After years of Patrick's visiting his dad's Brooklyn firehouse, his mother wondered how much he understood about the father he never met -- until little Patrick announced he wanted to write a letter to his dad and read it to the more than 2,000 who will attend the fireman's mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
On Saturday, Patrick will deliver his letter to a church full of firemen, at the St. Patrick's Cathedral 9/11 Mass for the Fallen:
I just missed meeting you. You died on September 11, 2001, and I was born 26 days later, on October 7th. I want you to know that Mommy is doing a great job of loving me and raising me in a happy home. I am almost 10 years old now, and from all the stories I've heard about you, I feel like I DO know you.
Every September 11th we go to your firehouse, Squad 252, for a Mass. We get to eat lots of donuts, and see the fire truck. I see it every year ... and every year, I think it is so cool.
On your birthday, the Lyons family gets together and we celebrate you. I send a baseball and football balloon up to Heaven to make you happy.
I think it is really cool that you were such a brave firefighter and that you died saving lots of people's lives. I feel so proud of you. As I get older, EVERYONE says I walk like you, run like you, and have your crazy sense of humor too. I play flag football in the same league as you, and in the same position as you, quarterback. In baseball, I pitch, just like you did. I really like it when people compare me to you.
Mommy told me that when you found out you were having a boy you wanted me to be a left-handed pitcher in the Majors. Well, here's the thing ... I BAT lefty, but I PITCH righty. But I DO plan to pitch for the New York Mets someday.
I have a fun life. Mommy got married again, and I have a dad, a brother and a sister. My dad plays sports with me and teaches me how to do things like ride a boogie-board, build a sandcastle, build a double-decker birdhouse, and clean the pool. I really love him.
I know that you are in Heaven and you are always watching over me. I love knowing that you are a hero.
I wish I could have met you.
Your son, Patrick Mate Lyons"
Out of the mouths of babes, we get proof that it is possible to "never forget" -- even as life goes on.