There’s no doubt that the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, had a deep impact on millions of people around the world. But one of the most amazing things about that day was that even in the midst of tremendous loss and chaos, so many stories of hope and love were born.
The events that transpired that day remind me of something Joseph said to his brothers after they ruthlessly sold him into slavery. In Genesis 50:20 he said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”
One story of good that has come from the tragedies of that day actually came to fruition 17 years later.
Jillian Suarez was only 9 years old when her father, an NYPD officer, heroically died while saving as many lives as he could from the flaming World Trade Center.
Officer Ramon Suarez, 45, and his partner, Mark Ellis, were posted on the Lower East Side of the city when they heard that two planes had crashed into the buildings. The two police officers didn’t hesitate to respond; they commandeered a taxi and rushed to the scene.
Suarez ran into the north tower three times. He was able to save an asthmatic woman as well as a woman who was seven months pregnant.
He never returned from his third entry into the building; the tower collapsed before he could escape. Ellis also perished that day.
On 9/11, @NYPDTransit District 4 Police Officer Ramon Suarez helped pull victims to safety after the planes struck the buildings. Without hesitation he went back into the chaos to aid more victims. He was ultimately killed when the towers collapsed… pic.twitter.com/dlohmvJfW3
— NYPDCounterterrorism (@NYPDCT) April 27, 2018
Police Commissioner James O’Neill reflected on that day during the most recent NYPD Police Academy graduation ceremony.
“Even now, 17 years later, none of us have completely come to terms with what happened that day, and I don’t think we ever will,” he said.
But this particular graduation ceremony was a reminder of the good that has come as result of the 9/11 attacks. Now-26-year-old Jillian Suarez was sitting among the 249 cops who were graduating that day— wearing her father’s badge number.
Jillian told the New York Post, “I’ve always loved law enforcement, but obviously when my dad had passed away, I realized that I wanted to follow his footsteps, and I want to continue the legacy.”
That’s exactly what she’s doing now.
At her #NYPD graduation on Monday, Police Officer Jillian Suarez took one more step down the path laid out by her heroic cop-dad, Ramon, who gave his life to save others on September 11, 2001. Congratulations Jillian, and thank you. #NeverForget ➡️ https://t.co/WHF7Fvt7xF pic.twitter.com/vlitRibdtJ
— Commissioner O’Neill (@NYPDONeill) October 16, 2018
Jillian’s mother, Carmen, still feels the sting of her late husband’s death and was apprehensive about her daughter’s dreams to enter the same career. Over time, however, she grew to accept and even be proud of her daughter’s ambitions.
“To see my daughter in that uniform wearing his badge with pride, just overwhelms my heart,” Carmen told PIX11.
Jillian hopes to serve the city as faithfully as her father did, knowing that she is always carrying a piece of him with her.
After the emotional ceremony she said, “When the confetti came down, I felt him hugging me.”
“He wore this blue uniform with pride, and I will do the same.”
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