Guns and Gear

We Will Remember Them

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By Doug Wicklund

On Sept. 11, 2001, Americans watched in horror as first one airliner, then another, crashed into the Twin Towers. First responders rushed to the scene, putting their own lives in danger to save others. There are many stories of courage from that dark day, but two recovered firearms from heroes who were there help tell us of the men who carried them.

Walter Weaver was an NRA member, and, as part of New York City Police Department’s Emergency Services Truck No. 3, he was one of the first to arrive at the World Trade Center. His stainless steel Smith & Wesson J-frame back-up was on him as the 30-year-old officer struggled to rescue those trapped in an elevator in the South Tower. Found later in the rubble, the gun was donated to the NRA National Firearms Museum by his family.

Working nearby was Weaver’s friend, Sgt. John D’Allara, an 18-year NYPD veteran with Squad 2 of the Emergency Services Unit. With D’Allara was his S&W Model 5946 in 9 mm Luger. As the World Trade Center fell, D’Allara was one of the 71 law enforcement officers, along with 343 members of the New York City Fire Department—as well as more than 2,800 other Americans—who perished that day. His 5946, recovered from the rubble next to his body, is on loan to the NRA National Firearms Museum from his family.

These two warped and twisted firearms offer mute testimony to the shared courage of these two officers, men who gave their lives helping others during a terrorist attack that forever changed our nation. These two hallowed handguns remind us of their sacrifice and that freedom is not free.

The NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va., the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops In Springfield, Mo., and the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M., offer the opportunity to learn the story of firearms, freedom and the American experience.