Friday, September 9, 2016

Stars and Stripes Forever

It was a late Indian summer morning almost fall
Sue St. Therese had it all...

FDNY firefighters Daniel McWilliams and George Johnson, members of Brooklyn-based Ladder Company 157, and FDNY firefighter William Eisengrein, a childhood friend of McWilliams and a member of Brooklyn's Rescue 2, spent hours on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 searching through the rubble of the World Trade Center for survivors, both civilians and fellow members of the FDNY.  It was a long and heartbreaking day. 

However, at some point that day, as afternoon started to cede the stage to evening, these three men did something simple yet extraordinary.  

FF George Johnson, FF Daniel McWilliams 
& FF William Eisengrein (left to right)
Photo credit:  Thomas Franklin, Bergen Record

Their story and the story of how it was that Thomas Franklin of the Bergen Record came to be where he was to capture this iconic image is a story that I found to be more than worthy of the time I invested in reading it.  I commend it to your attention

It has been said - at least once or twice - that every picture tells a story.  In this particular story, even the flag has a story worth telling - and worth reading.  Again, I commend this piece to your attention and anticipate that you shall find - as I did - that the time spent reading it was time well spent.  
To the surprise of no one, the three FDNY firefighters who Franklin's lens happened to find at precisely the right moment, continued to spend their lives serving and protecting the people of the City of New York.  As of September, 2014, William Eisengrein was still a member of Rescue 2 in Brooklyn with more than a quarter-century of service in the FDNY.  His childhood friend, Dan McWilliams, had risen to the rank of Lieutenant and was assigned to Battalion 37 in Brooklyn. George Johnson had attained the rank of Battalion Chief and was, too, working in Brooklyn.   


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