Port Authority Police Officer Ken Tietjen, a nine-year veteran of the force, was working on the PATH transit line when he learned of the events occurring at the World Trade Center. From the 33rd Street PATH station, he and his rookie partner commandeered a taxi and drove to the Trade Center complex. Upon arrival, Tietjen rushed into Tower One and assisted people leaving the building, some of them badly burned.
Tietjen emerged to retrieve a fresh air bottle for his breathing apparatus. His partner later recounted that there was only one bottle left. Tietjen looked at his partner and said with a smile, "Seniority rules." He hooked the bottle up and headed into Tower Two.
A few moments later Tower Two fell.
Ken Tietjen was killed in the line of duty at the age of 31. He was engaged to be married and in training to join the Port Authority Emergency Services Unit. His actions at the World Trade Center were the culmination of a career as a First Responder that began as a volunteer fireman for the Belford Engine Company, followed by his tenure with the Port Authority Police Department. He had received a special commendation in 1996 for subduing a criminal who stabbed a fellow officer, among numerous other citations and awards.
Tietjen's sister Laurie Quinn summed up his actions in an interview with the New York Times: "My brother had a choice whether to go back and he went back in. I wouldn't expect anything less from him."
Videos of Officer Tietjen
Fellow PAPD Officers reflect upon Ken Tietjen in a TV spot.
NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks following the memorial service for Ken Tietjen in 2001.
A news report covering a stolen goods bust that Ken made at the Holland Tunnel.
Video footage and images of Ken compiled and placed online in remembrance.
The Ken Tietjen Memorial Foundation
2008 Tribute to Kenneth F. Tietjen
Mighty Ninety: A 9/11 Connection
Brothers Jim and Bobby Thomson. Jim served aboard USS ASTORIA CL-90 before joining the New York Fire Department. His brother Bobby played outfield for the New York Giants after the war.
Jim Thomson served as a Fire Controlman in F Division aboard USS ASTORIA CL-90 in 1944-45. Following the war, he made a career as a firefighter with FDNY. His son, also named Jim, followed in his footsteps as a career FDNY firefighter. He was actively involved in the 9/11 recovery effort and later retired as a Captain.
Jim Sr.'s younger brother Bobby served in the Army Air Force in WWII, then spent 14 years as a major league baseball player. He is best remembered for the home run he hit that sent the New York Giants to victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the 1951 National League Pennant. The home run is immortalized in baseball history as "the Shot Heard 'Round the World."
October 3rd, 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of Thomson's famous home run. As Jim Jr. recalled, his Uncle Bobby could have appeared on any sports TV show he wanted. But he chose to spend that day down at Ground Zero with the recovery workers, policemen and firefighters. "That's the kind of guy he is."
BACK TO MIGHTY NINETY HOME
The New York Times, December 1st, 2001.
The Star Ledger.
Thomson, Jim. Private collection of documents and photos.
www.fiercepoet.com 2008 Tribute to Kenneth F. Tietjen