Sunday, September 10, 2006

Remembering Clinton Davis

Clinton Davis, a Port Authority policeman, was a disciplinarian. "Keep in line, stay out of trouble and stay in school" was the mantra he had for his children and his nephews and nieces."When one of the kids got into trouble, he would have a little talk with them," said his younger sister, Sandra Davis.

The children looked up to Mr. Davis, 38, as their model, and the family savored the story of his restraining a "huge crazy man" at the World Trade Center. In the process, Mr. Davis tore his hamstring.

The knowledge that Mr. Davis died while helping others gives the Flushing, Queens, family comfort. One of his colleagues told his family that he ran in and out of the north tower to evacuate people, and when he went in one last time, the tower collapsed. His body was later found on a stairs next to his closest friend, another Port Authority police officer, Uhuru Houston.

"They knew their father died a hero," Ms. Davis said of Clinton Davis's three chidren, ages 18, 12, and 10. "And that made it a lot easier for them to accept the facts." But still, they are on the move with their mother to Texas, where their maternal grandparents live. The memory New York evokes is just too painful.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 26, 2001.

Here is a story about Mr. Davis's 12-year-old son:

Boy, 12, stands and delivers
Originally published on July 5, 2004

Julian Davis tried to focus on the words on the page as he took the stage at Ground Zero yesterday, and declared in a strong, clear voice "that all men are created equal."

The 12-year-old, whose dad, Port Authority cop Clinton Davis, was killed on 9/11, read from the Declaration of Independence before a crowd of hundreds at the laying of the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower.

"I was a little nervous up there, but I'm honored," Julian, who attends Our Lady of Lourdes Junior High School in Massapequa, L.I., told the Daily News after the ceremony. "It meant a lot to come and speak for everyone who died."

He practiced a few times the night before, he said. While he heeded his mom's advice to "think of your dad," he overcame his jitters by focusing on Thomas Jefferson's words.

"I just didn't want to mess up," he said.

It wasn't Julian's first solemn trip to the podium.

Last year, he was one of the children who read names from the litany of the lost during the two-year anniversary ceremony at the Trade Center site.

Still, he had "a little panic attack" when he heard last week that he'd be reading. Revisiting the site was painful, he said, "a little hard to get through - flashbacks and everything."

Julian grew quiet talking about his 38-year-old dad, a "tall guy" who liked to play basketball, who worked at the Trade Center for more than a decade and who died trying to rescue people. But Julian's mom, Simone Mitchell, 35, said yesterday's speech was therapeutic for him.

"I think it helped him," she said.

Julian was sure his dad would have been proud of the standing ovation he received. "That's what I'm hoping," he said.

Mr. Davis and his family sound like very special people, from all that I've read about him on various 9/11 tribute sites. Any comments from friends or family are truly appreciated as we remember our brethren who so gallantly gave everything to help those in need.

For more tributes to our 9/11 hearos, go to this site: 2996

So great the loss. I heard last night that 3000 children lost a parent in 9/11. We lost so many fine, wonderful people full of life and character. It is so tragic. Your tribute a awesome rememberance.

My tribute to Chris Traina is up.
What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. I have posted a tribute honoring Sgt. Michael Curtin, a NYPD officer, who willingly entered the Twin Towers five years ago this day...on a rescue mission. His body was recovered in the rubble of Ground Zero March of 2002. So many lost lives, so many heroes.

Oh wow. Clinton sounded like a wonderful dad, friend, husband, uncle. He was near his best friend at the end. Thank you for putting a face to a name.

We will never forget.

I remember Lisa Egan
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