(Part 1 is here)
Bernard Curtis Brown II was not your average 11 year old. He loved school so very much, every morning he would practically run out of the house to get to school. When Bernard was sick, he would always try acting like he was "all better" so he could attend school.
Not only did Bernard love school and never wanted to stay home from school sick but keeping a clean room was important to him. He always wanted his bed made, clothes ironed, and his room picked up before he left for school. His parents didn't demand this, it was just Bernard.
Bernard was an honor student and as you can imagine he was ecstatic and so proud to have been selected to be part of a trip sponsored by the National Geographic Society. He was so excited to be a part of this wonderful opportunity for school. He was excited to go on his first flight. September 11th was his first and last flight.
Bernard might have lost his life on September 11th but his spirit lives on every single day through his parents, family, friends, community, elementary school, Space Camp Scholarship named in Bernard's honor, and through the thousands of people through out the world who have been inspired by Bernard's love of basketball, school, family, and life. Myself included in the thousands of people. I first learned about Bernard just a few months after September 11th and five years later, I still wake up every single morning thinking about Bernard and his family.
Patrick Mulligan said it best, "Robbed of your time, the world lost your love. Go forward into God's hands, little dude."
(Part 1 is here)
Richard Guadagno, 38, always lived life to it's very fullest. He loved everything from cooking to music, gardening to geology, astronomy to photography. He wasn't scared to try anything. Everything was a possibility for him. Nothing was out of reach. Nothing. He always saw life as exciting and new.
As the Manager of Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, he took his job very seriously, on and off the clock. His passion wouldn't let him do his job any differently. He once chided his mother, Beatrice, not to pick wildflowers as they strolled along a trail in Oregon. He felt it was very important to love and to respect ALL living things.
Richard is being remembered as one of the heroes of Flight 93 as the only law enforcement officer aboard. The terrorists never reached their target, thought to be the White House or Capitol Building. The heroes of Flight 93 saved many lives, but lost their own when the jet crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
"Richard would have been one of the ones to intervene," said Dave Paullin, his supervisor at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Colleagues fondly remember Richard as a dynamic and talented man of many interests including guitar, scuba diving, surfing, botany and photography. He was also a fearless law enforcement professional who one night, armed only with a penlight, subdued a man shooting up signs in a refuge.
Terrorists may have ended Richard Guadagno's life, but not his legacy. The new visitors center at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where he was Refuge Manager, now bears his name — as does the Memorial wall in Washington, D.C.
Richard was a hero in life and in death.
Bernard and Richard, two beautiful souls that still live on. They will never be forgotten.
Please click here to read more tributes to the victims of September 11th.
Click here to listen to the beautiful song, "Where Were You" by Alan Jackson.