Monday, October 5, 2015

FIREHOUSE by David Halberstam

When I first saw this book at my local Good Will store it was not yet the anniversary date of 9-11.  Originally my goal was to read it before 9-11 as a way of honoring this momentous date and my brother fire fighters who died that day.  Nevertheless, it would be nearly a month later that the book was finished.

I especially like the picture of the book seen here, opened so that both front and back are visible.  For the book is largely about the 12 men pictured there who died in the collapse of Trade Center towers.  The author weaves a story of life at the firehouse, the personal backgrounds of the deceased firefighters complete with accounts of family and friends and various individual stories, and ends with the memorials and recovery efforts to reclaim their physical remains.  As a firefighter I appreciated this book on a level I might not have without the past 12 years experience on my department.  Although these men were career firefighters there is a commonality to which I could relate: pride in ones work, the reality of danger and death, a sense of loyalty to the department, fulfillment of engaging in a service to ones community.  Rarely do fire fighters perish so suddenly and so completely. Only one man in the original crew survived, and he was so badly injured that it was almost surprising that he did live. 

This book is a wonderful tribute to true heroes who saw themselves merely as public servants doing their job.  We will never know what went through their minds in those fateful moments leading to their deaths, but if there was fear it never kept them from doing the unthinkable: rushing in to a place doomed to destruction.  I highly recommend reading this book as a reminder of the sacrifice of this day, a sacrifice we dare never forget.

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