Saturday, August 20, 2016

Making Change

FF James Gray, - Ladder 20

For six years prior to joining the FDNY, FF James Gray of Ladder 20 wore a different uniform in the service of the people of New York City.  He drove a bus for New York City Transit.  Being a firefighter, however, was in his blood.  His dad, Patrick, retired from the FDNY as a Lieutenant whose last assignment was at Ladder Co. 9 in Manhattan.  When his chance to join the FDNY appeared in October 1996 he did not hesitate.  

Nor did he and his mates from Ladder 20 hesitate on what turned out to be the final morning of their lives for seven of them.  They were en route to the World Trade Center before the first alarm sounded.  The seven men were last seen on the 35th floor of the North Tower immediately prior to its collapse. 

FF Gray, who was only thirty-four years old at the time of his death, and his wife, Jean Marie, were the parents of two little girls who were just eight (Colleen) and six (Caitlin) at the time of his death.  He was working an overtime shift on September 11, 2001 and had called home that morning at or about 7:30 am to speak with his wife and to wish his two daughters a good day at school.  It proved to be the last time that Jean Marie, Colleen, or Caitlin would ever hear his voice. 

On a day replete with memories of things most horrible, it is nice that they all have a most wonderful memory upon which to rely and to cherish. 


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