Mike Kehoe Like All Firemen And Police Were Heroes On 911
One of the iconic photographs of human courage and determination on that terrible day September 11, 2001 was the photo of Mike Kehoe a fireman with Engine Co. 28 trudging up the stairs as around
people are cascading down the stairs. Bravery and courage so typical of
our first responders.
His helmet bears a 28 burdened
by 100 pounds of gear heading up a panic flight of stairs.
At 20 floors, his eyes are
framed in soot and ash, a deer in a hunter’s headlight stare.
Outnumbered by a cascade of
office horror in downward panic flight.
Most men would have tired, been
brushed away, but not with a 5 alarm inferno to fight.
Was it the training, or the
inner steel of the highest of all noble human traits?
To not abandon crew and total
strangers to a searing, deadly fate.
Not since Operation Typhoon,
have we seen planes driven at targets to explode,
Even then, only against
warriors— who among us could ever fathom such a Bushido Code?
A micro globe of innocents
whose sin was to be at work, bathed in high octane flames,
Desert sand chrysantimumshijacking
a one way ticket passenger laden plane.
How could he or would we ever
have the courage to put ourselves in harm’s way,
Climbing 8 more floors in smoke,
until at 28, the building rumbled and began to sway?
As a parent most of us to a man
would with relish sacrifice all to save his child,
Or to protect a spouse faced
with mortal dangers running near and wild.
But these were strangers, not
neighbors, kin or friends, but with his life and limb in doubt,
What courage to continue
climbing burdened down and fight the urge to flee and get out.
It is said that true heroes in
combat are those not in photos or who never make it home for the victory
Now joined by 343 resting
eternally in fields far and near within the memories of the living, never to
28 could have stopped then and
there at 20 floors and put himself out of danger of deadly harm,
But like true heroes, no
fireman will turn tail and run from the pleading of five alarms.
Those who do not know us, say
America is a soft land with heroes too few and too far between,
At their peril, if they ever
forget the image of 28 trudging up the stairs into danger’s mortal scene.
If the helmet was any number
from ladder 1 to 176 frozen in that famous photo frame,
The courage to climb into
harm’s way to save a stranger’s life and not flee would be exactly the same,
Whether there is an eternal
heaven or an eternal flame, one will never know for sure,
Or whether to avoid the fires,
one’s spirit must be helping, noble and pure,
If there is, be assured 343
firemen of NYFD will hose down daily the streets of paradise,
Sweeping into the gutters of
hell those who would in the name of God cause the innocents’ early demise.
If there is, it is certain that
after 911, no NYFD member would ever be admitted into hell,
For too quickly on earth the brimstone sermons
would end, as the Devil’s damning fires they would quickly quell.
Raised in a small fishing village in Alaska, Petersburg,in the 40's and 50's. Returned in the 60's to fish commercially on purse seiners for six summers. Graduate of Stanford class of 69 with great distinction, Yale Law School class of 72, For many years an experienced, efficient, and creative lawyer and adviser providing venture capital, corporate and transactional legal services to start-ups and emerging private and public companies. Published poet, customized poems for memorable events, creator of Ridley's Believe It Or Not--This Day in History (daily factoids, holidays, quotes and often a short poem), and daily tweets in 140 iambic bytes on news of day and in the process of publishing North to Alaska--Islands of Stability in Seas of Change. Contact me have created a unique customized poem for any memorable event or to impress a loved one networking events. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.octechlaw.com, linkedin.com/in/octechlaw.com, twitter.com/alaskanpoet,