Tina Bilcher Murphy says the last time she spoke with her New York City firefighter husband was September 10th, when he called, asking if it was ok with her if he worked a second shift. 26 year old Tina and Brian had just welcomed their first child, a son, Grant, 13 days before. September 10th was Brian’s first day back at work with the FDNY after the birth. Their last words to each other: “I love you."
Tina awakened early on 9/11 to a hungry baby awaiting his first morning breastfeeding. She turned on the tv. That’s when she learned about the plane hitting The World Trade Center. Tina knew she wouldn’t be hearing from Brian. He had a job to do. Tina continued with her plans that day, driving Grant to his first appointment with the pediatrician. She couldn’t understand why the nurse said, “What are you doing here??” Tina was unaware the towers had fallen. It was only when she returned home that she learned the full story. Still, Tina didn’t give up hope. She says it must have been a mother’s instinct . She had to be a mom. And she couldn’t do that if she accepted that Brian was gone.
For six months, Tina believed Brian would come home. In June, on their wedding anniversary, she finally held a memorial service for her 38 year old husband. It was an empty casket. Like 40% of those killed in New York City that day, Brian Bilcher’s remains were never found.