firefighters of his company.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, friends, families of all those who died today fifteen years ago, I am glad to see every one of you today", Jimmy began, "To most of us, September 11 was the most terrible day of our lives and we who are here today are the ones that were lucky enough to survive."
"I've been called a hero for many times since", he told them, "But I never felt like I did something heroic on that day. I think many of you can understand it – no matter how often someone calls me a hero, all I did was my job. No more, no less."
Jimmy took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves.
"But every one of us has a story of his own, about a hero of this day", he continued, "Whenever we are asked, who was a hero, we mention their names. Many of us mention our dead brothers, others remember stories of someone who saved people and luckily survived. To me, my personal hero is my wife, Kim Zambrano. I want to take this opportunity to say how sorry I am for how I acted in the aftermath of this day.
"Kim was a paramedic from '94 on", Jimmy told them, "We worked together in the same Firehouse when I was the senior guy on the Squad. Following the death of her rig partner in early '01, Kim was granted leave of absence. For a while she seemed to cope better with it, before she had a heavy setback. In April she attempted to kill herself and was lucky to survive. After that, she was placed on prolonged medical leave."
Jimmy looked down at Kim's face, showing the scars on her soul that these months had left on her mind.
"By September, me and my mother-in-law had almost given up hope to get her back from this state of mind", Jimmy said, "Then came 9/11. I had been on shift the day before, Kim had been alone in her apartment. From what I was told by my mother-in-law, Kim was barely able to keep it clean on her own."
"When the first plane hit", Jimmy recalled, "I was just about to finish my shift. We responded immediately to the north tower. That's where I saw Kim running into the firehouse almost as the Engine raced out of the door. Without getting paid, or any form of needing to respond, still being on medical leave, Kim decided to help others. In a moment, when she herself was still in dire need of help, she put her life and her health at line, to help rescue others. That makes her my personal hero of this day."
Kim was sitting on her chair, silent tears glistening in her eyes, as she followed Jimmy's speech. Although she had known for a long time, that he was supposed to give a speech at the 15th anniversary memorial service, she had not seen the transcript of the speech before. Even though she had even offered to help write it, Jimmy had made sure that she had not seen any piece of it. Now she knew why.
"I know that there are many stories out there, of heroes dead and alive, of firefighters, cops or paramedics that grew far beyond everything that was considered possible to help on this day", Jimmy concluded, "Today, we remember them. We are grateful that we made it out alive, and yet, most of us would go straight back in to save another one. And I am proud to have known so many of these fine people."
Jimmy sighed silently as he walked down from the podium and took his seat next to Kim again. Wiping her tears from her eyes, Kim leaned over and planted a light kiss on her husband's cheek.
A/N: So, what do you think?
As those of you, who have read my profile know, I am a real firefighter. I have never experienced anything that comes close to something like 9/11. Seriously, I am very glad and I hope I never will.
But still, I know what it feels like to go into a burning building, not knowing where the fire is, how dangerous it will be and whether you will come in time to save someone inside. I don't think I'm a hero, I just do my job. There are other members of my company, senior to me, who are always the first in the burning house, they have saved more people over the years than I can remember right now. I would probably call them heroes. But they will give you the pretty much the same answer. And those colleagues of mine, who brag about being heroic firefighters tend to be the ones who stay always a little more back. And so it is maybe for most of us, firefighters, paramedics, cops, doctors. We help - that's our job.
I hope you liked it. Don't forget to review!