When Patrick Dowdell said goodbye to his father on Sept. 9, 2001, he had no idea it would be the last time he would ever see his dad.

A decorated lieutenant from the New York City Fire Department’s Special Operations Command, Kevin Dowdell spent his 21-year career saving people — passengers on a downed helicopter in the East River, a waitress trapped in a collapsed diner, victims of the 1993 World Trade Center attack. Patrick vividly remembers his father, driving him to a Little League game, stopping to pull someone from a vehicle in a car accident. He idolized his father, who taught him the values of hard work, duty and patriotism.

Follow Marc A. Thiessen on Twitter, @marcthiessen.

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