Patty Mickley - One of 2,996
The front of her mind was on the folders with the budget analyses that were waiting for her on her desk, but the back of her mind was taken up with her daughter. School had started again, and Patty only hoped that this winter would be a mild one, as she didn’t want to go through another winter with her having earaches because of viruses caught from classmates. Besides, a mild winter meant more chances for her and Joe to go hiking together. She also tried to put together in her mind her next lesson plan for Sunday School – something about autumn, the change of seasons and life, maybe. That verse in Ecclesiastes.
She left her car in her space, and swiped and displayed her badge at the various checkpoints as she went down the system of elevators and corridors which led to her desk. She said hi to friends, made plans for lunch, and hoped that the run in her stockings which had begun at her heel when she put them on wouldn’t get worse during the day.
She got to her desk, put her purse in her bottom drawer, and reached forward to boot up her computer to start work. Glancing at the folders as she leaned back in her chair, she wondered briefly if she could work in a hair appointment to get a cut before she and Joe started to take time off and go to parties for the holidays.
Then an airplane hit her desk.
Patty Mickley was killed at her desk in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, five years ago from the moment when this tribute is posted. Porcupine was glad that The 2,996 project assigned him a victim from the Pentagon, as those people sometimes get overlooked a little in 9/11 remembrances. Also, Porcupine has spent his entire adult life working in financial management, in banking, insurance and government, and when he saw Patty Mickley’s face, he realized that she could have been any one of the hundreds of women he had worked with, shared coffee with, had lunch with, joked with, and talked with over the last few decades. The only difference was that her management job was in a building that was a terrorist target, and she paid for her diligence and work ethic with her life.
As it happens, Porcupine spent that day at a desk in a reasonably prominent government building. While it is not regarded as much of a target now, it is the only building in Boston with a 22 karat gold roof, and it would have made a splendid target for an airplane taking off from Logan Airport – in its own way, the Massachusetts State House is distinctive as the Pentagon building. Truly, there but for the grace of God go I.
Porcupine extends his condolences to Patty’s husband and daughter on this anniversary. It is the Patty Mickleys and their work that make America function, and her family has the thanks of a nations which is grateful to her and honors her sacrifice – even if we didn’t know her name.