By Jay Shaw
Editor’s note: Winnipeg firefighter Jay Shaw, a regular contributor to Fire Fighting in Canada, is in New York City for the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Jay and his travel companions, Winnipeg firefighter Phil Kennedy and Calgary firefighter Darren Tomczak, will check in regularly.
New York City, Sept. 11, 2011 – Yesterday, we met up with the FDNY boys from Engine 44 and 65 house, swapped stories, traded some pins and took pictures – a real great group of firefighters. We saw Times Square; it is way bigger than I thought it would be, and really tops Vegas in my books. The top of the Rockefeller center served up some nice pictures with our Fire Fighting in Canada banner, and the pizza here is amazing.
By Jay Shaw
However, before I get to the good stuff, I have to say the NYC cabs are crazy. We actually were scared for our lives, as every cabbie was full-on gas or brake. The subway was so crowded I actually though there was some fire code we were breaking. Transportation in this city is a major issue.
Walking to the subway, we were swamped by two full-out parades and a massive street festival, and had to veer several blocks due to congestion to get to the church for the 9-11 prayer service. We rounded the corner to a wall of thousands of firefighter from all over the world, and of course we saw some Canadians. Markham, Ont., Fire Station 95 was represented with Collin Francis and Blair Gallant. We were to meet up with them later last night in Times Square to inspect some establishments for safety.
As I started filming the marching procession, I could feel my eyes start to water and my emotions started to get the best of me. I held it together, barely. As we stood there and saluted the members, I could see our Markham brothers standing at attention in their Class As, and I was proud to see other Canadians among us.
Today, we have been invited to the FDNY major celebration as members have been told to stay away from Ground Zero. We assemble with them at 8:46 a.m., exactly when the first plane hit the North Tower.
At sunset, after the politicians have had their day at Ground Zero, we will return to Engine 10, Ladder 10, and witness the full 80-piece FDNY band perform what I can only guess will be the most moving part of the journey.