Burnside John

Burnside, John
John Burnside, Lad.20 May I Have Your Hand I met my husband John Burnside July 6‚ 1991‚ while rollerblading in Central Park with a friend. It was a beautiful summer day that would end up changing my life forever. My friend and I came around to East 72nd Street‚ and decided to see what band was playing at the staging area‚ and there he was‚ a tall handsome young officer. We asked who the band was‚ and he was only too happy to reply. One conversation led to the next‚ to the question of what are you girls doing tonight. Never thinking we would really all meet up‚ we shared our plans with John and his partner and sure enough at 9 PM sharp he walked in the door of Ryan McFadden’s. I can remember to this day the smile on his face as he walked through the door‚ and knew instantly that this was a person who touched others’ lives‚ no matter how brief the encounter. I think I knew by the second date that I would spend the rest of my life with this wonderful man‚ who his friends affectionately referred to as ‘Johnny the Gent.’ I guess‚ the moment that stands out the most for me on that second date would be the cab ride downtown. We arrived at our destination‚ and Johnny‚ of course‚ paid the driver‚ and then got out of the cab‚ turned to reach back into the cab with his extended hand‚ looked into my eyes‚ and said‚ ‘May I have your hand?’ I always knew throughout our relationship if I could only take his hand everything would be O.K. That theme played out in our relationship over and over‚ even on our wedding day. I knew if I could only make it up the aisle and take his hand the rest would be O.K.‚ because he had me. It’s those small intimate moments you realize now that meant the most and are missed the most. They say‚ some people know their destiny at that moment. On our second date I realized my destiny would include this extraordinary man. Through our many years of dating‚ engagement and marriage‚ I saw a man who had so many dimensions. He loved music and creating it with his most prized possession‚ his guitar (which eventually moved to the #2 position)‚ a fanatic love for football and the Minnesota Vikings (this became increasingly painful with each Super Bowl loss)‚ his love for history‚ geography‚ computers‚ and reading anything of interest. He possessed a determination to always do the right thing‚ and treat others with respect. It’s these qualities that I think drew him to his profession as a New York City firefighter. John loved being a fireman‚ and would say to me on many occasions when I questioned why he needed to be a fireman‚ ‘Sandra‚ how many people do you know who are truly satisfied and fulfilled in the profession they choose. I am‚ and that’s a gift.’ I try to constantly remind myself of those words on days when his sacrifice seems too great and overwhelming. John spent the last year-and-a-half studying for the Lieutenant’s exam‚ which was scheduled on October 13‚ 2001. I was so proud of him‚ and knew that some group of young firemen would some day benefit from him being their officer. You see‚ John would never ask someone to do something he wouldn’t. He was calm‚ level-headed‚ intelligent‚ and always thought things through. I can remember the conversations John would have with his father about the Fire Department and his upcoming exam‚ and know his parents were extremely proud of him. John always talked about his profession with a smile on his face‚ left for work with a positive attitude and returned home most days the same way‚ except a little tired. I miss the sound of the key in the door at 7 PM‚ and the stories he would tell me about his day‚ over dinner‚ whether it was a water leak‚ E.M.S. run‚ fire‚ or just some wackiness that took place at the firehouse. I’m sure that on September 11‚ John answered his last call just as he would any other call‚ thinking that he was going to help someone and make a difference for that day. He and so many others did make a difference that day‚ and I try to tell myself it is not all in vain. I think John would want to be remembered simply as a man who always tried to do the honorable thing. I know that John will always be remembered by his loving family‚ friends‚ colleagues and anyone who was fortunate enough to know him. I have a lifetime of wonderful memories‚ vacations and family events that I hope will put a smile on my face in the days to come as I remember each moment in and of itself. There are just too many to ever put on paper or to convey the love I feel in my heart for this wonderful man I called my best friend‚ husband‚ and confidant. I know my husband will forever be a part of history‚ and people will talk about this horrific event for years to come. I know our families will try to explain to the nieces and nephews for years to come just simply what an outstanding person Uncle Johnny was‚ and how very much he loved us all. Till we meet again in another life‚ my love. -Sandra Burnside