Firefighter Robert Parro

helmet.jpgI’m just an average American. Nothing too special about me, really. I went to college, got married, had a few children. I’d like a bigger house. Someday my husband will retire, not just from the Army, but from working. Maybe we’ll do some traveling. He’d like to own an RV and roam around the country. We’ll see.We’re not that different from you or most Americans. We have our nice, quiet lives. For the most part, we’re content.

We remember a day just five years ago, when like most Americans, our day started out pretty ordinary. My husband went off to work, I got the children up and dressed. They were little then, just 2 years old and 8 months. The other two were still only in our dreams. Nothing too extraordinary. It was a mild, late summer day. A slight breeze. Pretty close to perfect.

Robert Parro was ending his shift as a firefighter with Manhattan’s Battalion 8 that morning. He was getting ready to head back home to his wife, Karen and their son, John, then 4 years old. He’d been a firefighter for eight years and according to his wife, “loved it.” His mother Virginia said he was “born to be a firefighter.” I don’t imagine that he thought of himself as a hero. He would probably have described himself as just an average guy.

Just like you and me.

I’m sure he had dreams of his own. More children, perhaps. Growing old with his wife. Maybe he wanted an RV, too. Maybe she smiled indulgently at him and said, “Sure, honey.” Maybe they were saving for a vacation. Just your average Americans. The guy next door.

But on that morning of September 11, 2001, as Robert Parro was wrapping up his shift, the alarm sounded. He called his wife to let her know that he was on his way to the fire. She never heard from him again.

We may never know how many lives Robert Parro saved before he lost his.

Let us not forget that the people who lost their lives on this day five years ago were people just like you and me. They had families, and hopes and dreams and lives worth living. Let us honor them today by remembering not that they died, but that they lived.

For more tributes to the 2,996 victims of September 11, click here.

More Mac and Cheese, please!


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  • I woke up from a dream on Sunday 11 March 2007 with the Name Parro being spoken in my mind.It was not a name i had heard before or was familiar to me.Out of curiousity i looked it up on the wed found this site and felt compeled to leave this message.It might help someone.Respect to his family and loved ones.

  • Hi…I would just like to thank you for taking the time out ot write this, I am Robert’s sister Michelle….Im just curious how you found out about him and what made you write this?…If you see this if you could e-mail me that would be great thanks!…He is truly missed…

  • I used to play baseball in the Levittown little league and remember him having a reputation as a really good (fast) pitcher. May God bless his soul and his family.

  • Thank you for a touching tribute to someone I knew when we were kids growing up in Levittown. Robert’s family lived behind ours and we were all great friends growing up. Me, my sister and brother and Robert and his four brothers were all close in age and it was like having extra siblings. We moved from NY when I was a teenager but never forgot the good times I had as a child and all the great friends we had growing up. And even though I had not seen Robert for many years, the pain and ache in my heart is the same as if we’d kept in touch. I wish his family peace and sympathies as we look back to the tragedies of nine years ago.

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