The world changed on September 11th. The lives of countless people were impacted in ways we’re still discovering while wounds of loss still remain as fresh as they were back in 2001.
As families and friends of the nearly 3,000 innocent people who lost their lives that day struggle to carry on, a few bright spots have emerged as reminders that we as human beings and Americans will not be held down or deterred from helping others.
Jillian Suarez had celebrated her ninth birthday just two days before the attacks. Her father, Ramon Suarez, was an officer who lost his life-saving others during the chaos that ensued on the morning of September 11th. Officer Suarez was last seen running back into the North Tower of the World Trade Center after assisting a woman who was unable to walk out of the building. His final resting place, miles from where he was posted that day. “He was on Delancey Street and Essex. He was at his post and he heard the call over the radio. From there he ran to take a taxi. He took a taxi to help others that day,” his daughter Jillian shared back in 2016 with news affiliate PIX11. “It took three months for them to find him and I think it really hit me when my mom had told me that day when they found him that he wasn’t coming home,” Jillian added.
Now almost two decades later, the young girl whose father gave his life in the line of duty has followed in his footsteps to protect and serve. It’s a long way from where she was in the years after losing her father. “For 10 years, I said that he died from a heart attack,” she recalled.
But after remembering her father’s passion for helping others and his love of the career, Jillian decided to apply for the police academy. “I always saw his passion in the job and how he loved wearing that uniform and I want to be able to help others the way he did.”
Last October, Jillian graduated from the Police Academy and was given a shield — the same badge her father wore his many years on the job. It was both an honor and a reminder that her father will always be with her both on the job and off. His spirit of compassion and caring, already deeply ingrained in Jillian’s actions. “If people need me, I’ll drop anything. I don’t care what it is.”
It’s that same mentality that brought her father to the towers that day — the same frame of mind that tens of thousands of emergency service professionals take on each and every day.
Today, and every day, we remember Ramon Suarez and the hundreds of others who gave their lives in the hopes of saving others. We remember the victims of the planes, buildings, and aftermath of the attacks. Most of all, for those who lived through the attacks and those of us watching as they unfolded that day, we remember to never forget.