WABC - New York
(New York-WABC, November 1, 2001) -- Thursday morning brought a poignant graduation ceremony in Brooklyn. The honorees were the newly trained firefighters, now ready to join the force. It was a time of mixed emotions, as the newest members of New York's Bravest prepared to replace many of those who were lost on September 11th. Lisa Colagrossi reports from Flatbush with more.
The ceremony wrapped up just before noon Thursday. It was a graduation ceremony that normally would be full of joy, but was mixed with sadness this year. Six of the 246 probationary firefighters were among the more than 300 FDNY firefighters who died in the World Trade Center attack.
The ceremony began by remembering those who were lost. The families of those six 'probies,' as they are called, received their diplomas as the others stood at attention. The great loss seemed to more clearly define the new firefighters' sense of duty, as they received words of encouragement Thursday.
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, New York City: "Remember their are doing something that gives them a kind of distinction that nobody else has. There is nobody in our society that is more respected now than the New York Fire Department."
FDNY Commissioner Thomas Von Essen said this class of firefighters is very unique because they have already the most memorable day of their careers, adding that he hopes they never again have to deal with anything like it.