Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Two Bracelets

As the years passed and I still lived with uncertainty, I looked for a way to honor and remember my dad,  There had never been a funeral or a memorial service, I had only one photo of my dad and the letter he wrote, I had clung to for years, was lost in a fire.  I wanted to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall desperately.,  I wanted to tell my dad, I loved him, missed him and thank him for his sacrifice.  My children were very young and finances were meager so I was unable to travel to the Wall.

This was around 03 or 04 and I had discovered there was a Virtual Vietnam Memorial Wall on the internet, so I decided I could at least view his name. After locating my dads name on the virtual wall I noticed a memorial page where people could posts comments. I started to read the few posts upon my dads page and read Diane Fairben's post about her years of wearing an MIA bracelet bearing my father's name.  She stated how she had grown up in the same small town  just down the street from my dad.  She had worn the bracelet bearing my father's name faithfully for many years.  She sent her thoughts and prayers to our family.  It was a very touching post and I was so moved that  I decided to search for Diane.

  I eventually found Diane on Facebook and sent her a message to thank her for her support of my dad and our family.  After finding Diane, I  was heartbroken to learn that she had lost her son, Keith Fairben on 9/11, he was an EMT Worker at the World Trade Towers in New York:   

Diane and I maintained some contact through Facebook and  despite her tremendous loss she was concerned for me and wished she still had my dads bracelet so she could give to me, but it had been lost many years earlier.  Despite her tremendous loss she showed great concern and empathy for me, which amazed and impressed me.  She asked me if I would like to wear Keith's bracelet and I said "yes" as it would be a great honor to wear this amazing hero's name upon my wrist.  Before Diane was able to send me the bracelet a sequence of incredible events occurred.  A cousin of Keith's called Diane requesting some specific items that belonged to Keith,  Subsequently Diane went searching through many boxes to retrieve the items the cousin had asked for, and suddenly my dads bracelet appeared.  She had not seen it in many years and had no idea where it was or even if she still had it.  Subsequently, Diane sent me both bracelets and I wear them both today with great pride.  I believe some kind of intervention happened that day.

 Keith Fairben is a true American Hero! Diane and I connected  because of our shared loss, and I believe Keith and my father have connected in heaven in the special place held for heroes.

The following is the story of Keith Fairben:

The following was written by: Jamie Talan and published in New York NewsDay

As firefighters are praised and mourned for their work during the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center, Kenneth Fairben, a volunteer firefighter for 32 years, quietly and painfully says prayers for the emergency medical technicians who also play an important role in the search and recovery effort.
One of them is his own son, Keith.
Keith Fairben, 24, responded to the call minutes after the first plane hit. He hasn't been heard from since the towers fell.
Ken and Diane Fairben have lost their only child, a young man with a penchant for saving lives. In May, he completed an 11-month EMT program at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. He had been working for four years as a medic at New York Presbyterian Hospital in upper Manhattan.
Also missing is his partner, Mario Santoro and another part-time worker from the hospital.
Today, the Fairbens and Presbyterian Hospital's chief operating officer, Dr. Herbert Pardes, will ring the 9:30 a.m. opening bell at NASDAQ as a symbol of the hard work and lost lives of the hospital's EMS workers. "These were the greatest guys," Pardes said. "They were committed to saving people."
"It was Keith's love and passion," said his father, who called him on his cell phone at 9:10, minutes after he heard about the plane crash. "I knew he would be there," he said. The 6-foot-3, 240 pound medic loved helping people, he added.
He wasn't surprised when his son answered the phone and said: "Dad, I'm really busy. I'm at the World Trade Center. I can't talk now."
Be safe, his father said. "Call us later."
By 5 o'clock that evening, Fairben called his son's dispatcher and asked how everything was going. "Keith and Mario are missing," he was told. "They found their ambulance. But they were not there."
Mario Santoro has a wife and 2-year-old daughter. Fairben and his partner had been riding together for four months. Keith, who lived with his parents in Floral Park, was also a volunteer firefighter.
Last Thursday, Ken Fairben and his fellow firefighters drove into the city to help in the efforts. They spent seven hours digging in the rubble. "I went in expecting to bring Keith home," Fairben said yesterday. "The toughest thing was turning around after seven hours and walking away."
The hospital also lost seven of the nine ambulances that responded to the scene, and two command vehicles. Jack Delaney, director of emergency services for New York Presbyterian, said that the hospital had dispatched about 30 medics that morning. Ironically, one of the two ambulances spared in the attack had been manned by the two missing emergency medical technicians. "We were all caught in the collapse of the buildings," Delaney said.
The entire unit - and the entire hospital - is in mourning.
On Tuesday, 1,200 volunteer firefighters, EMS workers, hospital workers, and family and friends of the lost medical technicians met for a memorial service in Manhattan. They walked from the heliport on 60th Street to the boat basin in Central Park.
"Keith's parents are incredible," said Delaney. The staff wanted to meet them last week, and Fairben told them that this is where his son wanted to be.
"I know that when they find him, he will be with someone. He wouldn't abandon anyone," Fairben said.
Two weeks ago, Keith arrived home to find his uncle in the throes of a ruptured aorta. He recognized the signs and immediately began life-saving treatment. Unfortunately, he didn't make it through. He was devastated, his father recalls. "It's God's hand," he told his son.
Now, he takes those words to heart. "We are realistic. I know that he wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else."
Jamie Talan (Newsday Today)

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