Some relatives on my wife’s side of the family stopped by for a visit this week. One of them didn’t know about my cousin Terry Hatton, who died twelve years ago today after responding to the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. I showed them one of Terry’s uniform shirts that my Aunt Grace sent me after 9/11.
Around this time of year, I look online for mentions of my cousin. I found three things that I had not previously seen. One was an old photograph of Terry with Battalion Chief John Paolillo taken at building fire in Manhattan. The second was a photo on a Facebook, posted on a page that seeks to memorialize a group of CIA employees including the uncle who was Terry’s namesake. The third was an essay on “The Emotional Impact of 9/11 on the FDNY” written by William Groneman III. He described a dream he had about Terry:
In one [dream] I walked down a foreboding New York City street at night. I looked to my right at a dark recessed doorway and saw my friend Terry Hatton, the Captain of Rescue Company 1 who was still missing, step out in full firefighting gear. Stunned by his sudden appearance I said, “Terry, you’re alive?” He looked at me with a sad, sympathetic smile and said, “Billy, you know I’m not alive.” At that another firefighter in gear walked up from the left and spoke quietly to Terry. Their conversation excluded me. They were obviously in a place or a state that I was not. I woke up from the dream at that point, shaken.