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INDIANAPOLIS–The way the country came together, even if it was just for a short time, is what sticks with retired New York City Police Inspector Patrick McCormick. He helped bring a new 9/11 exhibit to the Indiana War Memorial, which opened Friday.

“It was a terrible, terrible day. But, the solace I take out of it is the response from the American people,” said McCormick. “I swear to God, I never in my lifetime felt more proud to be a member of the NYPD, to be a New Yorker or to be an American.”

McCormick walked around the exhibits, which were glass cases containing hats, knives, guns and other personal effects from firefighters and police officers who died trying to help the thousands of people who were in the World Trade center towers.


“I remember Rescue 1 from the fire department here, from Indianapolis, who came down to help. There were guys who driving for days from all over the country to help us out.”

McCormick said he believes fire and rescue people aren’t getting the respect they did in the months following 9/11.

“I spent three months working there. I just remember driving down there. People were lined up, clapping for us. It was a feeling that, very fleeting, but it was such a powerful strong feeling.”

He said he believes that even though those feelings may have softened to a degree that places like Indiana get it, and respect their first responders. That’s one reason he wanted to get the exhibit to Indiana and get it open before the 17th anniversary of 9/11.

“We’ve had the privilege of being in other states across America. But, Indiana was a state that I wanted to get to. We’ve got Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish. I really wanted to get it here.”

And now the displays are ready for people to see. Maryann O’Rourke’s husband was a firefighter for 19 years. His hat and other effects are in a case under the painting of Chaplain Michael Judge, a firefighter who died while giving another firefighter the Last Rites. A person who jumped from one of the towers landed on him.

“It’s hard every year. But, exhibits like this and other things, help you get through it,” said O’Rourke.

“I think from being far away it’s very difficult to understand what you see on TV. But, when you come here and you see their clothes, their guns, their hats, photos-it’s very hard to explain. You have to see it to believe it,” said Maggie McDonald, whose husband was a New York City police officer.

McCormick said he believes the War Memorial is a perfect venue for the exhibit.

PHOTOS: Chris Davis/Emmis