The following is my tribute to the firefighters of New York City. It was written by Steve Dunleavey in the Post today, and I shamelessly cut and pasted it because those venal cocksuckers wanted $250 bucks for copyright permissions…fukkem. This story just about says it all…read on
September 11, 2002 — ON THAT day, there were 8 million stories in this naked city. One year later, I merely offer one.
“Change? Oh yes, I have changed,” said firefighter Brian Harvey of Engine 236.
“I don’t get angry any more about small things. Small things you get angry about? Ridiculous.”
Tony Palmentieri, one of his partners, was saying: “Keith Glasco, who died there, comes back in a strange way.
“You see someone who might look like him or someone uses some phrase that he would use – and it comes back.”
“At his funeral, his 2-year-old son, Nolan, was playing around, not knowing what was going on.
“How do you tell a 2-year-old kid, his daddy, a firefighter, was gone.
“His wife, Veronica, was pregnant at the time of the funeral. Sure it changes you. God.
Battalion Chief Hugh Mulligan says: “I relive so many moments of my comrades who passed on. Not only firefighters, cops – all of them. Of course you change. Honestly. Haven’t you? I pray a lot more.”
Harvey. Palmentieri. Mulligan. The fourth horseman of that apocalypse, Peter Strahl, was not at the firehouse of Engine 236 in Brooklyn.
He is retired on disability with a serious throat condition. I wonder how that happened?
Firefighters, cops, military men cringe at the word “hero” – so that is the last time you will hear it from me.
Just the facts, ma’am:
Under the command of Mulligan, Harvey shinnies down an ash-covered gash in the ground, 35 feet deep.
Down below, he sees a tiny hole, a tunnel down there in the abyss. No gas mask, no oxygen tank, nuttin’, honey.
“I just kept shouting out: ‘Anyone there?’ ”
Harvey is about to give up because of the silence.
Suddenly, Lenny Ardizzone from Staten Island, trapped for eight hours in the hell hole, shouts back: “I’m here! Over here!”
Harvey yells to his three comrades. They come down that ash-laden, gas-ridden 35-foot hole to that little tunnel.
“We figured if we could get through the small tunnel, in front of us, 35 feet down we might get through to this voice.”
Trouble was that little tunnel was 2 feet wide and about 11/2 feet high.
Everybody had been warned that No. 7 at the World Trade Center was about to collapse . . . right on them, making that tunnel their tomb.
Lying on their backs to get maximum clearance, like Vietnam-era tunnel rats, they use their heels to propel themselves.
That little tunnel is 300 feet long. And when they see Lenny from Staten Island, he’s 20 feet above them on a sheer cliff.
“We got up there, and Lenny was in bad shape,” said Brian.
“To get down and through that tunnel, we put Lenny on Brian’s back,” said Chief Mulligan.
Brian, on his stomach, carries Lenny on his back, like a human sled, through that awful, nasty little tunnel.
His partners have to hold on to Lenny, who is suffering multiple fractures, in case he can’t keep his grip or just passes out.
Three-hundred feet later they get Lenny to a clearance and then organize the help to lift him up that 35-foot well under No. 7.
“Lenny just kept saying ‘Thank you,’ – as he does to this day when he calls,” Brian was saying.
Tony Palmentieri and Peter Strahl, while waiting for Lenny to be lifted from that well, start searching for other possible survivors.
But they come back with some news.
“There was an expanding fire below and noxious gas coming to our area. Those men didn’t move before Lenny was lifted to safety,” said Chief Mulligan.
Twenty minutes later, No. 7 collapses. What can you say about that?
Well, I promised not to use the “hero” word, but what the hell, sue me.