On 9/11, I was on the phone with my girlfriend when one of her classmates interrupted to say that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. I flipped on the television and started relaying what I saw. The smoke, the conjecture, the panic and confusion. Then the second plane hit. “Oh my god” was all I could say. Then I said it again and again and again.

The speculation of fear that we all subconsciously held came screaming to the surface. What just happened? What would we do? Where do we go from here?

One group of people who knew exactly what to do was the New York City Police Department. Along with their Fire Department brothers and sisters, they rushed into the chaos, into the smoke and flames with a mission to protect and serve. One of those who rushed in was Officer Walter Weaver. Like so many others that day, Officer Weaver didn’t make it out of World Trade. But his revolver did.

A .38 Smith and Wesson that was recovered, identified by serial number and returned to Officer Weaver’s family. Damaged beyond repair, his family choose to keep it that way. Soon after, they donated the gun along with a picture of Walter and a few of his patches to the National Firearms Museum. There the gun rests in the same condition in which it arrived. A reminder of that fateful day. Of those who fell, who sacrificed, who’s concern for others outweighed any fear they felt for themselves.

So take a moment today. Give those who fell a few seconds of thought and thanks. And if you ever make it to the National Firearms Museum, stop by Freedom’s Doorway to see Weaver’s gun. Give him a second and a nod for giving everything that he could.

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