Friday, August 29, 2014

The Iron Man

One of my favorite parts of the time I spent - a lifetime ago - working for my older brother Kelly as he built one structure or another (aside from acquiring the nickname "Little Dano", which made sense only in the context that years earlier a number of his friends had hung the sobriquet "Dano" on him) was listening to him talk about the history of building.  New York City was always a great source of information and inspiration for him and these tutorials with its endless number of magnificent skyscrapers and - of course - its bridges and tunnels.  Perhaps it is that passion for it which has given him the innate ability to build absolutely anything.  Me?  I consider it a victory when I stack the dishes in the cabinet and they do not fall over.  One of us has skills.  The other one is a lawyer...

Among the passengers on United Flight 93 on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was William Joseph Cashman.  Mr. Cashman was a Jersey guy - albeit one who had been born in Hell's Kitchen in New York City - who lived in West New York, New Jersey with Maggie, to whom he had been married for thirty-one years.  Mr. Cashman was an ironworker and a member of Local 46.  He spent forty years as an ironworker, helping erect some of the great structures that occupy the New York City skyline.  Among them was the World Trade Center.

Although he served the people of the City of New York for four decades in helping build the buildings that help make New York City what it is, prior to doing that he served all of the people of the United States.  Mr. Cashman was a United States Army Veteran, serving in the early 1960's as a member of "The Screaming Eagles" of the 101st Airborne Division.  

He also took it upon himself - this man known for his quiet demeanor - to give back, which is why he taught classes at night to apprentice members of Local 46, teaching the next generation of ironworkers and ensuring that both they and the city in which they would ply their craft would long benefit from their labor.

None of the ironworkers depicted in this iconic photograph is William Joseph Cashman as it was taken years before he joined their ranks.  Yet, he is in every one of them.  As they are in him.  

And as we should be as well.


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