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Archive for September 11th, 2011

The Boulevard of Bravery

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Word came to me that Jimmy Van Bramer, who is my local City Council representative, was going to conduct a ceremony in Woodside at the firehouse of the Rescue 4 Unit. Designed to honor the members of that storied unit of the FDNY who fell in the line of duty on September 11, the event was scheduled for noon.

I packed up the camera, and accompanied again by the Charismatic Croat, set off for Woodside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Rescue 4 was hit particularly hard by the attack on 911, and Mr. Van Bramer had gathered several prominent members of the local political establishment and fire unions. Along with family members of the fallen, they came here to designate this corner of Queens Blvd., where Rescue 4 (and Engine 292) is housed, as “The Boulevard of Bravery”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A subject I normally won’t touch with a ten foot pole, September 11th is the stuff of history now, ready for postmodern interpretation and analogy. Future scholars will build careers upon the topic, discussing its ramifications and debating deeper meanings.

Ten years, from a historical point of view, is nothing.

It’s 2051 at the earliest that the subject will be able to be discussed apolitically, and probably much further into the future.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The turnout for the event was massive, with several retired firefighters and a coterie of political stars, as well as an enormous mainstream media presence- which is rare in Queens. Also in attendance were the Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Corps of the FDNY. In the audience were several people who had lost a loved one in Manhattan, ten years prior, family and friends alike.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Then, of course, there were the Firemen.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in previous posts, despite my advancing age and infirmities, it still takes a great deal of effort for me not to chase after a speeding fire truck yelling “firemen, firemen” in the same manner as I did as a small child.

Ten years ago, it was custom to break into spontaneous applause when a fire unit passed by, and few if any FDNY personnel had to pay for their own drinks at any saloon where their affiliation was known.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After unveiling the street sign mounted on a post above Queens Blvd. along with family members of those lost from the Rescue 4 detail on September 11th, Mr Van Bramer presented the unit Captain with a duplicate sign, presumably for display within the firehouse.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Then the Drums sang out and the Pipers began to roar, and the Emerald Society performed the hymnal “Amazing Grace”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The admonition offered by the attendant clergy (and by a few of the politicians), who led a spiritual moment of prayer for the deceased, was to perform some sort of good deed today.Render some sort of good natured action for another, which would honor the occasion, and which was referred to as a national day of service.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 11, 2011 at 2:53 am

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