Editor’s note: Winnipeg firefighter Jay Shaw, a regular contributor
to Fire Fighting in Canada, heads to New York City on Friday, Sept. 9,
for the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the World
Trade Center. Jay will blog regularly about this emotional journey.
Sept. 7, 2011
Winnipeg – I decided in January that I wanted to go to New York City for the 10th anniversary of 9-11.
There many reasons why I felt the need to go to NYC – so many that they
would take up this whole blog – but the main reason is that, as a
firefighter, I felt a connection to the tragedy of 9-11. Firefighters
have a lot of knowledge of the job – the brotherhood, climbing the
stairs of a highrise in full gear. The similarities can put us in the
shoes of the FDNY members and we can, therefore, relate, on some level,
to what happened that day, how they responded, and the immense tragedy
that 9-11 has become.
But the similarities end there, as I struggle to comprehend the 343
deaths, the increased cancer rates and the poor treatment from
government post 9-11 when the cameras went away.
I have never been to the Big Apple and I took a leap of faith and threw out the idea to a brother and to Fire Fighting in Canada.
Immediately, a working plan was created and the idea was shaping into
reality as a close firefighter friend agreed to go along for the ride.
Two months ago, a third firefighter from Calgary jumped aboard, and the
travelling roster looks like this:
Firefighter/PCP Jay Shaw, Winnipeg Fire Department; firefighter Phil
Kennedy, Winnipeg Fire Department; firefighter Darren Tomczak, Calgary
Firefighters from across North America and the world were in New York
City for the World Police and Fire games Aug. 26 through Sept. 5. There
is no rest for NYC, as shortly after the games closed, the next round of
visitors embarked on a journey to pay respects to the 343 FDNY
firefighters who perished in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.
I have found, through social media, firefighters from the U.K.,
Netherlands, and all over the United States who are travelling this
memorial event. It reminds my in some way of the pilgrimage to Mecca, as
firefighters across the globe feel a magnetizing pull toward New York.
Our goal is to attend some of the many memorial services, visit some
firehouses and meet members who responded to the WTC on 9-11. I want to
tell them that Canadian firefighters support the FDNY in efforts to get
better medical coverage for the enormous jump in cancer rates they have
faced. We want to do the tourist thing and see the Statue of Liberty,
the Empire State Building, the fire museum and Times Square. Phil and I
are using this trip as an excuse to go for a run in Central Park and
spark some sort of fitness regiment that will last longer than our
I will blog (at least) twice a day, with pictures and stories. I hope to
bring you a firefighter’s view of what we see and what is happening at
Ground Zero. I hope you enjoy reading.
Written by Ed Brouwer on 2011-09-08 08:41:15
Wishing you guys the best. Thanks for representing. I'm sure that I am not alone when I say "I wish I was going too." We look forward to your reports. Stay safe brothers.