Category - Patriotism

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Reflections
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Firefighter Robert Parro

Reflections

riderless-horse.jpgWe have been blessedly untouched by the fatalities from the war in Iraq. Yesterday, we found out that someone we knew had been killed in the Blackhawk crash on January 20th. He wasn’t really a friend, not even an acquaintance. Not a co-worker or a neighbor. He was the commander of the hospital in Yongsan, South Korea when our Rebecca died.

While the rest of the hospital gave us the run around, passed the buck and otherwise treated us quite poorly, COL Brain Allgood did the opposite. He invited us to sit down and talk with him personally about all that had happened. He made sure we were kept informed throughout the investigation. He told us to call him if we needed anything. In many ways, he was just doing his job, but in those darkest weeks of our lives, he showed us a compassion that was lacking in the lower levels of the hospital administration. A few months later, when a good friend’s daughter needed emergency surgery and blood transfusions to save her life, COL Allgood was again the voice of calm and comfort. He went out of his way to make sure that things were handled correctly.

Our remaining time in Korea without Becca was a series of struggles with the hospital. We did have to call COL Allgood for help and he immediately fixed the situation. I don’t know much about him, other that he leaves a wife and a young son. If we had ever seen him again, I knew I would thank him for all that he had done for us in Korea. So in some way, by writing this all in my blog, I am able to thank him now.

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.

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