Bravest B'klyn faces adorn memorial wall


Hundreds gathered in Coney Island yesterday for a special Palm Sunday Mass honoring the lives of the Brooklyn firefighters killed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The service was held at the Ebbets Field Wall of Remembrance, a granite memorial erected at KeySpan Park in December in honor of the 116 fallen Bravest who worked in Brooklyn firehouses.

"People come to Coney Island to enjoy life," Fire Department Chaplain Msgr. John Delendick told the crowd near the famed boardwalk, beneath a bright blue sky.

"This wall speaks to us of life - not death," he added. "When we come here, we can think of their lives. We can think of all the things they enjoyed when they were alive."

The 20-foot-by-12-foot memorial, which includes engraved portraits of the 116 men, was the idea of local businessman Sol Moglen, 63, who raised the money for the tribute.

Enduring images

Family members laid bouquets of flowers at the base of the wall and squeezed photographs and prayer cards into grooves next to their loved ones' images.

Jeanette Schardt, 34, who was pregnant with her third son when her husband - John Schardt, 34, of Engine 201 in Sunset Park - was killed in the attacks, said she cherishes the wall as a place to celebrate his memory.

"I want my sons to remember their father's life, to remember him as a real person," she said, as her boys - Robert, 4, Christopher, 2, and John Jr., 11 months - played nearby. "When I look at my husband's picture, it hurts, but at the same time I'm very proud of who he was."

Originally published on April 14, 2003

Kerin McAleese, 2, whose uncle Brian McAleese was among 116 Brooklyn firefighters killed Sept. 11, 2001, touches image on Ebbets Field Wall of Remembrance at KeySpan Park yesterday.