Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

55,000 Pause in N.Y. for Fallen Firefighters; First Coast Contingents Stand with Comrades

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

55,000 Pause in N.Y. for Fallen Firefighters; First Coast Contingents Stand with Comrades

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Barker-Benfield, Times-Union correspondent

NEW YORK -- In a way, the gloomy weather was just about the right accompaniment for the memorial ceremony held here yesterday.

There was a gusting day-long soaking rain, and the tops of tall buildings were wreathed in clouds as an estimated 55,000 people gathered to honor 356 city firefighters killed in the line of duty, including 343 killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.

"I couldn't think of anywhere else I'd rather be right now," said Darnell Harris, one of 29 Jacksonville firefighters who joined fellow firefighters from around the world for the ceremony.

"It's a very heartfelt occasion," said Lt. Elly Byrd, a member of the Jacksonville group. Three months before Sept. 11 she and her children had stayed in the hotel in the World Trade Center complex. The hotel no longer exists.

The assembled firefighters, their bagpipe bands, and color bearers stretched down Eighth Avenue for nearly 2 miles. They included contingents from across the U.S. and Canada, from Boston to Orange County, Calif., from Nova Scotia to Vancouver. Firefighters from Europe included groups from Britain and France. Even little Luxembourg. Mexico was represented, as were Japan and Australia.

"I came up here to pay my respects, just like everyone else up here -- to pay my respects to our fallen brothers," said Todd Pelletier, another Jacksonville firefighter.

The ceremony was held inside Madison Square Garden and restricted to 25,000 people with a direct relationship to those who died. About 30,000 outside the arena watched the ceremony from giant television screens that showed pictures of the firefighters, some in crisp formal uniforms, others in wedding tuxedos and many holding children.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said those who died "remind the nation of the gallant heroes of our past."

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani addressed the families directly, saying the firefighters who were lost would not want their loved ones to dwell on their grieving. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.