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Thread: Pay Fight On Hold To Honor Fallen

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    Pay Fight On Hold To Honor Fallen

    PAY FIGHT ON HOLD TO HONOR FALLEN

    By STEPHANIE GASKELL

    October 13, 2002 --

    City officials and the FDNY set aside politics and protests for a day to honor 352 firefighters killed in the line of duty during an emotional ceremony at a packed Madison Square Garden yesterday.

    Firefighters demanding pay hikes are embroiled in a heated battle with the city. On Friday, hundreds protested the city's offer of an 11.5 percent increase over 30 months.

    "This wasn't about that," firefighter Marty Morrow of Ladder 174 said as he left the ceremony. "Not now."

    Union officials had asked the rank-and-file to withhold applause for former Mayor Rudy Giuliani - who failed to reach a contract with the department while he was in office.

    But he was met with a warm round of applause as he addressed the more-than-20,000 firefighters and family members.

    "Our mourning will live until we die," he said. "Their heroism will live forever."

    Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta also spoke at the ceremony. Former Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen attended but didn't address the crowd.

    The annual event - usually held at the Firemens Memorial in Riverside Park - was canceled last fall as firefighters sifted through the debris of the World Trade Center.

    An estimated 30,000 firefighters from as far away as Australia stood outside the arena in the pouring rain to watch on giant TV monitors as medals of valor were presented to the families of the 352 firefighters killed in the line of duty since October 2000.

    "It's a brotherhood," said Capt. Eugene Novakowski, a 20-year veteran with the Toronto Fire Service.

    "I came twice [to New York City] for funerals. But I had to be here today to give my support . . . try to make it a little easier for them."

    An additional special medal, made by Tiffany & Co., was also presented to the families of the 343 firefighters killed on Sept. 11.

    "What matters to us is not these politicians . . . but the thousands of firefighters standing out there for us," said Lt. Paul Brown of Engine 290.

    Before the ceremony, thousands of firefighters and bagpipers marched up Eighth Avenue from 14th Street to the Garden.

    The names of the firefighters were read aloud, as their pictures were displayed on a giant screen.

    After all the names were read, the audience broke out in an emotional round of applause that lasted nearly 10 minutes.Additional reporting by

    Georgett Roberts


    http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/49211.htm

    SOLEMN SERVICE:
    Thousands of firefighters from around the world gather in and around Madison Square Garden to pay tribute yesterday.
    N.Y. Post: Bolivar Arellano

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    Sea of grief for those who fell

    Sea of grief for those who fell

    Tears fill Garden in moving tribute

    By ALICE McQUILLAN, LESLIE CASIMIR and PATRICE O'SHAUGHNESSY
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS


    Thousands of firefighters ringed Madison Square Garden in yesterday's downpour to join the families of 356 fallen members of the FDNY in a ceremony that provoked eight straight minutes of thunderous applause and countless tears.

    Some 23,000 family members and comrades of the firefighters and paramedics who died Sept. 11, 2001, and in other incidents since October 2000 packed the Garden for the solemn tribute.

    It began after the department's pipe and drum band led 356 firefighters from around world - each bearing an American flag - in a procession up Eighth Ave.

    For Ed Stackpole, whose fire captain brother Timothy died at the World Trade Center, the downpour befitted the "melancholy day."

    But Barbara Richard Tate, who lost her brother, Vernon Richard, at the twin towers, smiled up at the bleak sky and said, "The rain is really the angels that are blessing us."

    A long walk

    The families of the fallen were chauffeured to the ceremony in 781 limousines. They entered the Garden under a white awning, walking on a long red carpet.

    Portraits of the dead hung from the rafters of the Garden, blocking for the day the championship banners of the Knicks and Rangers, and the FDNY emblem lit up the scoreboard.

    It took 45 minutes for Chief Brian Dixon to read all the names of the FDNY members "who made the supreme sacrifice in the performance of duty at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Box 8087," using the jargon of the department.

    As the names were called, photos flashed on a giant screen showing each man in life: some dressed in fire gear, some smiling with a wife, some hugging a child.

    At noon, the roll call ended and applause rocked the Garden, with the audience ignoring officials' half-hearted pleas to stop.

