Heartrending Roll Call at 9/11 Memorial

It took just five seconds to recite the name, rank and company of a single firefighter killed on 9/11. It took just five seconds to recite the name, rank and company of a single firefighter killed on 9/11.It took just five seconds to recite the name...


It took just five seconds to recite the name, rank and company of a single firefighter killed on 9/11. It took just five seconds to recite the name, rank and company of a single firefighter killed on 9/11.

It took just five seconds to recite the name, rank and company of a single firefighter killed on 9/11.

Repeated a total of 343 times, the list took nearly an hour to recite as a sea of blue-uniformed firefighters stood at attention before the Fireman's Memorial on Riverside Drive yesterday.

They listened. They remembered. They honored the dead. And they shared their grief. They came together to celebrate the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.

"Most of us lost some good friends down there, some of whom have never been found," said Battalion Chief James Nichols.

He led the memorial service that included prayers, songs and the reading aloud of all 343 names by members of the FDNY who stood at the top of the stairs leading to the monument.

"Fred Ill - one of the firefighters who read the names - one of the names was his father's," Nichols said.

"That was a very difficult thing for him to do. And he didn't even flinch."

After each name was read, a bell tolled.

In addition to the firefighters gathered, there were family members of those who died.

Judith Muffs, 76, lives in the neighborhood. She sang along with a firefighter who performed the national anthem.

"For months afterwards, I'd join other people here every day," she said. She was there again yesterday.

"It's the only thing I could do," she said.

As the final song played, Maureen Comiskey stood silently with her 8-year-old son Barry's arms wrapped around her shoulders.

He hugged her and bowed his blond head to her dark-blue dress and listened.