September 11, 2001 is now over 11 years ago, but still feels fresh.
Especially to anyone who grew up in greater New York City.
I grew up in Montgomery Township, New Jersey just north of Princeton, and from the top of Grandview Hill on a clear day, I could see the World Trade Center 50 miles away (could see the Turnpike Towers of East Brunswick much better about 20 miles away).
The World Trade Center was always the building I saw that let me New York City is coming as we approached the Newark Airport area on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Going to New York often meant going to places like the American Museum of Natural History in the Upper West Side at 81st and Central Park West, where we were long term members.
Not that far from the museum is Lincoln Center, and near that on 66th and Amsterdam Avenue and is the firehouse for Engine 40, Ladder 35. On 9/11 the house had one of the toughest days of any firehouse. 12 went down to the World Trade Center and only 1 returned, and he barely survived.
This is a book about these men, about their house, and about the camaraderie of firemen. They are all truly brothers. They live together, cook together, eat together, laugh together, sleep together, even do projects off hours together and look out for each other.
It’s a proud group of men. Proud of their job, proud of their children, proud of their wives, and generally very happy.
The experience made me think of the laughter, friendship and ribbing of the excellent drama “Rescue Me,” one of my favorite all time shows.
The book is devastating though. Eleven good men, with great lives and families crushed by the towers on that faithful day.
It’s a slow read, it’s an emotional read and I recommend it. Excellent reporting by David Halberstam.