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    « The HRevolution - November 6-7, 2009 | Main | Who knows what around here? »

    In Memorial - Firefighter Thomas Hetzel

    It is a rare breed of man or woman that will willingly, unquestioningly, and courageously place themselves in grave danger to protect and save strangers.

    This quality cannot be 'taught', we can't 'train' people to be brave, we can't use external motivators like money or prestige to inspire this in people.

    The bravest and the most noble among us have this quality as an innate component of their charThomas Hetzelacter.

    Many of the men and women so endowed gravitate towards public service, in the military, or in law enforcement or as firefighters.

    Thomas Hetzel was one such man. Reading through the numerous tributes left for him, clearly tells the story.

    Thomas Hetzel was a member of Ladder Company 13, in Manhattan, and was one of the 343 members of the FDNY who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001.

    Thomas by all accounts was a remarkable man.  A caring and loving husband and father, devoted son, and fast friend.  At 33, he was just at the beginning of the arc of his life, with certainly the expectation of a long and happy life, filled with family and friends. Certainly he was well aware of the inherent risk and danger of his profession, but being the kind of man he was, he shouldered those risks quietly, did his duty, cared for his family, and held up his end of the bargain.

    Men and women do not take on that responsibility because they have to, or even perhaps because they want to.  They take on that incredible burden because they feel compelled.

    Thomas Hetzel was a hero.  To see the chaos, devastation, and turmoil of Ground Zero and to walk in to the abyss, with the only thought being to rescue those already trapped requires courage that is almost incomprehensible.

    Thomas Hetzel, along with 342 other members of the FDNY gave his life that day.  Almost 3,000 people lost their lives at the World Trade Center. But 18,000 people survived, many due to the courage, heroism, and sacrifice of people like Thomas Hetzel.

    My little memorial here is really a poor effort at honoring a hero like Thomas Hetzel.

    As Abraham Lincoln said

    The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here

    I will never forget Thomas Hetzel, and all the men and women that were the heroes of September 11, 2001.



    Note: This post is a part of Project 2,996, a tribute to the victims and heroes of September 11, 2001.


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    • Response
      Wonderful Webpage, Stick to the fantastic job. thnx!
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      Response: JVzoo
      Steve's HR Technology - Journal - In Memorial - Firefighter Thomas Hetzel
    • Response
      It was a really remarkable sacrifice and when we feel proud on this great person but our eyes also get wet with the sorrow of his death.Thomas Hetzel has achieved the title of Firefighter but the sad part of this story is that he has lost his life in that. And ...

    Reader Comments (5)

    Good article, thank you
    If you are interesting 2012 year, by the way, welcome to us :)

    October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEarth

    Thank you for writing this. I agree, Tom was an amazing person and I feel very thankful to have known him. He was a wonderful friend, warm, loving, hilarious, strikingly handsome (this picture does not do him justice!), so much fun to be around. I think of him often, which is what led me to your page today. Having known Tom so well, I can definitely say without hesitation that the world is a lesser place without him in it.

    April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAn old friend

    Hi Jen - thanks so much for taking a moment to share your memories of Tom. I of course did not know him, but through the memories and shared stories of his friends like yourself, I feel like I have just a bit more insight to this remarkable hero. Thanks so much for sharing.

    April 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterSteve

    Tom, I didn;t know you beyond playing Playstation a few times together when Amanda was still a baby, but from what I remember I hoped to grow up to be like you. I hope you and your family finally found a piece of justice today - and you still remain an important figure in my life to this day. We all are honoring you now as much as ever.

    May 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJM

    Goodbye Thomas!

    June 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

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