Officer Walter McNeil, fifty-three, a police officer and hazardous materials specialist, was called to the World Trade Center just after the first plane hit. He phoned his family to tell them where he was going and said he’d call again later. He was last seen setting up a command post before the second plane hit and was heard telling a coworker to be careful. McNeil was born in New York City. After graduating from high school, he became a first sergeant in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. The decorated veteran left the Army in 1976. He then served in the Army Reserve during Desert Storm. He was recognized for his military service by the New Jersey 369th Veteran’s Association and the Port Authority, and in 1991, he was presented with a flag that had flown over the Holland Tunnel’s plaza. He was honorably discharged in 1996. McNeil started his career with the Port Authority thirty-one years ago. He was a facilities operations agent before he became a cop in 1979. A veteran of the 1993 bombing, he had planned to retire in August 2002. He was typically seen outside the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City, where he directed traffic and inspected vehicles for hazardous materials. The area he patrolled became known as “McNeil’s Corner” to his coworkers. The twenty-five-year service plaque that was awarded him in 1995 depicted the Twin Towers. McNeil volunteered at a Jersey City battered women’s shelter called Hope House. McNeil lived with his long time companion, Sonia Rodriguez, and their son, Walter, Jr., in Middle Smithfield Township, Pennsylvania. He also had a daughter, Kim, from a previous marriage.