    Outside, drenched firefighters watching the ceremony on a giant TV screen on Eighth Ave. clapped and cheered.

    "The faces make it so much more real," said Paul Boucher of the Chicago Fire Department. "It really feels now that these guys, some of them so young, are really gone."

    When the ovation ended, the firefighter escorting each family turned to a designated member and presented a mahogany box containing four medals, one from Tiffany's commemorating the World Trade Center, as well as the department's Medal of Valor and Medal of Supreme Sacrifice, and the International Association of Firefighters' Medal of Honor.

    Among the many politicians in attendance, Mayor Bloomberg told the crowd that those being honored "went beyond professionalism and carried with them the strength and courage that remind the nation of the gallant heroes of our past."

    Then, addressing those still on the job, he quoted Theodore Roosevelt: "The credit belongs to the men who are actually in the arena." Bloomberg told the firefighters' children, "The quality and strength and courage that made your parents heroes are part of you."

    Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani likened the firefighters slain by terrorists to the sailors and soldiers of Pearl Harbor.

    "They didn't just save people there, they were our first line of defense, and our first line of defense stood tall," he said.

    Sad melody

    Tears streamed down many a face in the crowd when Irish tenor Ronan Tynan sang, "You raise me up so I can stand on mountains, you raise me up to walk on stormy seas, I am strong when I am on your shoulders, you raise me up more than I can be."

    Xavier Yveneu, a chief in the Paris fire brigade, wore a silver helmet and red cravat with his uniform.

    "It's very important for us to be here," he said. "We want to witness this day and be in solidarity with our friends."

    Sue Sokira, a firefighter in the tiny Christiana, Del., Fire Department, said Sept. 11 "made us all aware of what's going on around us, and how easy it is for any one of us to go. I needed to be here because it's all one big family."

    Fire Capt. Warren Hoy of London, Ontario, was on his first visit to New York.

    "I'm glad I picked this day to be here because there's no greater honor than to feel a part of this worldwide fellowship of firemen," Hoy said.


    With Fernanda Santos



    http://www.mostnewyork.com/front/sto...3p-25231c.html

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    When even the sky cries

    When even the sky cries

    "Did you cry?"

    The question was from John Drennan, who was 15 years old back on this 12th day of October in 1994. He was riding in a department car from the annual memorial ceremony held at the Firemen's Monument on Riverside Drive. The five fallen firefighters that year had included his father, Fire Capt. John Drennan.

    Young John was now asking Fire Capt. Patrick Brown if he had cried.

    "Yeah," Brown said.

    John seemed amazed a hero such as Brown had cried.

    "You did?" John asked.

    "You bet," Brown said. "Did you cry?"

    "No," John said.

    John then mumbled a qualification.

    "I did on the stage," John said.

    He reached in his pocket and took out the two medals he had accepted on behalf of his father.

    "Ma, here, you want to hold these?" John asked.

    John turned and handed the medals to his mother, Vina Drennan. She sat in the back seat with a friend, gazing at the medals in her open hand. The Medal of Valor had a red ribbon. The Medal of Supreme Sacrifice had a blue ribbon.

    "This is one medal I hope you never get, Patrick," Vina said.

    "Me, too," Brown said.

    Both medals are awarded posthumously. Brown already had most of the others. He kept driving us down to Tavern on the Green, where the fallen firefighters' families were to have lunch.

    As we stepped from the car into the sunshine, Vina handed the medals back to young John. The Drennans went inside with Brown, and they were joined by Fire Chaplain Mychal Judge.

    Judge had been with the family through the 40 days of the older John Drennan's terrible suffering. He had come to seem part of the family himself.

    Afterward, the Drennans returned to a house in Staten Island that now had an empty chair at the dining table. The continuing routines of life included the laundry, and Vina took young John's pants from the wash to discover she had run them through with one of the medals in the pocket.

    "It's probably the first medal that ever went through the laundry," Vina would later say.

    The medal was fine, but the same could not be said for the ribbon. Vina left it as it was and lived on from one day to the next with young John and her three daughters. Judge was always there. Brown remained their guardian angel.

    "When it was over, when it got lonely, when it got quiet, when it got scary, Paddy was there for us still," Vina wrote in her journal.

