Sgt Michael Curtin
Sergeant Michael Curtin was killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while attempting to rescue the victims trapped in the World Trade Center.
Sergeant Curtin was a US Marine Corps veteran of Operation Desert Storm. He had served with the New York City Police Department for 13 years and was assigned to ESU Truck 2. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, and brother.
He was posthumously awarded the New York City Police Department’s Medal of Honor for his heroic actions.
On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center’s North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.
As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.
Helga Curtin of Medford turned 40 on Sept. 11. Her husband, Michael, planned a small get-together with 10 of the couple’s closest friends on the previous Friday night since neither could afford a late night on Tuesday.
After returning from work on the 11th, Curtin, 45, was to cook his wife “a nice meal,” his wife said. But his plan never came to fruition.
A member of Harlem-based Emergency Service Unit Truck 2 of the New York City Police Department, Michael Sean Curtin of Medford is presumed dead in the World Trade Center attacks. He was last heard from that morning when he phoned his wife to wish her a happy birthday, his wife said.
Born in Liberty, N.Y., Curtin’s family moved to Long Island when he was a child. He graduated from Rocky Point High School in 1975 and enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after. Curtin was called to active duty for the next 12 years and was discharged last year with the rank of sergeant major.
Somewhere between basic training and active duty, Curtin found time for love. He and his wife met on Christmas Eve 1979 on Parris Island. “I went down there with roommates over Christmas Eve break,” his wife said. “One of them was dating Michael’s roommate, so that’s how we met.”
A Marine through and through, Curtin held his family to a staunch standard of conduct, his wife said. But there were no push-ups for insubordination or three-mile runs for misbehavior. “He always stressed loyalty and discipline,” his wife said. “But it was never done aggressively.”
An avid local sports fan, Curtin seldom sat in front of a television to watch a game. Instead, he would attend as many of his daughters’ basketball, field hockey, volleyball, soccer and lacrosse games as he could, his wife said. “The only sports he ever really watched were when his kids played.”
She described her husband as “a very involved father,” who “always encouraged his kids to do whatever they wanted to do.”
The couple’s three daughters – Jennifer, 15, Erika, 14, and Heather, 12 – have endured the holidays without their father, she said. “The holidays have been awful,” she said. But, she said, the family has faced reality, and is “trying to get through things day by day.”
But their void is felt, nonetheless. “We always worked with one another, and I always bounced my thoughts off of him,” she said. “We had a genuine respect. I would always turn to him, and now he’s not there to turn to. The thing I miss the most about him is him.” — Nick Iyer
Dedicated Memorial Sites:
New York City Police Memorial Wall
Long Island 9/11 Memorial
Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Foundation 9/11/01 Memorial
9/11 Memorial at St. Joseph’s Chapel
Queen Elizabeth II September 11 Memorial Garden
Conseleya 9/11 Memorial
Crescent Beach Park – Flagpole/Memorial for 9/11 Victims
Dewitt 9/11 Memorial
East Newark 9/11 Memorial
Fair Haven 9/11 Memorial
Curtin was a longtime member of NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit, an elite squad with the motto “anytime, anywhere, anyplace” that is dispatched to rescue operations throughout the country. He discovered the body of Guzman’s brother, Randy, buried for days in the rubble of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, despite the danger that he could be trapped himself.
Randy Guzman, a 28-year-old Marine Corps captain, was working in his recruiting office on the building’s sixth floor when Timothy McVeigh‘s truck bomb exploded on April 19, 1995.
Now, Curtin — last seen carrying out a woman from the North Tower of the New York trade center when it collapsed on Sept. 11 — is presumed dead. And Guzman is hoping he can pay respects to Curtin’s widow, just as Curtin paid respects to him and his family so long ago.