Several months ago I came upon a site “2996” that was started with the sole intent of recognizing and commemorating, in the form of written tributes, each of the fallen victims and heroes of 9/11. I signed up the same day for this momentous honor.
As the weeks and months passed and 9/11 was quickly approaching, even as late as last week, I was unsure of my own ability, my worthiness, to pen such a tribute. What an incredible honor to speak about one of our fellow Americans following such a tragic event in our history.
I write this tonight in preparation for the flood of memories and tributes that will be written and read for weeks to come; for and of, each one of these 2,996 people on year 5. My prayer is that the words will come and offer a glimpse of one life…while I never actually met him in person; I have his image eternally etched in my heart as I pray for, and remember a life that was taken too soon.
Quilt square 611 of the “United in Memory” project holds a picture of the strong man that lived a life worthy of the honor I write. He was a New York City Fireman. His life was a life of serving and protecting each of us. He offered a bit of hope in despair. He offered certainty in an uncertain world. His name was Ruben David Correa.
In my quest to learn what I could of this hero, I searched and found over 277,000 matches online. Among them, a place where visitors and family still come and write notes to “David”, as he was known among those close to him. He is obviously loved by friends and family and continues to touch many lives beyond his short time on earth.
David Correa was only 44 when he was taken on 9/11. David has a wife and three daughters. He also has grandchildren who will never know first hand the wisdom and wit he carried in life. He was a man of passion, an encourager and comrade among his fellow firefighters.
I would ask each of you that come to this place, no matter why you came, to stop today and pray for David’s family and friends. Pray for their peace and joy to be fully restored. Pray for their souls. Offer a prayer of thanks to God for allowing us to know an earthly angel, a man of love and integrity…a man that would strive for his family, a man that would protect his nation. This is a life that will be remembered and will inspire others for many years to come.
At the Engine 74 Station, behind the Fire trucks is David Correa’s jacket in a place of honor, to remind the other firefighters and visitors that once a life was lived, a price was paid, a man gave his all. While his jacket and helmet now hang unused, his legacy will live on in a spirit of what America was called to defend five years ago…on 9/11.
God bless you Ruben David Correa!