The 9/11 anniversary coverage contained numerous features about firefighters and those were the stories I paid the most attention to. As I watched programs about these amazing men and women, I had a slow realization that there is a common trait among firefighters that is immediately recognizable. Even though each one is an individual with different physical attributes, ethnicities and genders, there is a certain look they all possess. It’s in their eyes and in their calm demeanor. To me, it is instantly recognizable. My son has that look.
Stories about the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001 have been prominent in the news. Everyone has been reflecting on where they were that day and how these horrors affected them and their loved ones. Even if we didn’t know anyone who died that day, we were still devastated as a nation. I can remember exactly where I was and who told me about the attacks on our country, just as when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 when I was a senior in high school, I can remember exactly where I was when I heard that news. It was another devastating day for country. Casey was 28 years old when our country was attacked on 9/11 and we watched the news that night together, sitting in front of the TV in shock and hearing the stories of the sacrifices of the firefighters. I’m not sure how much that affected his decision to become a firefighter, but I imagine it had its influence on his ultimate choice to change professions. But this is not about our country’s tragedies. This is about my son, a firefighter/EMT.
He has been a full-time firefighter since 2007.He was 35 and just made it in under the wire for the cut off age of 36. He had worked in the family business since graduating from high school, running heavy equipment. It was a job that paid well, but that was about it. It was just a job. He told me when he was taking his training that he wanted to go home at the end of the day feeling that he had made a difference. And he’s certainly doing that now. I’m so proud of him.
He has always been a daredevil, fearless. When he was around 6-7 years old, there was a TV show he watched called Emergency! about Los Angeles county firefighters and EMTs. He loved that show. We bought him a record that played certain episodes of the show. He would go in his room and shut the door and play it over and over again. Maybe on some level he knew then what he wanted to do with his life. I’m so happy for him, that he has found the thing he loves to do in life. And that it gives him the time to do the things that he enjoys, that feed his creative spirit. He rebuilds muscle cars, restores history. He’s one of the most patient people I know and that serves him well in the tedious task of restoring a car from the wheels up, piece by piece.
He certainly has that firefighter aura about him. To me it says, “I’m here and everything is going to be okay.” He is a good person to have around when things get tough. He’s calm, reassuring and supportive, just the right formula to put people at ease when they are frightened or hurting, or both.
He’s an old soul, and we have been around many times together. It’s comforting to know that. That has helped me to let him go and be the person he needs to be in this world. And what a person he is! I believe that parents should lay the groundwork to put their child on solid footing to inhabit this world and then get out of their way and let them Become. I’ve always been able to say that I am proud of him. He has an inner fortitude that has been present since he was a child and had to face some tough physical and emotional challenges from an electrical burn. I have received the great gift of being able to say that I admire Casey for the person he has become. I admire and respect him. I am blessed to be his mother.
Rebekah for the Poplar Grove Muse