The Blood of my Brothers

 

The events of 911 continue to pluck at the heart chords of all true Americans. For me personally, that particular day stole 22 friends, 22 brothers and sisters.

 

Below is part of a New York Daily News article written about our neighborhood loss and how we honor our fallen friends every day.

 

The boys of Inwood would be proud.

Proud to see how their childhood buddies have taken care to remember and honor them, the 22 who were killed in the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

Guys like Tommy Dowd, Bobby (Rock) O’Shea, James (JimmyMac) McAlary,John Burnside and Christian Regenhard. Joe KellettBrian MonaghanKieran Gorman and Joe Holland.

From the sidewalks and parks and schools of Inwood, they grew up to be cops and firefighters, Wall Street brokers and construction workers. Today, their smiling faces peer up from grey headstones in a memorial garden that’s easy to miss in the city’s hurried pace.

 

We all knew someone that worked in the towers. They were brokers, electricians, secretaries. And when the call came for first responders, we also knew those that arrived, by the thousands. Rushing into a warzone where only moments before was filled with coffee and newspaper vendors and morning pleasantries between co-workers.

 

And all through the days and nights that followed, thousands more civilians arrived, so many in fact that some were turned away due to health concerns of the rapidly spreading and deadly asbestos poison that was filling the air. There were moments of hope as someone would shout.” WE FOUND A SURVIVOR” The entire site would come to dead halt with a silence that could be heard to the heavens. Once again it would be a false alarm.  Days turned into weeks and still the fires would burn and smolder.

 

My younger brother Christopher has been a New York City firefighter for 24 years now and was at Ground Zero until the very last fire detail was removed. He then spent the next several years going to every single fallen firefighter’s funeral he could physically attend.  My brother, my hero spent the next 3 years attending funerals.

 

While he was working Ground HERO, Chris found few artifacts, and as a dutiful American he notified the American Red Cross. He found a key pad from a telephone, a corner of one of the hundreds of thousands of windows, AND he found an American Flag.  The Flag was shredded and torn, with the colors bleeding in spots. My brother My hero, was not able to save any one single life (on that day anyway)but he did save The Flag.

The Red Cross said that The Flag should be sent to one of their hazardous waste disposal facilities to remove and treat The Flag for asbestos. Chris boxed and sent The Flag to the Red Cross and went about his normal duties. Covering shifts for the now very short staffed fire houses all around the city, and whenever he could he work as many  all the holidays possible so firefighters with little kids could be home with their families.

Weeks became months became years. The Red Cross contacted Chris and told him that HIS Flag was now safe of all containments and that they would ship it to him. He said,” My Flag, oh no,I found it at Ground Zero, it belongs to the folks there.” Their reply was that since HE found it it was legally his property.  They sent The Flag to his firehouse. Chris and his brothers were in awe and they as brothers decided that The Flag should be shared by all.

 

So, they contacted the Freedom Tower design committee, these were the folks responsible for rebuilding and restoring our great American symbol- the now opened Freedom Tower. They even sent the committee a photo of The Flag.

 

And to truly understand the significance of what he found that day is to know that “the original flag”, the one immortalized on a US stamp, the flag that was raised by three firefighter at Ground Zero and flew proudly at various US bases overseas- IS MISSING (see Wikipedia notes below)

 

Flag[edit]

The flag came from the 130-foot (40 m) yacht named Star of America, owned by Shirley Dreifus of the Majestic Star, which was docked in the yacht basin in the Hudson River at the World Financial Center. McWilliams cut the yardarm off of the yacht with a K-Saw and then took the flag and its pole from the yacht to an evacuation area on the northwest side of the site. They found a pole about 20 feet (6 m) off the ground.

The flag has since disappeared. The city thought it had possession of the flag after the attack, Rudolph Giuliani and George Pataki signed it, and the flag flew at the New York City HallYankee Stadium, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during its service in the Mideast. However, when the flag’s owner prepared to formally donate the flag it was discovered that there was a size discrepancy: while the yacht’s flag measured four feet by six feet, the flag the city had in its possession measured five feet by eight feet.[2]As of 2013, the flag has yet to be found. The owner, Shirley Dreifus, has started a Web site (www.findthe911flag.com) in an effort to get the flag back.[3] A 2013 CNNdocumentary film, The Flag, investigates the mystery of this missing 9/11 icon.[4]

 

 

Incredibly the Freedom Tower design committee told my brother and I quote,” Thanks but NO THANKS – your torn and tattered flag is not in line with the LOOK we have for the NEW Freedom Tower.

We were stunned to say the least. Word got out about The Flag and my brother and his fellow firefighters soon became inundated with calls from all over the country about The Flag. He was even offered $500,000 from someone who wanted to sell The Flag on ebay.

 

My brother My hero refused, in fact he told one buyer,” I could and never would sell this Flag, it is bathed in the blood of my brothers and sisters.

 

To this day The Flag hangs proudly in Engine 48, Ladder 56. If you’re ever in New York City, feel free to stop on and see……

 

 

 

american flag

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