News On 6 Report On 9/11 Tribute Leads To Heartfelt Message

Thursday, December 19th 2019, 10:52 pm
By: News On 6

A tribute in Tulsa honoring the heroes who died in the worst terrorist attack on American soil is having an impact more than 1,300 miles away.

On the 18th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attack, News On 6 Reporter Reagan Ledbetter climbed 110 flights of stairs alongside 250 of Tulsa's finest. Each person wore the name of a fallen 9/11 first responder. Reagan's badge was for NYPD Officer Ramon Suarez. A few days later, Reagan got a message from Ray's wife who saw his story online.

"That's our guardian angel," said Carmen Suarez. "He would do anything for anybody."

Reagan traveled from Tulsa to New York City to hear the story of Ray's life and his death. All from the people who loved him the most.

"I saw the buildings collapse and I said, 'oh dear God,’" she said.

Carmen believes she will never forget the moment the twin towers collapsed, but she can smile when she remembers the fearlessness and courage her husband showed in his final hours.

"I remember clearly what I said. I said, 'I'm not going to see my husband today because I know he's going to go there to help,’" said Carmen.

Ray didn't just help, he saved several lives while running in and out of the burning buildings. It's a tragedy Oklahomans understand. They lived through their own nightmare just six years earlier. Carmen said she has never been to Oklahoma or to the National Memorial and doesn't even know anyone who lives here, but she said she has always felt connected to the Sooner State.

"I will never forget what happened to them. Those were innocent children. Innocent lives that were lost," Carmen said. "I understand that pain very well."

So does Carmen's daughter. Jill Suarez is channeling the pain of losing her father by wearing the blue and helping keep the streets of New York City safe.

"I said, 'I want to do what he did. I want to follow his footsteps and continue that legacy,’" Jill said.

Jill also carries a part of her father with her every day on the job by wearing his badge number.

"I can now see why he put the uniform on with pride, because I do the same thing. It's never going to go away," she said.

Jill said she's thankful knowing people thousands of miles away still never forget what happened on September 11, 2001.

"It means a lot because sometimes even New Yorkers forget. They forget what happened that day. They forget the meaning that day. They forget how united we all were that day, even the day after," said Jill.

This family knows their hero's legacy will live on in them.

"He's smiling at me because I have done a great job with his daughter," Carmen said.

In another state that knows all too well the pain of a terrorist attack and the courage it takes it move forward.

"Now I can say I have friends in Oklahoma," said Carmen. "I will forever be grateful."

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