A Tribute to My Hero Fireman

How firefighter Patrick Brown, who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11, touched the hearts and minds of so many people.

Captain Patrick Brown died on 9/11, surrounded by burn victims he hoped to evacuate from the Trade Center’s north tower. A legend long before then, he had been on


and in


and the

NY Times Sunday Magazine

, to name just a few. Although he was exceedingly modest, the media loved him, especially in those instances when he put the possibility of saving a life above the imperative of playing by the rules. For instance, a fixed anchor could not be found during one famous rooftop rope rescue, so "Paddy" held the rope in his own bare hands while another firefighter climbed down to rescue the victim—who was ready to jump—from the window below.


Paddy touched the minds and hearts of all sorts of people, people who didn't even know he was a firefighter. And after he died, his former fiancée, Sharon Watts, collected some of their stories and braided them together with her own story of knowing and loving Pat Brown. Here are a few excerpts from her book,

Miss You, Pat.

I first heard about him in

Yoga Journal


. Accompanying the article was a beautiful photo of him wearing leggings and an FDNY tank top with his hands in prayer position. I could tell that this man had a story to tell. What had those eyes seen or that body endured that could only be imagined by me?


Upon reading the article, I learned of the former Marine, Vietnam vet, and most-decorated NY fire captain. Pretty hairy-chested stuff to be sure—but then I read about the man who cried the first time he chanted in a yoga class, who went on to describe how yoga helped him emotionally and spiritually. It occurred to me that this man had found the balance that all men strive for or struggle with—that of acknowledging their aggressive sides with their emotional, spiritual sides, then blending the two into a unified whole in service to others.

–Kirk Kupensky, yoga teacher

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Sharon Watts
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