BUFFALO, NY - For Kathleen Lynch, the loss of her younger brother, Michael, is still haunting ten years later. Kathleen along with her daughter, Caroline are working on the memorial held at the American Red Cross in Buffalo to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks that changed everything.
Michael Lynch was just 30 when he died on September 11, 2001. He was a New York City Firefighter working with Engine 40. Michael rushed into the World Trade Towers that awful morning. 12 of the 13 firefighters working with Michael's engine company died on that day. Kathleen told us, "That is what he chose to do. He wanted to be a firefighter more than anything and it must have been difficult but he did what he promised."
The family has video that was captured by a local television news crew that shows Michael entering the tower. After seeing the video, Kathleen held hope that Michael would be found alive, buried in the rubble. Their father, Jack Lynch dug at ground zero every day searching for his son.
Michael's remains were found on March 21, 2002. The medical examiner informed the family that when Michael was found, he was either carrying a woman or shielding her with his coat; their remains were mingled. The woman has never been identified.
On the second anniversary of the attacks, a then much younger Caroline read some of the names of those who died, including her uncle Michael. Caroline remembers that day, "It was special and I was young. But you never really forget." Caroline says she appreciates her uncle much more now and realizes just what a true hero he was.
The Lynch family wants to focus on the good things and remember Michael for the wonderful person he was. They've started a foundation in his honor. The Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation. The foundation provides educational opportunities to the children of firefighters as well as children of other victims of the September 11th attacks. So far they have granted 96 scholarships totalling more than 2.3 million dollars.
The family will head to New York City this weekend. They will attend public events and a private event at Engine 40, where the loss was unbearable. They feel it is where they are supposed to be.
It has been ten years and the Lynch family members have spent a lot of time reflecting. They think of Michael everyday. They remember their hero and carry on his legacy.
Perhaps the words on Michael's headstone say it all: "All of us are asked to live for others. Some of us are asked to die for others."
Michael Lynch is remembered as an ordinary man who did extraordinary things.
For more information on the Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation, visit www.mlynch.org.