Dennis Smith Commentary: When the Bravest Battle Themselves

But the reports on the tragic Staten Island incident have failed to discuss one key element: The dynamics of living differ from firehouse to firehouse, just as they do from home to home among families.

Kevin Rampe, the president of the LMDC, has said that the whole redevelopment of the World Trade Center will, in effect, be a memorial. He's wrong about that, but he will probably go on to be president of the Port Authority. The firefighters, who are right to feel let down, will stay in their firehouses waiting for the next alarm.

Why is it that Gov. Pataki seems to understand that (as Edward Gibbon said) it takes both freedom and virtue to make a society work, but is dismissive of the truly virtuous - those men and women, cops and firefighters, who chose to go up those stairs to help people survive?

Dennis Smith, Founding Editor of Firehouse Magazine, is the author of 12 Books, including "Report from Engine Company 82" and "Report from Ground Zero."