Remembering: James D. Cleere
I found a reprint / repost of a Washington Post list of House Document No. 107-285, Commemorative Joint Meeting of the Congress of the United States In Remembrance of the Victims and Heroes of September 11, 2001. It gave me my idea of how to write this Tribute. You see, I volunteered to write and post a Tribute after finding my way to a site called Project 2,996. The name I was assigned belongs to a man who was…well…a man who was in one of the Towers of the World Trade Center that day.
It’s a very plain-looking list, as are most of the other reprints of that long long list – no frills or fanfares, no candles or flowers or flags waving in the breeze. Most of us live lives that don’t come with public fanfare or frills or parades or widely posted Tributes. The Americans killed that horrible day were mostly just like you and me…going about their business in the ways they knew best. Though they worked in a talked-about building – or compound, as there were more than 2 “towers” – their everyday lives involved the same kinds of things we all do – taking out the trash, answering the phone, losing a cell while crossing a bridge, talking to the kids, the grocer, the neighbor, folding a load of laundry, picking up a prescription, grabbing a quick bite. Ordinary…yet so very extraordinary, and now never to be forgotten.
James D. Cleere was living his life. He was 55. He was from Newton, Iowa.
He was sentenced to Death by the murderers that day because of where he was and who he was. They did not know him personally, or care about him or his family or his friends. They didn’t know how he got from Iowa to New York City, where he’d gone to school, or what he had for breakfast every day. They only cared that he die that day because he was in that building.
I didn’t know him, either. But I will never forget him.
James D. Cleere was on the 49th floor of the South Tower, in the offices of Seabury and Smith Insurance, when the hijacked Flight 175 out of Boston slammed into the building at 9:03am on September 11, 2001.
James D. Cleere – you are not forgotten.
Remembering: Brian Bilcher
Unlike Mr. Cleere, Brian Bilcher was an easy name to research. Being a member of Squad 1, FDNY means he was well-known and well-loved and remembered by so many people. Details are not difficult to come by. Many have memorialized him, and done so better than my paltry research and writing skills will do. There’s a letter from his mother that made this crusty ol broad tear up some… Brian Bilcher’s name graces the tribute pages and lists of every firefighting unit in the country that has posted a remembrance, I think.
Firefighter Brian Bilcher, you will never be forgotten. May God continue to bless your friends and family and your beautiful son Grant.
You dedicated your life to helping others and saving lives. You gave your life so that others may live. Thank you, your Brothers and Sisters and Friends and Co-workers… from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
And, on this anniversary of the attacks on our country, to everyone who’s been on the front lines – or the rear echelon – of the Global War On Terror, fighting to protect our way of life – and our very lives – THANK YOU, too. Thanks go to your families and friends and anyone else who loves you and supports you in your efforts, whether serving on Active Duty or keeping a candle in the window to light your way home…Thank You.
Read more Tributes – or find out how to write one, there are more than a thousand people who have none – HERE.