    In time, two of the three daughters started families of their own and the third moved to the Pacific Northwest. Young John became as decent and delightful a person as ever worked in the financial industry, or for that matter any other.

    "He's a great kid," Brown said.

    Brown corrected himself.

    "I mean young man."

    Heard the plane

    On Sept. 11 of last year, young John was coming out of the PATH train downtown when he heard the first plane hit the World Trade Center. He telephoned his mother.

    Vina had just seen the news break over TV. She knew Brown would have raced down there, on duty or not. She also knew he would still be inside when the towers came down.

    At that moment, Vina needed nobody more than she needed Mychal Judge, but he had also perished. She attended his funeral with her grandson Drew in her lap.

    After Brown's funeral, we scattered his ashes at the top of the Great Lawn in Central Park. Vina sang "God Bless America."

    Last week, Brown's brother Mike called Vina and asked her to join his family at this year's Fire Department memorial. There were too many fallen firefighters to gather on Riverside Drive. The observance would instead be at Madison Square Garden, at the corner of Seventh Ave. and what has been renamed Father Mychal Judge St.

    Yesterday morning, Vina and the Browns joined the other families of the fallen on the floor of the Garden. She greeted Judge's twin sister, Dympna Judge Jessich, in Row A and took a seat with the Browns in Row K.

    The names of the fallen were read and when the recitation came to "Capt. Patrick J. Brown," the only consolation was he could not have been in better company. His smiling face flashed on the big screens and then came the next name and face and the next and the next.

    Tears fell, big and silent. A chill seeped up from hockey ice below the temporary flooring.

    After the final name, the gathering rose as one in a standing ovation that seemed determined to prove these comrades lived on in spirit. The applause grew even louder when a panning camera flashed 7-year-old Terence Stackpole on the big screens. He was the image of his fallen father, Capt. Timothy Stackpole.

    At the end, the white-gloved department escorts presented each family with a polished wooden case containing four medals, including a World Trade Center medal and a medal from the international union.

    And then there were the Medal of Valor and the Medal of Supreme Sacrifice, the ones that Patrick Brown said he hoped he would never get as he drove the Drennans away from the memorial exactly eight years before.

    Mike Brown was carrying the medals as he came out of the Garden with his family and Vina. Everyone had cried and a light rain was still falling as if it were joining them, as if this day had been more than the sky itself could bear.


    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/stor...7p-25237c.html

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    FDNY's Fallen Honored

    FDNY's Fallen Honored

    By William Murphy
    STAFF WRITER

    October 12, 2002, 5:20 PM EDT


    The applause went on and on and on.

    For more than 6 1/2 minutes, a sea of blue-clad firefighters, along with family and friends, stood in Madison Square Garden yesterday and pounded their hands together, cheered and whistled for the city's fallen firefighters, including the 343 who perished Sept. 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center.

    Every time the applause showed signs of flagging, it burst back to life. It turned rhythmic after 31/2 minutes and was brought back by a throaty roar from the crowd at 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood at the podium with the master of ceremonies, Battalion Chief Brian Dixon, who tried a few times to resume the program, only to give up and smile out at the 20,000-plus throng.

    The people in the standing-room-only audience did not stop until they were ready to let go.

    The solemn, tightly orchestrated ceremony -- a mix of brief speeches from fire professionals and elected officials and songs both sung and played on bagpipes -- kept closely to schedule, starting 10 minutes late but finishing at 12:30 p.m., a half-hour earlier than expected.

    Every family on the floor of the arena was presented with medals of valor from a uniformed firefighter before the Emerald Society Pipes & Drums marched four abreast onto the middle of the floor.

    Two columns of two band members stood back to back, each facing a section of the family seating area. A single bagpiper began to play "America the Beautiful" in the hushed arena, and the band joined in with a crash of drums and a crescendo from the pipes.

    The invitation-only audience gave enthusiastic ovations to Irish tenor Ronan Tynan for renditions of "You Raise Me Up" and "God Bless America."

    Dixon told the audience that thousands of firefighters from around the world were outside, watching the ceremony on trailer-mounted jumbo television screens on the streets around the Garden.

    Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, who took office Jan. 1, said he did not know the dead firefighters.

