In loving Memory of
Sean Patrick Tallon
Firefighter, Ladder 10
September 27, 1974 – September 11, 2001
New York City Firefighter, U. S. Marine Reservist, EMT, Irishman, Son, Brother, Friend, Musician, Hero…
Sean Patrick Tallon lived an extremely full life in his short 26, almost 27, years. A probationary firefighter out of Ladder 10, Sean was just few weeks away completing his training period when he left for work from his home in Yonkers on September 11, 2001, and headed for the fire station that was among the first to respond to the trade center attack.
Sean was a reservist in the United States Marine Corps, a former emergency medical technician and a fine button accordionist. His older sister, Rosaleen DaRos, spoke about Sean’s next challenge. “He wanted to find Mrs. Right,” Mrs. DaRos said. “That is what he said was his next mission. He said his probie year was almost finished and he wanted to start with the rest of his life. Everything was just all ready. He had just blossomed.”
In researching Sean, I found the following open letter to Sean written by his sister in February 2002 on a tribute site. The memories of Sean’s life that she shared, spoke volumes as to the fine man he was and how he is missed and what we all lost on September 11, 2001…
A letter to my brother-
Sean, my earliest memories of you go back to when we lived in the apartment. We were really little and I remember us laughing so much with Mom and Dad on the green carpet doing the Twist to Chubby Checker. I remember Dad shaking you up so fast and you were laughing your head off and asking to dance over and over again to it. You were about 2 years old.
My next memory was when you were 3 years old and we had moved back to Ireland. It was a winter morning there and I remember you and I were
dressed in matching pajamas that Dad had brought from his job in Brooklyn. The pajamas were red, had feet, and giant jelly beans printed all over the top. I remember us having so much fun on the carpeted stairs…. we were getting such a kick of sitting and sliding down the stairs. I remember your carrot red hair bopping up and down as you bounced down the stairs. We were so contented playing with each other.
My next earliest memory was when we had just returned from Ireland. You were 4 and I was 7. We shared a bedroom in our apartment on Rochambeau Ave. Our bedroom faced out to Bainbridge Avenue. At night we would be scared of the loud sirens of the ambulances and fire trucks that raced up and down the avenue. (Little did we know that you would be working aboard both of these trucks later on in life!) But instead of getting upset to Mom and Dad about the new noises that scared us, we made a plan that across our twin beds, we would stretch out our arms and hold hands until we fell asleep. It always worked.
Sean I think that throughout our lives we still held hands through everything and we shared all our hopes and fears. I will miss that more than I can describe here in words.
We remember going to so many Irish dancing classes, Irish music classes, and going to all the feises. But the thing Mom and Dad took so serious was our schoolwork. I remember how hard mom would work with you on your studying. That wasn’t always the easiest job either, with your little red-head temper, you could sometimes turn as red as your button-accordion. But they stuck with you…I remember Mom and Dad told us that they always wanted us to do as well as we could so that we would not feel bad about ourselves after the test or after the competition or even later in life. And gosh, Sean, you were excited when you would do well… and you would always give Dad “five”. You even gave Dad “five” when you finished bootcamp for the Marines!
I remember Mom waving out our bedroom window as we walked together to St. Brendan’s School. We remember when Ms. McCarrick, your kindergarten teacher gave you the big job of saying your little speech… you never told anyone until that day….
Through your life, that is how you were. You never made a big deal out of your accomplishments. As a matter of fact, sometimes you were so humble that you made these big accomplishments seem attainable by everyone. Humility… gosh Sean sometimes we were astonished that you would say that others were more capable at just the jobs we saw you do perfectly yourself. For example, you always pushed me out front as the musician and smart one when you had just as much music in you and were sharper than me at a number of things.
Sean, you wore your insecurities on your sleeve, and weren’t ashamed to admit them, whether it was about approaching a girl for a date or being able
to pass the physical for the fire department. This amazed me, for such a handsome and fit fellow. But your little anxieties were endearing and made you someone that people could admit their weaknesses to without feeling vulnerable. For such a big, strong, tough guy you felt things for yourself and for others very deeply. You made sure that you thought enough about a person’s problem so that you could give some good simple advice. Many of your friends have mentioned this to me in the last few weeks.
Another thing that really made you a special person is that you wanted the best for other people. There are many, many examples of this. The most recent example was when your friend Pat was interested in buying the house next door to Mom and Dad, you made sure that you inquired and found out that this was a good investment for him.
