Page 49 - October 2021
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 “He was between the two towers when they came down,” Or- tiz described. “He lived after several surgeries. His whole thing was keep his message going, remembering those people.”
Lodge 7 members also had the chance to see the New York City skyline. Port Authority PD officers took them on a tour of the harbor in a police boat during sunset, past the Statue of Lib- erty and the Brooklyn Bridge. For O’Brien, seeing Lady Liberty was on her bucket list, and being just a couple of hundred feet away was so breathtaking she shed tears.
“That is the one thing I wanted to see in New York,” O’Brien admitted. “Even from a distance. That’s how American I am. It meant a lot.”
The next morning, O’Brien, Ortiz and Gorman caught an ear- ly flight back to Chicago, while some members visited the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. The more than 70,000 artifacts empha- sized why they had gone the distance from Chicago to NYC. To appreciate. To remember. And to celebrate.
“It was an emotional experience,” DiSanti confessed. “See- ing the relics from the terror attack. Seeing the nearly crushed firetruck was incredible.”
The members also visited the 9/11 Memorial Pools, two re- flecting pools that have a seemingly never-ending flow of water. Brandt tried to stand on the tips of his toes to see the bottom of it, to no avail. Catanzara says looking at the pools makes you reassess how fast your life can change.
“The fact that it’s a reflective pool is pretty accurate,” Catan- zara noted. “It does make you really reflect on life and how frag- ile it can be sometimes.”
On the way home, the members did some reflecting of their own, recounting their favorite moments of the journey to New York City. Some, like O’Brien, thought about what they were do- ing during the 9/11 attacks. She was on maternity leave with a newborn. She couldn’t go across the country 20 years ago, but
she was able to help her colleagues in blue during the momen- tous anniversary.
“Brotherhood crosses all ethnicities and religions,” O’Brien declared. “You are the police and you are brothers and sisters. It was special.”
It was the camaraderie that made this Chicago-NYC crossover so special. And to have it happen while assisting first respond- ers on the 20th anniversary of one of the most important days in American history only accentuated the magic of the weekend.
“One of [Catanzara’s] main goals is increased fraternalism among police officers,” DiSanti disclosed. “And I think this [trailer] and this trip to see our brothers in New York really, re- ally cemented the fraternal bonds that bind all police officers.”
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