Arlene Howard:
A Mother’s Love

11/11/2001: Veterans' Day Prayer Breakfast at Park Avenue Seventh Regiment Armory in New York City. President George W. Bush
embraces Arlene Howard, mother of George Howard, a Port Authority police officer who died at the World Trade Center.

By Irish America Staff
April / May 2002

Arlene Howard presented a very moving picture when she pressed her son George’s New York Port Authority Police Department shield into the hand of President George W. Bush. The 77-year-old’s son had died helping to rescue victims of the September 11 attacks, and President Bush was well aware of the honor behind the gesture. After thanking her, he whispered to her, “We’ll get them.” Nine days later, proving that he considered the shield to be a symbol of the many lives lost, he produced it while addressing the nation before a joint session of Congress. “And I will carry this. It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others…. This is my reminder of lives that ended and a task that does not end.” On Veterans’ Day in New York City, Arlene Howard saw her son’s shield again. President Bush, introduced her as not only a friend and U.S. Navy veteran but “a veteran of September 11.”

George Howard was a single father of two teenage sons. An expert in technical rescue, a volunteer firefighter and a fire-academy trainer, he received the PAPD’ s Medal of Valor for rappelling down an elevator shaft to save more than 60 people after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. The courage that characterized George Howard was evidently inherited from his late father, a former World War II Navy lieutenant, and from his mother, who counts a New York Police Department sergeant, a U.S. Navy captain, an Air Force veteran and a daughter who serves at U.S. Space Command in Colorado among her children. ♦

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