Police Officer Paul Talty


Madison Square Garden was alive with chatter and excitement and I pushed myself into the seat reserved for me. As Paul McCartney sang “Let It Be,” ladies in front of me danced and swayed with the music. They were police or fire widows like me. It had been six weeks since the towers came down, six weeks since Paul kissed me good-bye and walked out the door. One lady turned to her friend and they embraced each other like old friends. Their excitement was electric and I tried to join in with the enthusiasm, but I could not move my body, I could not smile, my foot will not tap to the beat of the music. I stared at the stage and wondered why I was there, as it didn’t feel right to try to have fun.

I thought back to the days before September 11th, and saw Paul coming down the stairs. His shorts are weighed down by a carpenter’s tool belt. His thick brown hair was covered with sawdust, his blue eyes sparkled with excitement, his smile was huge. He turned to me. “The sheetrock is finished!” Grandma Sophie was busy cooking in the kitchen, the room hot from September heat and bubbling eggplant. He kissed Kelly, asleep in the bassinet, and said, “The second floor will be done in a month.”

This morning I walked through the rooms he built for our family, Paul 12, Lauren 10, and Kelly two months, rooms that remain unfinished.

Barbara Talty


Survivors of the Shield • Church Street Station • PO Box 436 • New York • NY • 10008-0436