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Paul was one of the few people I met at Binghamton whose smile could light up your life. The innocence, hope, confidence, and humanity behind his smile often made me take chances that I wouldn’t have thought to before. "Relax, Fallon" I heard over and over again whenever I spoke to him. Destined to make a difference, Paul selflessly attempted to make me realize that life is too short to worry or not to take risks. He knew it long before this tragedy. He listened to people. He cared, and I know he continues to do so.

I was one of the success stories. Working at 1 World Financial Center, my normal Tuesday morning consisted of getting to the Trade Center early enough to shop at the farmer’s market before work. It was September, time for some great tomatoes. Maybe I would make a nice tomato sauce this week. 8:45 am, the time I usually would arrive. Decided to go vote before work at the last minute. Voting booth problems, stalled even more. Guardian Angels I would have to say. Got on the bus at 8:50 just to be turned around saying there was a problem at the Trade Center. No idea of the nightmare that was about to unravel. Thought for a second how happy I was not to have to go to work. A thought that I’m still ashamed of, but none of us expected to see what we were all going to be dealing with.

Back at my house, I went to send a voice mail to my boss letting him know that I was home. Still not understanding what was going on. 4 new voice mails, crying mother and father, weeping boyfriend, sisters. Turned on the TV as I called my mom. Just in time to see what had happened and then to see the unimaginable, 2 WTC fall. This can’t be real, this can’t be real. People running, screaming, what can be so bad inside that anyone would jump from the top floors of the trade center. The horror. One fell next, all hope gone, weeping, weeping, in disbelief.

First thoughts were of the people I worked with, my friend who lives in Battery Park City, the man who I buy fruit from every day on Liberty Street who hugs me when I don’t see him for a couple of days, the firefighters that I pass on my walk to work every day, all the endless possibilities of loss in my life. The guilt came in as well…"I should’ve been there" I thought over and over again. The beautiful buildings that I looked up at with amazement every single day. The buildings that I purposely schedule office space to look out at, to get that feeling of amazement and wonder as I work away at my daily tasks. The skyline that can make anyone smile and guides you through New York City. The neighborhood that makes me happy every day, the Winter Garden and its almost ridiculous palm trees, all the shining beauty, sculpted lawns, flowers, symbols of life, not only power and financial might as so many believe.

Then I thought of Paul. No it can’t be. The infamous first plane striking in the 90s, Paul at work early as usual on the 100th floor. He has to be ok, he was probably late. Thinking of his smile, hearing his voice over and over again…"Fallon!"…the look in his eyes when he spoke to you, to show he was listening. Then the stories of missing loved ones began, Marsh and McClennan mentioned again and again, the nightmare began again. Confirmed his whereabouts by checking an email I received from him letting me know that we should definitely go to lunch since we work right across the street from each other. I should’ve went to lunch, too many busy days that I wish I could relive to experience all the precious moments of life. Now I know.

Sent e-mails to Paul’s work email, then all his public e-mail addresses as well. "Please let me know that you are ok"…no response. Not like Paul. He was never one to hide. Then the roller-coaster began…he’s alive I cheered as I read his name with a message "I’m ok" on a website. All the other sources confirmed the opposite, but I knew Paul was ok, he had to be. So many others thought and still hope for the same outcomes. Couldn’t wait to hug him and let him know how much I appreciated him. To go to lunch. Then an email confirming my worst fears arrived. Called for missing persons to confirm this fear. Hope dwindling each moment that passes.

"Why?"…a question that at first seemed like it could never be answered. Only the good die young is always heard, but not like this. No one should die like this. Then God cries on New York City, temperature drops, cold is in the air. Each day is more and more beautiful, yet more and more tragic. Numb to the world, yet feeling more than ever.

Then it was time to say goodbye. Told Paul how much of a pleasure it was to know him and how much he helped me get through school. How much his smile and compassion meant to me and all who he surrounded. Gathered up the pictures from graduation of us hugging, his business card with the fateful floor and company name on it. Remembered him playing with my boyfriend’s two-year old niece at the Honors Program breakfast and her being in awe of him, she saw in him what we all still do. The last time I spoke to him on the subway. Yelled that he should have went to Price Waterhouse, but knew that he loved Marsh and all that he did. A company whose name I heard over and over again, knowing that he was with people he cared deeply about when he was taken from us. Then I cried, and cried, and choked on my tears, cried myself to sleep. I can’t help seeing his face, and feeling the pain that he must have felt in his last moments. I think we all are haunted by this forever.

Joined the Marsh message board and posted a message looking for any information about Paul. Within a couple of hours I received 3 e-mails from a former co-worker, and 2 friends. They miss his spirit and smile too. They’re heartbroken as we all are.

Paul is our angel now. I feel so guilty enjoying life since Tuesday, but I know Paul and I’m sure he’s cheering us on right now, he would be happy to see us living. It was his message while he was alive, and I know his spirit is surrounding us. Paul and all who were lost on Tuesday are our heroes in every sense of the word. I always knew he was special, destined to change the world. He did, and he will continue to be remembered for years and years, part of history. He died to make us live and feel again. Look how we view our friends, family, strangers in the street. We appreciate our police, firefighters, the man who sells fruit on the street corner, everyone. We all know now how much we need each other, and how together we can make the ultimate difference. We know now that all those little things should be appreciated, that life is too short, that we are all just dust in the wind at some point. I have made an effort to let everyone know how much they mean to me, hugging them uncontrollably. Trying to move on, but scared and in awe of what just happened and what is likely to happen. Paul will never be forgotten, he couldn’t be. I’m proud to have known him, and to know that his message in life has been fulfilled with his untimely death. He was just beginning to live, proud of his job, his family, his girlfriend, his life. I will never forget Paul and all that he has done for us. I know now to live, I know now to love, I know now to go to lunch with a friend. I love you Paul, and I will miss you very much, more than words can express. Please continue to watch over us as you always did in the past.


Kristin Fallon


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