WAXHAW, N.C. — A North Carolina firefighter's family has created a legacy about the life of Steven Coakley, who died on 9/11, to help them cope with his death.
Coakley's sister and brother-in-law, Edmund Walker, have worked to keep his name alive and honor his life. For Walker's family, a day does not go by that isn't influenced by that day and by the death of his brother-in-law; Firefighter Steven Coakley of Engine 217.
The memorial room includes a fraction of the reminders, tokens, and memorabilia. There is a newspaper layout with all the lost firefighters, dated Sept. 23, 2001 that included Coakley's picture.
“There's almost an event every month that we're tied to one way or another. Whether it's a direct 9/11 event or something through the firefighter community that is a remembrance of 9/11,” said Walker.
Walker and his wife Cara welcome the opportunity to teach others about the tragic day that changed our nation. They organize a golf tournament every year to raise money for a variety of causes Coakley would have supported.
Each Sept. 11, they have laid an American flag for each of the nearly 3,000 victims.
“When you start laying the first couple of hundred flags and then three hours later, you're still laying flags and you realize you've been laying for the last three hours, flags for every person that was killed. You don't really understand how big 3,000 lives are until you put a flag down one at a time and are still doing it mid way through the afternoon,” said Walker.
Their drive to never forget the tragedy, remember those lost and forever honor their hero is just as strong now as it was then.