Firefighter Ken Haskell lost two brothers on 9/11. At the funeral for one of them, Rep. Peter King took note of his public speaking ability and composure and eventually invited him to be one of his advisers.
He shuttled between the site — where he spent hours putting out fires, picking up body parts and searching for survivors — and his mother's home on Long Island — where there was an ongoing wake for his missing brothers.
Four days after the blast, they found Timmy. Tommy's body was never found.
Ten years later, Haskell is still trying to pull something living out of the wreckage. He has his own private rituals to mark each anniversary of 9/11. He and his oldest son visit ground zero and walk around the site where the planes hit. Wherever they stop, Haskell can recall a memory of something that happened on that spot.
He has found that the best way to remember what happened that day is to rededicate himself to his first career — firefighting. And if that means putting on a coat and tie and taking on another role, then so be it.
Since the attacks, he notes, New York's firefighters have gotten unprecedented equipment and training to ready themselves for what, until 2001, seemed like a distant threat.
"Everything we've gotten since 9/11 — the hazmat training, the chemical training — has been in some way through the federal government," Haskell says. "And so this is a small way of helping to be part of that."
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