Bill Weaver had a son who was about my age, his name was Walter. He stayed on Long Island and got a job in the city. He was a police officer with the NYPD, and he was part of an emergency response team. His job was to rescue people. He was doing that job five years ago today. The last anyone ever saw him, he was going to rescue people trapped in an elevator on the 11th floor of the World Trade Center.
The volunteers who sifted by hand through the rumble that was left after the towers collapsed never found any human remains of Walter Weaver. What they did find was his gun. That's what they gave Bill Weaver to remember his son by. There's no grave except for what is now a cleared sight awaiting a new building. There's a memorial for him in Edinburgh, but as far as I know any memorial in New York is waiting on that new building.
When people talk about what happened five years ago they talk about the buildings, but they only talk about the people in general terms. Nearly three thousand people died. If we think of that number, but we forget the individuals I think we risk reacting the way the terrorists want us to. The terrorists certainly didn't think of them as individuals. What they wanted was a body count, like some high score on a video game. This was no game, these were real people. So every year on this day I will talk about Bill Weaver's son, the son of a man I know. I just hope others do the same for all the rest, so that we can all remember and understand that these were real people, not numbers.