Two short decades ago, America experienced one of the worst tragedies in our nation’s history. September 11th has so indelibly become etched into the collective conscious of those who were alive that many use it to demarcate generational gaps.
On this most solemn of days, we remember the men and women who sacrificed everything. One story, in particular, is of New York Police Officer Walter Edward Weaver, a proud NRA member and an avid bowhunter.
Known as “Wally” to his friends and family, he was a nine-year veteran of the New York Police Department (NYPD) who spent much time and effort to qualify for the Emergency services Unit (ESU) of the NYPD. Once accepted into this unit, Weaver moved from his previous precinct to Squad 3 of the ESU in the Bronx.
On September 11, 2001, Weaver was supposed to be resting on one of his well-earned days off, but instead offered to substitute for another one of New York’s finest and as such, he pulled a shift in lower Manhattan that fateful morning.
It was reported that his first radio call came from the 20th floor as his team was clearing the tower floor by floor, making sure to leave nobody behind. His second—and final—call came from the sixth floor, where his team was trying to pry open an elevator with people stuck inside.
Weaver was last seen on the sixth floor of the North Tower before it collapsed. Just as September 11th occupies a piece of our nation’s conscious, so do our Second Amendment rights, along with the selfless actions of heroes like Weaver.
Within the NRA Museum sits Weaver’s battered Smith & Wesson Model 640-2. Found within the debris of the North Tower, this revolver was sadly the only tangible link to his life that was recovered. Weaver’s parents felt that their son’s firearm would be best displayed at the NRA Museum so that all who saw it knew of his story and be reminded of the sacrifices so many made that September morning 20 years ago.
NRA Publications Editorial Director Mark Keefe wrote that this firearm is the one he ends every tour of the NRA Museum with. “I stop in front of that humble revolver every time I pass through the museum and it reminds me that, even as we go about our daily lives, freedom isn’t free. God Bless you, Walter,” said Keefe.