“The day you adopted me was the first best day of my life, but every day after that was even better. I miss you with every wag of my tail — 14 years is far too long, and yet it seems like just yesterday…” — your loyal and faithful dog
It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen you. I miss playing catch with you, lying on the couch together, and sleeping by your feet during dinner. All of the trips to new places — all of the sights and smells!– they’ve stopped since you left.
The family is all grown up now, and I’m a lot older too. My eyesight isn’t as good, but I can still make my way here to lie by your side just like we used to. I know you’re still here with me. I saw them when they lowered your box into the ground — it was draped with a flag. Everybody was crying.
I still remember the day you left. I remember hearing the phone ring, and watching you grab your FDNY jacket and hurry out the door. You patted me on the head and told me you’d be back soon; you said you were sorry that we wouldn’t be able to go on our morning walk. You told me to be a good boy.
I heard a lot of sirens, master. So many that the little ones couldn’t even count them. And I could smell something strange in the air — it burned my sensitive nose and made me want to hide in the house.
You called every day to check on us, sometimes while the family was sleeping. I recognized your voice, even though you sounded tired.
I slept in your bed, master. I wanted to keep the lady human safe; she would cry into my fur sometimes but she wouldn’t tell me why. I could tell how sad she was, but she never showed the little ones her tears. Only me.
Then one day you stopped calling and I could tell that something was wrong. The lady human didn’t let on, but I knew. Then one day three men showed up — the ones we would always watch football with. Remember how we would relax in the big armchair together and you would feed me those crunchy triangles?
But they didn’t come over to pal around like they normally do. They sat on the sleeping couch, but they didn’t turn on the TV.
They said something about a fire. They said something about a collapse. They said that you were brave.
I try to be brave just like you, master.
The little ones aren’t little anymore, but I always make sure they get out the door safely. I help them wake up on time too, just like you would if you were here. I help the lady human cook sometimes and I still scare off all the intruders, no matter how scary they may seem, because I want to keep the family safe. I know you would want me to.
I’m trying my best to be a good boy, master, just like you told me to. So you don’t have to worry. I’ll take care of the family until you come home, and then we’ll go on our walk. Today, I’m going to lay here with you by these wilted flowers and wait, that way you know just where to find me.
That’s what best friends are for.
Throughout United States history, thousands of American heroes have served to protect and defend our country in a variety of ways. Today, and every day, we honor their memories, their sacrifices, their dedication, and their loved ones.
As a recent moment particularly fraught with human vulnerability, uncertainty, and triumph, September 11, 2001 is a day that is forever scarred in the memory of every American who experienced or witnessed the tragic losses in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia during the horrific terrorist attacks on our soil. But through the bravery demonstrated by countless volunteers and service men and women, something far greater revealed itself: Courage. Hope. Perseverance. Unity.
The devastating impact of that day can never be fully measured nor put into words, but on the anniversary of that tragic day and in memory of the days that came before it, we look back with honor upon those who lost or gave their lives in the aftermath. Here at KirinGie.Me, we also recognize the incredible dedication of the rescue animals who assisted their human teammates as they too sought to find and save citizens in need — the 300-dog unit at Ground Zero was in fact the greatest canine mobilization force in US history. They went where it was impossible for humans to go, and rescued those who may not otherwise have been found.
Our greatest wish is that every animal, just like the one in this story, is blessed with a forever family to love and be loved by. Thousands of pets were rescued by their owners as they fled the disaster, but in the days following 9/11, thousands more were relegated to shelters — lost, unclaimed, homeless, and displaced.