Monday, September 11, 2006

2,996 Tribute

Remembering Sgt. Michael Curtin, age 45, killed at the World Trade Centers, 9/11/2001.

September 11, 2001: Sergeant Major Michael Curtin, USMCR (retired after 12 years of active duty), also a sergeant in the New York City Police Department left his home in Medford, New York for another day of doing what he loved, helping people. September 11, 2001 was his wife's, Helga, 40th birthday and he planned to return home to prepare a "nice meal" for her birthday.

Sgt. Michael Curtin was a member of the Harlem-based Emergency Service Unit Truck 2 of the New York City Police Department. He was last heard from that morning when he phoned Helga to wish her a happy birthday.

Sgt. Michael Curtin was familiar with risky operations; a Marine "through and through,"Curtin had served in the Gulf war and was not only one of the first responders to the World Trade Centers, he was also one of the first to respond to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centers and the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.

Passionately devoted to his NYPD work, it has been documented that Curtin was often risking his life to save others. A man who was trapped in a collapsed Harlem building was certain he would have died if it weren't for Curtin: "There are thousands of people in New York City that are still alive because of Mike Curtin, because of who he was, because of what he was, and because of what he was all about. To his country, to his city, to his family, Mike Curtin was a hero and he was one of the best people who ever wore the NYPD uniform." (Kerik, 2004, Gale Group)

After googling Sgt. Michael Curtin for this tribute, there was no doubt, Michael Curtin lived a heroic public life. Documented accolades can be read offered by the New York Police Commissioner, New York City Mayor, and ESU Commissioner. Curtin received posthumously, many awards including the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush. However, the most endearing and lasting tribute comes from his family, for Michael Curtin was their personal hero.

Helga (also a Marine) and Michael met on Christmas Eve 1979 on Parris Island. Twenty two years earlier, Helga was a PFC in the Marine Corps, Mike was a drill instructor. Helga has described her husband as "a rough and tough Marine with a very soft and cuddly side for his girls." An avid sports enthusiast, "Michael seldom sat in front of a television to watch a game. Instead, he would attend as many of his daughter's (Jennifer, Erika and Heather) basketball, field hockey, volleyball, soccer and lacrosse games as he could. [...] Michael was a very involved father, who always encouraged his kids to do whatever they wanted to do."

Their marriage was a special one, "We always worked with one another, and I always bounced my thoughts off of him. We had a genuine respect. I would always turn to him, and now he's not there to turn to. The thing I miss the most about him--is him." (Newsday.com) On September 11, 2001, Michael Curtin made a heroic difference as he entered the World Trade Center on a rescue mission; it must also be noted that each day before that day, Michael Curtin changed the lives of Helga, Jennifer, Erika, Heather, and all who loved him.

Sgt. Michael Curtin's body was recovered from the North side of the dig at Ground Zero March 6, 2002. Major David Anderson walked side by side with Helga Curtin and other recovery workers as they lovingly carried the body of Sgt. Michael Curtin back out of the rubble that he had so willingly entered into only months before. Major David Anderson writes a moving tribute recalling "the story that made Sergeant Major and Marine Corps folk hero, the story of him spotting the red stripe of Capt. Randolph L. Guzman's, USMC, dress-blue trousers in the rubble of the Oklahoma City bombing. He located a group of former Marines and then took approximately seven hours to pull him out as he said, 'we never leave our brothers behind.'" In the early hours of March 6, 2002, in front of "hundreds of proud members of the NYPD, ESU, PAPD, FDNY and Steel Workers," draped under the flag that he loved, the American Flag, Sgt. Michael Curtin, an honored 'brother' not left behind.

September 11, 2001, the day that changed America.....is most importantly the day that changed the lives of the family of Sgt. Michael Curtin forever. It is with the deepest of gratitude and honor that I thank each one of them for sharing such a personal loss so pubicly. While America takes this day to pause and reflect all that 9/11 means to us as a country, may this day also be a small blessing to each of the families who lost a loved one on 9/11/2001. For in the words of Helga Curtin, "What happened on September 11th is something that will be with me for every day of my life, yet, we know somehow we'll pass through it. Time goes on. But it reminds us of the sole appreciation that we've always had for our family, our friends, our community, and our country. He will be missed forever." May our tributes ring simultaneously with the chime of each bell rung this morning in New York, at the Pentagon, at each memorial today; may we always remember the sacrifice paid on 9/11/2001.

46 comments:

T said...

Thanks for sharing that. It is a sad day to remember...

TNChick said...

Sgt. Curtin's family along with the others affected this day 5 years ago are in my prayers. Thank you for taking time to honor this man. He certainly is a hero, to me and many.

I'm honoring FDNY's Peter Beilfeld today.

barbara said...

a special man well remembered. thanks

kaliblue said...

Wonderful Tribute. Thanks for doing this:-).

kpjara said...

That's a wonderful tribute.

Jennifer said...

Thank you. Nice tribute. I honored Frank Joseph Naples

Lori said...

What a wonderful tribute to Sgt. Curtin. Prayers going out to his family and friends he left behind.

Thanks for sharing.

Dawn said...

Beautifully done. Thank you! I didn't get to do one, but Kristen did.

brian said...

I have read many tributes over the last four days and thought I was cried out. I was wrong. Thank you for this moving tribute to a true hero, one that comes around seldom. Thank for sharing his life and love of family. He is an honorable man.

Please stop by to my tribute to Gilbert and leave a link and comment so that others can come here to read.

graymama said...

You did such a wonderful job of honoring Sgt. Curtin and his family.

Thanks for stopping by my tribute to Thomas E. Sinton III.

Nancy said...

Thank you.

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jane said...

