Sep 11 2006

Paul Laszczynski, 9-11 Hero

Published by at 11:10 pm under All General Discussions

This Post Will Stay At The Top Through 9-11

The 2996 Project is a blogosphere memorial, conceived by D.Challener Roe, where each victim of 9-11 is remembered by a blogger to mark the five year anniversary of that fateful day. Most bloggers were randomly linked to the 9-11 hero they would be memorializing, allowing fate to make the connection between two lives, between blogger and hero. I am honored (and humbled) to present one of those heros of 9-11, Paul Laszczynski, a member of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

From what I have learned about Paul Laszczynski he was obviously a free and powerful spirit. At 6’5″ and 240 pounds he must have been a formidable presence in life – a strong and confident person. Paul Laszczynski was one of those rare people who experienced both attacks on the World Trade Center. He earned a commendation for helping a disabled man escape the first WTC attack in 1993 by carrying him down over 70 flights of stairs. As he did in 1993, Paul Laszczynski went into the maelstrom surrounding the WTC complex on 9-11 to save people, probably with little concern for his own safety. He was last heard from that day attempting to help people in the Lobby of the North Tower of the WTC. Paul and 6 other Port Authority officers were found in the Lobby of the North tower along with the woman they were trying to rescue.

From the Long Island news outlet Newsday I learned that Paul was “a member of the Emergency Service Unit, [where] Laszczynski was accustomed to rappelling down elevator shafts, scaling the George Washington Bridge to talk down would-be jumpers, and pulling people from burning buildings”. Paul’s heroism was clearly an element of his soul because 9-11 was not his first act of courage – not by a long shot.

What impressed me about this man as I researched his life is the consistent pattern of a caring human being combined with a wild spirit. Paul Laszczynski and I share some common interests, among them motorcyles. To ride a motorcycle is to risk personal danger on the roads in order to experience a freedom and euphoria that cannot be explained. And Paul Laszczynski never gave up the ride on his turqoiuse Harley Davidson Wide Glide. He was a member of the International Renegade Pigs, a biker club for law enforcement members which also raises money for children’s charities. Paul was known as “Axe” to his fellow Pigs, a name that illustrated the wild-man side of this American hero.

Paul and I were born not too far apart it seems. I was born in Alexandria, VA and Paul hails from Baltimore, MD. Again from Newsday I learned Paul grew up in Jersey City. He graduated from Lincoln High School and Jersey City State College, where he played tight end on the football teams at both schools. He even tried out for NY City’s two NFL teams. The fact Paul enjoyed the physical competitiveness of football is another sign of what kind of spirit burned inside this man.

But there was another side of the man that can only be expressed in the words of his family. Paul’s former wife, Karen Walker of Wayne, N.J, said this to explain what drove Paul Laszczynski: “He just always wanted to become a police officer, he liked the idea of helping people and making a difference in their lives.” Apparently the wild man had a vision of public service in one of the most dangerous jobs out there. Fortunately for those of us who want to know more about this man, his family and friends left messages on memorial sites that convey the essence of this man’s life. His daughter Jennifer had this to say a year after 9-11:

Well Daddy it’s been a little over a year now, and as time goes by, the shock starts to disappear. You would that it might be a good thing, but it’s not. After the shock becomes the reality that you are really gone.

More important than not forgetting the events of September 11th is not forgetting YOU and the moments that our family has shared. From family parties and softball games to birthdays and graduations, we always knew that you would be by our side, providing whatever love and support that you could offer.

Times have changed, and we can no longer be with you. But there is no doubt in our minds that you aren’t watching over us. There isn’t a day that goes by that i don’t think about you, or even an hour for that matter.

We will live our lives in the love and happy memories that you have instilled in us. It is my promise to never forget the precious times that we shared-I hold them very close to my heart, and share them with only the lucky.

I am proud to call you my father, and i know that both Amy and I will forever be in the arms of an angel.

Paul had two daughters, Amy and Jennifer. And it seems he left a deep and lasting impression on everyone’s life he touched. I found this tribute to be especially enlightenging in how it told the history of Paul’s life:

I remember the times you drove me to kindergarten..and all the other grades after. You have been a part of this family for 35 years, and will remain forever. Thank God we have your adoring girls, Amy and Jen who are like you in so many ways.

His latest love of his life was Charlene Talarico, who has left many messages to Paul on memorial sites. This tribute by Charlene sums up the deep feelings Paul engendered in the people in his life

There aren’t enough words to express how deeply we miss you!!! Not a day goes by that you’re not in our thoughts…Harley and Max are always looking for you!!! I wake up some nights and think this is just a horrible nightmare..then I reach out and you’re not there…Oh, how I hate that you are gone!!!!

We will never forget you and you will always be in our hearts and minds!!!

