Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Remembering Family This September 11th.

We, in the gay community, often times use the term "family" to describe one another. On this, the 10th. anniversary of the tragic terror attack to befall the United States, many names of family members will be read in ceremonies across the country. Let me tell you of a few of my "family" members. Just to keep their memories alive. To honor them. To uplift and keep in our hearts their spouses.

First and foremost, Father Mychal Judge. Father Mychal was the Catholic Chaplin of the NYFD. He was killed while ministering to a fallen firefighter. His helmet was given o the Pope. He was also the Grand Marshal {in spirit} of the 2002 Chicago St. Patricks Day Parade.

Mark Bingham {31}, a passenger on Flight 93. One of the passengers who tried to take back the aircraft. Mark was a member of the Gay Rugby League. On a taped cell phone message to his mother, Mark knew what was happening. He told his mother what was planned. September 16th. is officially Mark Bingham Day in San Francisco. The Gay Rugby League has started the Bingham Cup championships in his honor.

Carol Flynik {40}, American Flight 11. Survived by her partner of 13 years, Nancy Walsh.

David Charlebois, Co-Pilot of American Flight 77 which crashed into the Pentagon. Survived by his partner of nearly 13 years, Tom Hay.

Graham Berkeley {37}, killed on United Flight 175.

Pamela Boyce {43}, worked on the 92 floor of One World Trade Center. Survived by partner, Catherine Anello.

Ronald Gamboa {33} and partner Dan Brandhorst on United Flight 175. Also on board, their 3 year old adopted son, David.

James Joe Ferguson {39}, Director of Photograhy Education for the National Geographic Society on American Flight 77.

Jeffrey Collman, flight attendent on American Flight 11. Survived by partner of 11 years, Keith Brackowski.

John Keohane, was standing on the streets with partner of 17 years, Mark Lyons. Was talking on cell phone with his mother when he thought another plane had hit the tower. Tragically, it was Tower One collapsing. although Mark Lyons survived his injuries, he was to die of suicide on March 1st. 2002.

Wesley Mercer {70}, Security Personnel for Morgan Stanley. Rushed to the 44th. floor to supervise evacuations.Went back up to make sure all were evacuted. {Please note this was all done without the use of elevators}. Survived by partner of 26 years, Bill Randolph.

Sela Hein {51}, worked in he Pentagon for the U.S.Army's Management and Budget office. Survived by partner of 18 years, Peggy Neff.

Luke Dudek {50}, Food and Beverage controller for Windows on the World, a resturant at top of tower. This was his first day back to work after a week's vacation. He spent it renovating his partner of 20 years, George Cuellars, floral shop.

It was said by Edgar Rodriquez of the NYPD "As the days went by, we learned that some of the missing rescue personnel were gay, and that many of their lovers, some of whom are cops and firefighters, were grieving in silence for fear of outing them. Their were also gay cops and firefighters that lost family members that were rescue personnel. We learned too quickly and in too cruel a way that the closet is a terrible place to grieve".

Well said sir, well said.

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