Published: December 21, 2003

As long as there are firefighters, there will be firefighters' funerals.

They are ritual events, always the same: A sea of men in navy uniforms lined up on the street outside. The casket brought forth atop a fire truck. The dead man's helmet carried in by a willing comrade. Drums and bagpipes. "Amazing Grace."

Yesterday, this honor was given to Firefighter Thomas C. Brick, who died last Tuesday battling a fire in an Upper Manhattan warehouse. It was a large fire, four alarms, and especially ferocious, fire officials said. Firefighter Brick had been among the first men rushing in.

He was a rookie, and the first man to die in the first class of firefighters to join the city's Fire Department after 9/11. His death