What a touching tribute. My heart breaks again for all those who lost loved ones that awful day. You did a wonderful job introducing this hero to us.
Thanks for visiting my tribute. I will never forget Mr. Keane (the person I honored) or any of those lost.
By the way, I love the name of your blog. My oldest son was a prodigal but came back and we were most thankful because just a few months after he came to himself he was killed in the Valujet crash in the Everglades in May 1996.

~Jo said...

Wow. What a man he was! And what a great tribute. Thank you.

Eric said...

Thank you for the wonderful tribute.

I salute Sgt Curtin and admire his service.

Pixiepincessmom said...

What an awesome & courage man Sgt. Michael Curtin was. A true hero in so many ways. Thanks for giving this wonderful man's life a beautiful tribute.

And thanks for reading my tribute & commenting.

Melissa said...

What a lovely tribute. I can't even imagine losing my husband on birthday. Michael sounds like he was a true hero.

Ally Bean said...

very nice. such a good guy. thanks for sharing this.

kateandjona said...

Thank you for sharing a beautiful rememberance.

Jonathon's Closet remembers Robert Levine.

laura said...

that was an especially pwerful tribute. thank you so much for linking the tribute from his fellow marine. that was amazing.

i remembered Giann Gamboa today.

Laury said...

Thank you for making him more to me than a name on a memorial wall.

I honored Jon Schlissel and Susan Clyne.

Jen said...

I wont forget

I pray that Michael's family find comfort through our Lord Jesus

I am honouring Joseph Maffeo

gordaboo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
gordaboo said...

Thank you for such a moving tribute for Sgt. Curtin. What a beautiful man he was. Thank you for letting us put a face and heart to a name.

We will never forget.

I remember Lisa Egan
http://ramblingsofamadpiggie.blogspot.com

Lori said...

Wonderful tribute!

Teena said...

What a lovely tribute! Thank you for honouring Michael.

Thank you for stopping by mine.

Faith said...

Thanks for sharing this story! Wonderful tribute for a hero!

Diane said...

What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing it and for reading my tribute to Rajesh Mirpuri.
Peace.

Babaloo said...

What a phenominal man to honor on this day. You did a wonderful job bringing his memory into the spotlight. Thank you.

PastorMac's Ann said...

What a special man, a hero. What a huge gap he leaves in the lives around him.

Thank you.

eph2810 said...

What a beautiful tribute you have written. Thank you so much for bringing us a little more information about a person who made a difference in many lives and lost his life helping others to be safe.
I can't even imagine how all those families feel, even after 5 years of the tragic event.
I hope that they find peace and comfort that they will meet their loved ones again.

She said...

what a great tribute. He obviously was a very heroic man. Thanks for sharing.

FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

Thanks for sharing us your tribute.
As I continuously keep visiting sites with tribute, it makes my heart bleed for all the victims and brings tears to my eyes as I recall all these young people losing their lives to something beyond their control. These cruel people who caused the tragedy just didn't care about these innocent lives, lives with yet unfulfilled dreams, lives who may have been depended upon by their loved ones. My sympathy goes to all the victims' family of these Sept. 11/2001 tragedy. My heart will always have a special place for all of you.
Thanks for passing by.

Pamela said...

You did a good job bringing a life into perspective.

I'm sorry now that I didn't do a tribute. I have two posts on my blog about the day - but felt that my readership was so small it wouldn't be much of an honor. Now I see it was a link up day - and many would have.

Mark Base said...

A great tribute to a true hero. Very well done.

Thanks for having stopped by to meet Ginger.

Hick said...

Nice tribute.

I watched National Geographic's 911 last night and it made me mad and it made me cry. I wish I understood these kinds of things, but I don't,

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

serendipity said...

It's so sad. Each one of these that I read makes me realise how special the people we love are and that we shouldnt take them for granted as we dont know what will happen tomorrow.

healing hoves said...

thanks for stopping by, and thanks for sharing you post, it was great reading that. Sonja Brooks

Amanda said...

Wow, what a honorable tribute. Thank you for sharing his story. By remembering each and every victim of 9/11, their lives and deaths will never be in vain.

Shalee said...

Oh that was absolutely stunning, Diane. I thank God that the heroes that I remember do not wear capes and fly; my heroes walk this earth, helping others along the way.

ja said...

Semper Fi Michael.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful tribute to a true American hero.

I wrote about Harry Ramos, a man who was killed while comforting a complete stranger. Everyone in Harry's office made it out that day. Harry could have too, but he chose to stay behind and try to help someone he didn't know.

MugwumpMom said...

You did an amazing job on this tribute..thank you. He was a hero indeed.

a.k.a. Blandly Urbane said...

What an incredible man, I can only hope I have a 1000th of his salt.

This is a wonderful tribute, thanks for sharing his strength and dedication to his fellow marines and man in general with us.

Also thanks for visiting Jill's tribute. It means an awful lot to us all I believe to get to know these people if only a little and then to be able to share the wonderful souls we discovered with everyone else.

healing hoves said...

HEY THIS IS SONJA FROM HEALING HOOVES. TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION YES I HAVE READ THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE. THE RECOVERY PROGRAM I GO TO WAS FOUNDED BY RICK WARREN. NEXT YEAR I MAY GET TO GO TO THE SADDLEBACK CHURCH TO VISIT FOR THE CR SEMINAR AND MEET HIM IN PERSON. MY BOOK I WROTE TAKING BACK WHAT MY DARKNESS STOLE IS BASED ON HIS TEACHINGS.......YOU CAN READ MY WHOLE BOOK ON MY BLOG.....THTA IS ALL I POSTED FOR THE FIRST MONTH.....I ALSO ENJOY VISITING YOU........BLESSINGS YSIC SONJA

Laynee said...

I'm also a '2996-er' and wanted to read your tribute - beautiful job.

Spookie the Warrior said...

A beautiful tribute. Thank you...