SI Firefighters Mark End Of WTC Recovery Effort At Rescue 5
05/30/2002 06:33 PM
Instead of attending Thursday’s ceremony marking the end of the recovery effort at the World Trade Center, some firefighters opted to say back at their firehouses to recognize the end of the cleanup process in their own way. NY1's Roger Clark filed this report from Rescue 5 on Staten Island.
Copyright © 2008 NY1 News
Members of Rescue 5 and Engine 160 lined up for a moment of silence at the same time the moment was marked at the World Trade Center site. Afterwards, firefighters watched the downtown ceremony on television in a room filled with memories of the living co-workers lost on September 11.
“It was heartbreaking,” said firefighter Gerry Koenig. “As much as I know it’s finished down there, it’s still heartbreaking to leave.”
“It opened up some old wounds,” added Lieutenant Dennis Driscoll. “We've been through a lot of ceremonies in the community, but this was different just to see the last piece come out. We've all been up there numerous times to help out, digging and all, but this here hurts a little bit more knowing that it's over.”
Rescue 5 lost 11 members, and only two have been identified. Firefighters say that makes the event even more difficult.
“We know we can’t go back up there and try to find all of our brothers,” said Lt. Driscoll, “but now there has to be DNA identification. I hope everybody is identified that way. But it’s just not what we were really hoping for.”
Firefighter Joeeph Esposito added, “It's a shame we weren’t able bring them home ourselves. One thing we wanted to do for our families was honor them by bringing them out, but that ain’t going to happen.”
Earlier Thursday, other members of Rescue 5 accompanied widows and family of their lost brothers to the ceremony at the World Trade Center site. Firefighter Bill Spade, the only survivor of the group that responded that morning, says it was a difficult decision to attend.
“I was debating whether to go today or not, but being it’s their final resting ground, I wanted to pay my respects to the brothers,” said Spade.
But Spade also says that, amid all the sorrow, it's still time to move on.
“We have to get on, and the city needs to rebuild and get the jobs back in downtown, which effects us all economically,” said Spade. “And as far rebuilding the towers that tall, I hope that never comes to be. Maybe a museum in that area would be a nice remembrance, of which I’m sure the city can do, and then a couple other buildings. That's what I think we need.”
- Roger Clark