Sunday, September 4, 2011


Today is my 56th birthday, and I will share the day with my wife Hala, and my youngest daughters, Celine and Angelina. They are three of the greatest gifts God has given me.

For many years we have told Celine about a tragic story that ultimately had a happy ending, thanks to the men and women in the FDNY and NYPD, including a Sergeant John Coughlin, of the NYPD's Emergency Response Unit.

Now that Celine is old enough to understand the true meaning of courage and heroism, I recently told her something that I had kept from her for years....the rest of the story, as they say. She responded with this letter:

Dear Mrs. Coughlin,

On August 25, 2000, a woman in the Bronx called 911 for help because her six month old baby was choking and could barely breathe. The police and fire department officers came to their apartment, and when the baby's father, who was working found out, he rushed home. When he arrived at his apartment, he saw all the police and emergency vehicles and was afraid of what happened.

As he came in the door, the first thing he saw was his wife crying hysterically, but then he saw a big policeman, Sergeant John Coughlin of the NYPD, holding the baby in his arms over his head, and the baby was laughing so hard, and she was ok.

Well, that baby was me. My name is Celine Kerik, and my father was the police commissioner at the time, Bernard Kerik.

Today I am 11 years old, and my mother and father have told me that story many many times, but what I had not known until now is that Sgt. John Coughlin, your husband, died when the Twin Towers came crashing down on top of him on September 11, 2001.

After learning and understanding what happened, and since it will be 10 years ago since he died, I wanted to write you this letter.

My father always says he was a hero for all of New York City and the country, and he called him a Teddy Bear with a big heart. But for me, he is my hero for helping keep me alive, and I just wanted to thank him.

My Uncle Besim recently died, and my dad said it was because God needs lots of angels in heaven. I'm sure Mr. Coughlin is one of them. God Bless him, and you and your daughters too.



Today, we celebrated not just my birthday but Celine's life being saved as well. And we celebrated the first responders and all who serve our country. Please pray for them, Sgt. John Coughlin and his family, and all who have put their lives on the line for the people of the United States of America.


  1. Proud to know Bernie! Way way back.
    Happy Birthday!

  2. Now that's what 9-11 should inspire in all of us. That's all that needs to be said...

  3. Happy 56th Birthday...Will pray for all...Thanks for sharing that with us...sending you good luck Birthday honks from my Taxi and wishing the best for your family...Thank you for all you've done and continue to do..Peace brother.

  4. Very inspiring from 11 year old beautiful girl.
    Happy Birthday Sir, I hope you got something simple from me yesterday by the mail!!

    YOU ARE A HERO INDEED ! Hope to see you soon

    God bless

  5. Very inspiring from 11 year old beautiful girl.

    Happy Birthday Sir, I hope you got something simple from me yesterday!

    YOU ARE A HERO INDEED ! Hope to see you soon.

    God Bless

  6. To Kerik family remember my Prayers are always with you and we all miss Bernie. Bernie is a true Patriot and a Man who love our Country to spite how things played out. He still talks as a Proud American.

    Joe Nasso

  7. May God bless you Bernie. You do not deserve to be where you are today. Maybe God's plan is to use you to reach other inmates!!
    MS from Georgia.


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