8 years have passed.
"Whoever said it gets easier as time goes on lied."
The memories aren't as accessible as they were at first. It's harder to recall exactly how we felt, what thoughts went through our minds as we learned of the tragedy that was unfolding in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania. It's not so hard to remember all the people who lost their lives that day, though. They're impossible to forget.
"For the moment, your husband and father's name is on someone's mind and lips."
Ruben D. Correa, known as 'Dave' to friends and family, died 8 years ago today at the World Trade Center. He was a firefighter with Engine Company 74 in the upper west side of New York, and he gave his life to save another.
"You are an angle, a hero to all, but to me you are just my dad."
He was a husband to Susan, a father to 3 girls named Yvette, Stefanie, and Brittani. He was an uncle, a cousin, a Marine, a friend, a godfather. And he is missed.
"While it still feels like a dream, I hear your name being called and that makes it all the more real."
There are messages, prayers, and offers of gratitude from all over the world on Dave's memorial page. His daughter keeps him updated on family news through her messages. She told her father about her marriage after his death, and her husband left a message to his father-in-law as well. She announced the birth of her 3 children over the last 8 years, and her sister's pregnancy. She said that she knew her father would be happy to finally have grandsons after raising his girls. Her messages are often filled with apologies and regrets, but mostly she just wishes her dad was still here.
So many things have changed over the last 8 years, but one thing is still the same. Dave is still in their thoughts, and he will be for the rest of their lives. He still guides his friends and family, and they still remember him.
"The sound [of your laughter] is fading in my head, but I want to keep it in my heart."
His daughters make sure his grandchildren know him through their memories. They spend occasional evenings watching home videos, reliving happy moments with Dave and refreshing their memories of the man who meant so much to them. Keeping him in their hearts is the only substitute for having him here.
In 44 years, Dave affected so many lives.
"There was no room for us to enter [your funeral] so I cried outside."
He was just doing his job that morning. No one imagined that two planes would hit the World Trade Center that day, that nearly 3,000 people would die. But they are all heroes.
"All I could remember was when Sue called the house and said 'Please find Dave.' "
There's no need to find him. He's always in your hearts.
This blog is part of Project 2996, a memorial to all the victims of 9/11. Please click here to read about the other heroes who lost their lives that day.