After returning home from New York this evening, I am overwhelmed at the whole experience as I reflect on the events of the weekend. It took me a year, but I finally made it and will never forget the things I saw and experienced.

For 3 days, I mingled amongst some of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The biggest honor was being part of history in the making as thousands upon thousands of firefighters from all over the world came to pay their respects. What hit me the most was the sea of firefighters from Toronto, London (Canada)and Winnepeg who marched alongside other departments I have never even heard of. I'm sure there were many who never heard of my department. The 5 of us paled in comparison to the 700 who came down from Toronto.

It seemed like a long time before we all began the march but that didn't stop firefighters from being firefighters. The competetive nature came out in many who took it upon themselves to take pictures of their crew from high spots near the line up. It began with a firefighter going into a nearby building and emerging on a 1 story over-hang, to climbing a light post all the way to 3 firefighters climbing the inside of a 10 story building, coming out on the roof and climbing up a large billboard to take pictures. If there had been a blimp out there circling the line up area someone would have found a way to get in it and take pictures!

One thing was very clear as we all marched side by side...we are all brothers and there are no borders when it comes to firefighting. We tell the same jokes, drink the same beer and all have a profound respect for the firefighters of the FDNY.

Probably the thing that choked me up the most was a point on the procession when we had all stopped waiting for others to catch up.
We were in the middle of an intersection holding up traffic and you could hear a pin drop. Suddenly a lady and her daughter emerged from an apartment window about 10 floors up and yelled down "Hello" several times. It was so quiet, you could hear her and her daughter yelling to us. One or two of us started by waving back and within 30 seconds, thousands of firefighters were waving and yelling back to them. For a moment at least....we all made them feel they were on top of the world.

Sorry for the long winded post but I had to get it out. Those 3 days in New York will always be the highpoint of my career. God Bless all of you who showed up to pay your respects!


Brett