    "All I know of them is what I have seen in you, and what I have seen in you ... has been truly extraordinary," Scoppetta said.

    He urged the firefighters to persevere. "Time and again, you will have to draw on those qualities you have shown in the past year," the commissioner said.

    In addition to the firefighters who died on Sept. 11, the ceremony honored nine others who died in the past two years, three retired firefighters who were safety directors at the trade center and died on Sept. 11, and a member of the civilian Fire Patrol who died at the trade center. The memorial service included all those lost since November 2000, because last year's service was canceled after the terrorist attack.

    Before the ceremony began, the audience watched as the large screens showed thousands of firefighters marching up Eighth Avenue from 14th Street. The march included 356 firefighters carrying American flags to honor each of the dead.

    Minutes later, a videotape of Firefighter Vernon Cherry singing the national anthem was played in the Garden. Cherry, who was killed on Sept. 11, had sung the anthem at a previous department ceremony.

    Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who feuded with firefighters after Sept. 11, got a warm response from the crowd, although many uniformed firefighters did not applaud him.

    "I wish like all of you we could turn the clock back, clear our eyes and make it all go away, but we cannot," Giuliani said.

    Bloomberg told the crowd to never forget the sacrifices of Sept. 11.

    "I want you to remember their heroic spirit," the mayor said. "Our city always will, and we will never forget them."

    Copyright

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    'We're All Brothers'

    'We're All Brothers'

    By Joshua Robin
    Staff Writer

    An autograph request from a fellow subway passenger couldn't lift the two firefighters' grief and anger.

    The colleagues from a Red Hook station had a lot on their minds: firefighter-brothers who died last year, their stalled union contract and paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyles, and nagging thoughts that the memorial at Madison Square Garden would be nothing more than a photo-op for politicians.

    "We lost five guys in our company and we're sitting in the nosebleeds," said Mike Golding, 34, of Engine Company 279.

    He and Roger Kilfoil, a Ladder Company 131 colleague at the same house, which lost five men Sept. 11, 2001, signed the admirer's notebook.

    Then, they wearily ascended from the 34th Street platform to join scores of other burly men, like them clad in ironed navy pants and dress caps.

    Golding had blue bags under his eyes. His shift at a Brooklyn pub where he tends bar to make extra money ended at 5 a.m. -- about four hours earlier. But he didn't even consider missing the ceremony.

    "It's our day of mourning and we do it every year," Golding explained.

    "Guys gotta do it," Kilfoil added. "They gotta be here."

    Yesterday's ceremony wasn't like others they have attended since both joined the department 10 years ago. Not only was there the sheer number of fallen, but the memorial came a day after a labor rally that pitted firefighters demanding a raise against a city facing a $5-billion to $6-billion budget gap in the fiscal year beginning July 1.

    "I work a full-time job, so he can stay home with the kids," said Susan McDade of Oceanside, referring to the time her husband, a Fire Department lieutenant, spends with their children after a normal work week. Outside the Garden, a persistent cold rain made starched uniforms into a sodden second skin.

    Firefighters whose jackets bore patches from a thousand different companies from around the world echoed their New York City colleagues' concerns.

    "The guys are way underpaid for the job they do," said Michael Ritchie, a firefighter in Burnaby, British Columbia, about two hours north of Seattle.

    Starting salaries between the departments are somewhat comparable -- a New York recruit makes about $30,000 and his Burnaby counterpart about $7,000 less. But life is a lot cheaper there, Ritchie said. Others outside, from as far away as Italy, Germany and France, lined Eighth Avenue and gathered in front of television screens telecasting the ceremony. They carried flags and admired New York for the first time, taking shelter under awnings with coffee and beer bottles.

    Leonard Andolec, 60, a firefighter from Euclid, Ohio, strained his neck to look at the different patches. Before long, tears joined raindrops on his checks.

    "I see guys from Italy, from France, they're wearing helmets," he said. "We're all brothers ... I just can't tell you what's in my heart. The sadness."

    Copyright

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    Annual FDNY memorial has greater meaning this year

    Annual FDNY memorial has greater meaning this year

    By April Capochino
    Times Herald-Record
    acapochino@th-record.com


    New York

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