Yesterday I had the honor and pleasure of attending a very special ceremony. My friend Larry Provost was honored for his brave work at Ground Zero following the September 11 terrorist attacks, along with 12 other Army members. It was held on Greenwich Street, right at the base of 7 World Trade Center, directly across from the site.
Larry was awarded The Department of the Army Certificate, and other members were awarded the Army Commendation Medal by Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. Larry was one of those first responders who went to the World Trade Center right after the attacks, and did a lot of brave work, along with thousands of other courageous people. It took nearly six years to honor them, but I'm glad to see him and the others get such official recognition. Afterwards, there was a nice luncheon for everyone involved at the Millennium Hilton on Church Street.
Larry is one of those great people who came into my life because of the terrorist attacks, and whom I probably would never have met under better circumstances.
Back in 2004, I sent a package to the troops serving in Iraq, through the WTC support group I belong to. It included things for the children of Iraq, like candy, pencils and other things. But the troops there also requested photos from people sending packages who lost a loved one in the terror attacks. So I sent along a photo of my friend Joyce, as well as the poem I wrote in her memory.
I got back a very nice email from Larry, who thanked for sending the package to them. We began swapping emails, and I found out that he was from upstate New York, and he was a big Yankees fan. Despite that, we got on well, and I also found out that he had also done a tour in Afghanistan and was at the WTC after the September 11 attacks. He returned to the States in 2005, and we met for the first time. Larry and I have been together at the remembrances at Ground Zero in both 2005 and 2006.
He wrote a great piece a few years ago on the IAVA web site (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) about his service in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the World Trade Center. It's definitely worth taking the time to read:
Larry's one of the good guys, and it has been a blessing for me to know him, and to be with him and his family yesterday. Larry and his 12 colleagues are true American heroes, and their courage and sacrifice will never be forgotten.