Monday, September 19, 2016

Private Man, Public Servant

This is perhaps my "favorite although I wish it was not necessary" week of the year:  Tunnel to Towers Week.  Sunday morning, the Missus and I shall again participate in what has become for us an annual rite of Autumn and on this, the 15th anniversary edition of the event, we shall again do so in the company of 20,000 or so other people.  An extraordinary day.  Simply an extraordinary day. 

FF Andrew Brunn - Ladder Co. 5

Tunnel to Towers Sunday is an extraordinary day - in large part - because it celebrates the sacrifice of the men and women who died on September 11, 2001 while doing all they were capable of doing to try and save countless thousands of men and women, most of whom they did not know and would not meet.  It celebrates the sacrifice of individuals such as FF Andrew Brunn of Ladder Co. 5

At age 28, FF Brunn had only been with the FDNY for a few months when he was killed on September 11, 2001 while he and his commanding officer were trying to help civilians escape the South Tower.  His body was found on the building's fifth floor.  They were two of the eleven casualties that Ladder Co. 5 absorbed on that terrible day.  FF Brunn was a relative newcomer as a firefighter but - at age 28 - he was a seasoned veteran in the realm of helping others.  He graduated from Hicksville, N.Y. High School in 1991 and joined the Air National Guard, in which he served overseas in Germany and in Iraq.  At age 21, he joined the NYPD, first walking a beat in Harlem and eventually being promoted to sergeant.  In May, 2001, he left the NYPD to join the FDNY.  His first house, Ladder Co. 5, proved also to be his last. 

He and his wife, Sigalit, were two weeks from closing on their new home when FF Brunn was killed.  The couple had actually been scheduled to close prior to September 11 but, three or four days before he died, an inspection of their new home's porch revealed that it was not up to code.  The closing was delayed.    It was rescheduled for September 25, 2001.  Two weeks.  At the time, it probably felt like no time at all. 

Until in a New York minute, when everything changed...

...and then even holding on tooth and nail proved to not make a goddamn bit of difference.  



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