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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.

Sept. 12, 2011, New York City - Canada is here!

I have never been more proud to be a Canadian firefighter than I am today. The Canadian fire service was represented in full force from so many regions at last nights 9-11 memorial it was magnificent. From west to east, we can proudly to say we were here.

September 12, 2011
By Jay Shaw

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Sept. 12, 2011, New York City – Canada is here!

I have never been more proud to be a Canadian firefighter than I am today. The Canadian fire service was represented in full force from so many regions at last nights 9-11 memorial it was magnificent. From west to east, we can proudly to say we were here. Yesterday afternoon, I took a boat cruise around lower Manhattan that gets you up close with Lady Liberty. As we boarded, we were met with no fewer than 25 Canadian firefighters from eastern Canada. The conversation quickly turned to identifying who is in NYC, and where are they. I believe every province is represented and many small departments are here – on their own dimes – out of a sense of necessity. We talked shop, told tales, and generally reflected on our experiences, and where we where 10 years ago. Most of my new friends signed our FFIC banner and a few pictures have already been posted.

While having dinner at a 7th Street pub with about 30 other firefighters from across Canada and the U.S., we heard some sirens outside from Engine 54, Ladder 8 house, where all of the members died on 9-11; every single firefighter working that day perished. We walked outside and saw a pipe-and-drum band just starting to set up and salute the crew from Engine 54. If you go to the Fire Fighting in Canada Facebook page you will see this amazing video.

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An update on yesterday’s 343 plus one posting.

I left my travelling team in the capable hands of some of Chicago’s best firefighters. I needed to get my head wrapped around our big day tomorrow and get some writing done. We have been granted a private tour of Tribute WTC, which is right beside Ten House at Ground Zero and I needed sleep.

As I walked the nine blocks east to our hotel, I passed Times Square and briefly talked to some Montreal firefighter who were heading home as well.

As I continued east, the city block ahead was much darker, as the neon billboards of Times Square make night time look like the day. The building that was the darkest had very little lighting and something caught my eye, as I had seen this building a few times so far.

The Saks Fifth Avenue department store had removed all of its famous window displays and laid large black cloth in all of its massive windows. The cloth listed the names of all of the victims of 9-11, in alphabetical order. I was staring at the S section and I traced back words walking briskly to see if I could find him. After a whole block I turned the corner and continued only to find I was at J. One more turn – almost circling the entire department store – and I found the name I was looking for, Welles Crowther, the man in the red bandanna.

I photographed his name and touched the glass, and told him his parents would be proud.

welles_crowther  
The Saks Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan replaced its usual window displays with a black cloth listing the names of all of the victims of 9-11, including Welles Crowther, whose parents Jay met a day earlier. Photo by Jay Shaw.  


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