As your family, we saw this tough, yet sensitive duality in you as well. For example, when Rob and I went down to shake your hand at the sign of peace, you busted his chops about his, as you said, “enormous boutonniere that looked like broccoli” but you told me “You look beautiful today.”
There were so many Christmas cards and birthday cards …. it is so great that we saved them because they are a written reminder of you. In one Christmas card that you gave to Dad and Mom, it said, “…it took me years to realize that the love you have for me is the closest thing to heaven that I’ve ever known.”
In another you told me not to worry about something, gave me some tough advice, and then reminded me to take solace in the fact that my family loved me… (in parentheses you wrote that you weren’t sure of the spelling for solace!! haha!!).
Sean, we all knew that you loved us, and we really loved you. As your older sister, I always tried to look out for you and protect you, but sometimes I could not. When you were little and used to play hide and seek under the bed, you would bump your head as you scurried out from under the bed. (It happened more than once.) You would have this big purple bump on your head and I remember getting so upset seeing you hurt. I remember when you broke your arm in second grade in the schoolyard and they had to pull on your thumb to straighten up the bone and I remember you being in so much pain. I felt helpless to protect you then just as I did a few weeks ago. But I think that God reached down that day to quickly end all the people’s pain at the Twin Towers. I think he picked you up into his arms and you are waiting safely there for us.
I hope that you know how proud I am that you hold the title of U.S. Marine. As reservists, you and your fellow Marines put in a hard week at work and on the weekends learn how to defend and die for our country. I remember many times when you missed out on weekend events or parties because you had “duty”. I admire you for joining these men and women and I pray that God will watch over all our military personnel during this time.
Sean, we will miss your “hard-charger” intensity and excitement for life. We will miss your strong presence and heavy feet thumping through the
house. We will miss you watching the sports with Dad on the couch in the living room while eating a feed of Mom’s chicken cutlets. We will miss your car pulling up out front. We will miss you cheering up a tough situation with a witty phrase.
A funny thing has been happening to me lately, however… when I stay quiet for a moment, I feel as if you are whispering a quick sarcastic phrase in my ear or a quick “just do it” in my ear. I feel your presence Sean. Your tough, kind presence.
Mom and Dad have had a hard time calling you a hero… I guess that’s where you got your humility gene from… but they are starting to realize that you are a hero Sean. We are so sincerely proud of you and that is helping us a little. But it’s hard. We pray that you are safe now with God in Heaven.
We know how much you loved listening to and playing Irish music on the button accordion. We know how much you loved Co. Clare in Ireland for its great traditional Irish music and the beautiful scenery along the West Coast. We will think of you walking along those Cliffs and the sound of the button accordion will be ringing in our ears.
Sean, I miss you with all my heart. I will try to be as good as I can be so that I can one day laugh again with you in Heaven. Until then I pray that you are happy and at peace with God in Heaven.
I love you, Sean. I couldn’t have asked for a better brother than you. Until we meet again… — Rosaleen
Rosaleen added on Feb, 10, 2006: My little brother, I miss you more as time goes on. The other night I listened to that Garth Brooks song “The Dance”. “I am glad I didn’t know the way it all would go, the way it all would end. Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” Sean, I think of all the years we had growing up together, as tots and teens. We were finally all grown up at my wedding. I look at pictures of you dancing with mom and me on that day and I know that we were so happy that you were our son and brother. “Looking back on the memories…. for a moment we held everything.” We love you Sean. You are a part of us… you are in our hearts and you guide our souls. So many friends and relatives are inspired by your life and death. You should see the tatoo that your U.S. Marine comrades’ have on their arms dedicated to you! I know they miss you. I know they were your “brothers” too. We are proud of the man you were on that day and all the days before. You were an “honest Joe”. I love you.
Thank you Rosaleen for sharing.
Thank you Sean for all you gave.
Dear Lord – He raced up the stairs of the North Tower with all his might, dressed in heavy bunker gear and carrying his heavy equipment. I pray that he kept climbing until he reached Your bright home in Heaven with all Your angels and saints, where there is no sweat, pain, or tears. I pray that you will take Sean into Your loving arms. He will be happy and at peace there with you, O Lord. Keep me mindful that you are Our Good Shepherd and that You love each one of Your sheep. Amen — anonymous 05 Nov 2001
Sean Patrick Tallon was laid to rest on November 2, 2001. Semper Fi!!
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