Yesterday, the 20th anniverary of September 11th, I was reading blogs and putting together my own thoughts. By chance I read My OBT (One Best Thing), written by Donna, who posts one thing each day that she finds beautiful.
I confess I don’t read her blog every day, but if the title catches my attention I will.
The title of her post yesterday was “Homecoming” and it was essentially a link to a post written in 2019 by John Fox, a New York City Police Transit Chief, describing the homecoming of his nephew, firefighter Michael Roberts, who was killed on that fateful day.
I read Chief Fox’s account of the way Michael’s body was found on the day before his memorial service, and how the firefighter community brought him home. It’s a heartwarming, heart wrenching piece.
Then I finished up my own post, struggling with the words, realizing that I had nothing more profound to say, and linking back to my own post about a visit we made to the Memorial and the Freedom Tower five years ago. While I was linking to that old post I flipped through it’s images.
And suddenly stopped breathing.
Because there, in my photos, images taken years ago, was Michael Roberts.
Maybe there was more than one Michael Roberts killed that day. But I choose to believe that the Michael Roberts I photographed that hot July day back in 2016 is the same Michael Roberts I read about on the 20th anniversary of his death.
And somehow, even in the midst of sadness I had to smile.
Edit: I did some research on Michael Roberts the rookie firefighter that died on September 11. His middle name was Edward. He was born July 15, the day we were at the memorial. Hence the white rose. This was definitely the same young man I read about yesterday.