Monday, September 11, 2006

2,996, A Bloggers Tribute To The Victims of 9/11, Thomas Patrick Knox

Hello Blogger Friends! Today we mark the 5 year anniversary of one of the darkest days in our country's recent history. 5 years ago today, the United States started feeling a little less safe, and a lot more apprehensive of the world. On that day though, we also found new Hero's, people who stepped up to the plate when it was all on the line. Hero's for no other fact than their place in history as victims of a tragedy we never expected. Myself and over 2,996 others in the Blogosphere, are paying tribute today to the 2,996 men, women and children who are forever Hero's in time. Each blogger assigned a Hero to write about as we may on this bitter anniversary. You may look up all of the Hero's and bloggers at the 2,996 website, and I am proud to be counted as one of them.



How does one write about a Hero you have never met. How does a small blogger in NE Ohio, pay tribute to a Hero many miles away, with family and friends who are still hurting from the loss? How do friends and family of a Hero listen to words of comfort and praise from someone they have never met, especially one whose lifestyle and values may be very different from their own? I hope the answers to all of these questions are through compassion, empathy, understanding of a collective loss, no matter how loosely connected, and Love. Love of our fellow man. Love of the spirit that resides in all of us who make us who we are. Love to help take away the pain of loss and remorse. Love we extend to one another in time of crisis and need.

I am honored today to write about Thomas Patrick Knox, 31, of New Jersey. It is hard to write about a man whose life was cut short of their true potential, but one who lived so much in the time they were here. How do I know that about a man I never met? Well, I admit this task wasn't easy. There is only so much research you can do on a man who was just living the life the best he knew how. He was not a celebrity, or famous politician, so there were not numerous records of his achievements and accomplishments, but in today's Internet age, there are ways to find some information on almost anyone. As is befitting of a Hero, I found my information on Thomas Knox through tribute websites, made to honor him. And it was my honor to read about the kind of man that Thomas was, to his friends and family, and all who knew him in some way. I just finished reading all 21 pages of THIS dedication site, and it is with swelling tears and a heavy heart, I write about this fallen Hero.



Thomas, (Tommy to his friends,) grew up in the West Orange and eventually Hoboken area's of New Jersey. Born to mom Pat and father Harry, Thomas was 6th child, born after Kathleen, Mary Ellen, Patti, Dennis and Jimmy. They were a very close-knit Irish family that enjoyed a wide circle of friends and relatives. There were lots of highlights throughout the years at the Shilaleah Club and annual St. Patrick's Day parades. He loved sports and excelled at football, golf and rugby. He attended St. Josephs grammar school and was a well loved student at Seton Hall Prep, the oldest, and one of the most prestiges, private college prepatory schools in New Jersey. He was a football standout and was always rooting for the nearby New York Jets, well someone had to, (just kidding Thomas.)

He bartended in his early years, where after waiting patiently, he finally was able to date and eventually marry Nancy, a co-worker and server at Hobsons, where he tended bar. He was a fantastic and well-loved uncle to his neices and nephews, who called him T-Tom. Thomas eventually went to work for Exco, working in the World Trade Center, and was known as steady, calming and vital force, always known for a good laugh, just when it was needed. He passed away alongside many good friends this day in September, and is sorely missed by family, relatives, and friends alike. There was a beautiful memorial service for Thomas in Baskin Ridge, New Jersey, and many still go by to visit him. The Shilaleah Club named "Thomas Knox Boulevard, son of founding father Harry" after him, in memorial. There is a fantastic scholarship memorial fund set up in Thomas's name and there are yearly fund raisers such as the annual Golf Outing. Thomas's wife Nancy is very much involved in the scholarship memorial. Thomas Patrick Know would have been 37 next month.


Those are the "facts" I have learned about Thomas Patrick Knox, but there is much more subtext in those tributes that I read. From all my readings from Thomas's friends, family and aquaintances, I really wish I could have met this fallen Hero. His humor and laugh are mentioned repeatedly, and he was a real rock, able to bring joy and humor to any situation, and having those stories repeated long afterwards. It is a mixed blessing that Thomas's father had passed away a few years before him. There was great love in that Knox family, and as proud as the family is of their fallen brother, I am sure it would have been very devastating for his dad. His mother seems like a real rock in her own right who has been able to handle this great sadness in her life and confront and beat cancer, I am sure the surviving family members are very proud of their mother. There was so much talk of love and laughter around Thomas. Yearly ski outings at Mad River Glen, many Jets tailgate parties, and I want to be friends with a couple whose wife was fondly called "Fancy Pants" by their friends. With a sense of humor that stretched from Chris Farley to Shakes the Clown, according to his friends, I would have loved to meet this special man. I read about a parable said at the memorial of Thomas, likening him to a butterfly, and now family and friends, and even I myself now, think of Thomas when one is dancing by. As we honor these fallen Hero's, five years after our country was forever changed, please join me in saluting a man I have never met, yet I will never forget. Thomas Patrick Knox will be missed forever by family, friends and acquaintances, and I am a little prouder of an American, after learning part of his story. God Bless you Thomas, your family, and your friends as they struggle to get through this fateful day. I am sure you are looking down on them all from heaven, and will have some great stories, that will keep them laughing through eternity, when it is their time to join you.......Scott aka The Gay Guru.



As I mentioned yesterday, there will be no eye candy today, in honor of this solemn occassion in our country's history. God bless all of you Blogger Friends, you are truly appreciated by me for the love and support you have shown over these short 5 months that I have been around on this blogosphere.......GG

4 comments:

Pentha

Sigh....

Tribute to Christopher Paul Slattery

Anonymous

Tommy grew up a few blocks from em. He was several years youinger than I was, but I remember him well. I played football with his brother Dennis and had crushes on his isters. I did not know him well, but did know that he was a good giuy. RIP

The Gay Guru

Great tribute Pentha, and thanx for your thoughts on Tommy anonymous. It has impacted me profoundly.....GG

WAT

Great tribute to this fine gentleman.

I don't know if we can or ever will get over that stupid day.

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