One man can touch many lives in many ways. And clearly Paul Laszczynski touched everyone he knew deeply. He was a wild spirit who took on all challenges, but always had an eye to help people in need. He showed that combination of spirited compassion in many deeds of heroism throughout his career. He fought to save people from the first terrorist attack on American soil in 1993, and then ran to the ramparts again in 2001, representing the best of America – and humanity. He sacrificed himself for others, and there is no higher act of heroism. It has been an honor and an uplifting experience to learn more about Paul Laszczynski – a husband, father, companion, law enforcement officer and, yes, Pig. A man whose life is a role model for all of us who still strive to be all we can, to be a positive force in this world. With all the darkness and evil that we face it is heartening to find such a brilliant light, such a meaningful life.

I hope those who knew Paul will be willing to share more about this man in the comments section. I found myself wanting to learn as much as possible once I saw Paul as the unsung hero he was. Please be patient, first time commentors get kicked to me for initial confirmation, so there will be delays before the comments show up. But it would be a better tribute to Paul if those who knew him could share with all of us how this man lived.

You can find all 2,996 (plus) tributes here as they begin to be published for this amazing blogosphere event. This might go down in the history books as a seminal event.


Tributes from friends and family at Port Authority Memorial site
Newsday Memorial
Officer Down Memorial Page
Renegade Pigs Memorial
North Jersey news article
Port Authority Police Benevolent Association
Port Authority Police Memorial
Legacy Guestbook [note there are two pages of tributes]
New Jersey Cops

Update: I am linking to Michelle Malkin’s tribute because I know her site will expose Paul’s tribute (and those who linked their tributes to Paul’s) the most exposure. All the tributes I have read have been amazing.

16 responses so far

16 Responses to “Paul Laszczynski, 9-11 Hero”

  1. Endurion says:

    This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    — Jesus Christ, The Gospel of John 15:12-13)

    Thank God for Love.

  2. carol johnson says:

    Thanks AJ,

    Paul looks just like my brother, which brings it home to me in a way that’s personal. These aren’t just someone else’s brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers…they are US!

    We shall remember them with love and prayers.

    Carol Johnson

  3. Sue says:

    What struck me about the rescue workers was their unselfishness in doing their jobs. And they do this, day in and day out, for very little pay.

    Having lost my father a few years ago, to illness, and not unexepectedly, I can understand the feelings his children had when the shock wore off, to a degree. An overwhelming grief knowing you can’t call Daddy and ask his advice or Daddy calling and hearing him say ‘is that you? this is me.’ while my eyes are rolling in their sockets at the corniness of that remark. The things you miss about them is what amazes you.

    May God Bless his family and may they forever keep his memory warm in their hearts. And may we all keep them in our own hearts. Never forget!

  4. Large in Life…

    Like Sissy Willis, AJ Strata is also part of the 2996 Project, in which each casualty of 9/11 is individually memorialized. Strata presents the life of of 6’5″ 240-pound Paul Laszczynski, a member of the Port Authority of New York……

  5. Sissy Willis says:

    Wonderful and personal. I hope your tribute will be a comfort to his loved ones.

  6. kathie says:

    Thank you AJ-Kathie

  7. JoanneEck says:

    AJ, thank you for such a wonderful tribute to Paul. I hope his loved ones read it and are comforted by it.

  8. buckblog says:

    What I found is that as I researched my tribute is that a bond formed. By the time I finished I felt as if I knew him. It looks like the same thing happened to you and the many others I have read.

  9. Urban Scrawl says:

    tribute to 911 victim stephen russell…

    As mentioned in an earlier entry, the 2,996 Project is a simple but powerful project aimed to create a special tribute for each victim of 9/11, with each tribute being created by a different blogger. I am proud to……

  10. Sensible Mom says:

    In Honor Of Thomas Fitzpatrick…

    Thomas Fitzpatrick was 35 years old when he was killed in the World Trade Center leaving his wife, Marianne, son, Brendan, and daughter, Caralyn. On September 26, 2001, The Journal News, wrote the following about him. Marianne and Thomas Fitzpatrick…

  11. The 2996 Project: Remembering Ivan Vale…

    The 2996 Project is a blogosphere memorial, conceived by D.Challener Roe, where each victim of September 11 is remembered by a writer to mark the five year anniversary of that infamous day. Apparently, most bloggers were randomly linked to the Septem…..

  12. 2996 – Remembering Aram Iskendarian…

    I am proud to be a part of The 2996 Project, a blogosphere memorial to every single victim who died that terrible day. Bloggers were randomly linked to a 9-11 hero that they would then memorialize.
    I am honored to present my memorial to Aram Iskendari…

  13. Neil Dollard — Hoboken, NJ — WTC-1…

    Today, on the 5th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, 2,996 bloggers are remembering the victims who died that day. Instead of focusing on the perpetrators we are remembering the individuals who lost their lives that day.


  14. […] the great idea for bloggers to research and post on one of the victims of 9-11. MY assignment was Paul Laszczynski, a NYC Port Authority officer. It was a challenging and humbling experience to try and give a […]

  15. […] Crab Boulevard — Cynthia Giugliano Right Truth — Lee Adler The Strata-Sphere — Paul Laszczynski Michelle Malkin — Giovanna […]

  16. […] The Strata-Sphere – Paul Laszczynski […]