Remembering Brett Bailey: Brick Resident, Sept. 11 Victim
Now that 9-11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden is dead, we look back at a man who loved the ocean
For months, the pile was still smoldering. The signs looking for the missing still hung, even though there was no hope.
At home, all we could do was just worry and wait, hoping somebody would emerge from the "pile," and say that they were safe and alive.
No one ever came out. No one, not even Brett Bailey, a Brick resident who was a lifeguard turned broker.
Lifeguards know something about survival and saving others. But so many like Brett couldn't withstand the planes, the burning fuel, the collapsing towers and the dust that spread through New York City blocks.
As a reporter, I rode with troops to and from Afghanistan. I sat with National Guard men and women who saw Taliban missiles float by their planes. I listened to them say that the missiles didn't matter. Only justice did.
More than anything, however, Osama Bin Laden's death brings the memories of 3,000 innocent victims to the fore. Many were like Brett Bailey who went to work on a warm day, expecting it to be any other day in early September.
They went to work on a beautiful, warm day, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. It was a beautiful day, probably like the many Brett saw himself, and enjoyed for himself as a lifeguard along New Jersey's beaches.
In the end, they never came home, never knowing that two jets would plow into New York's tallest buildings, changing the skyline and, ultimately, the world forever.
That day, for Brett and so many others and their families, the sunny day went black.
Here is the New York Times version of Bailey's story: http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/met_MISSING_1120_bailey.html.