Sunday, September 10, 2006

In Memory of Gerard Duffy



"Greater love has no man than this- that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

How much greater a love to lay down one’s life for strangers?

When I signed up to participate in this project I looked forward to doing the research, to finding out all there was to know about Firefighter Gerard Duffy, Ladder 21. I wanted to know how long he had been a firefighter. Did being “on the job” run in his family? Did he like fishing? Nascar racing? Football? Fried chicken? How had his day begun on 9/11/01?

I didn’t find out any of these things.

I tried to talk to his brothers at Ladder 21; I wanted to hear their memories of him, I wanted to ask them how they thought he would want to be remembered, and I wanted to make sure that he was remembered just that way. I took the bus up to the firehouse at 38th and 10th, just 14 blocks from my home. The doors were all closed up tight, the whole house silent and dignified, the empty jackets with their reflective stripes hanging in loose rows near the wall, the truck sitting with one door open, ready. There was a plaque outside with his name on it and a small memorial, a cross made with a piece of the steel removed from the WTC site. I didn’t see anyone at all inside, so, disappointed, I started to slowly make my way back up to the bus stop at 9th Avenue. Halfway there, I heard the alarm sound, and a few seconds later, the truck came barreling out, there was a fire to go to. I wondered if that was the way the alarm had come, if that was the way the truck had left the house five years ago with Gerard Duffy in it, for the last time. I wondered as I saw the faces of the men in the truck, serious and brave, as it swung down 38th Street away from me, if that was how Gerard Duffy had looked five years ago on that truck on the way to hell, and then, heaven.


I tried other ways to connect with someone who may have known Gerard Duffy, because I needed to know all about him, but had no luck.

Friday night, I’m in bed crying because I want to start writing my tribute soon and I have no information, I don’t know enough about Gerard Duffy to write the kind of tribute I want to write, the kind that he surely deserves.

When I stopped crying, I realized I knew all I need to know about him.

We all know Gerard Duffy.

We know him by his actions that day and every other day that he spent as a firefighter. We know that he was doing his job that day, that day five years ago that started off like just another day for all of us, but would soon become a day like no other. We know that the alarm came, and he was called, and he, with his brothers, his friends, went down to hell. He went willingly, indeed, it was his honor to do so, to lay down his life for his brothers, for his friends, and for strangers.


Read other tributes here

21 Comments:

At Sunday, September 10, 2006 3:36:00 PM, Blogger David Ramage said...

Beautiful, poignant tribute. I hope that his family gets to see this someday. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost their lives that day, their families, and friends. And with all those who continue to suffer, as newly evident medical issues and mental trauma surface every day for thousands of the responders and residents of lower Manhattan.

I was told by my doctor on Friday, that a new Pulmonary Function Test shows lung damage that was not evident two years ago. She tells me that it is without question related to the time I spent at Ground Zero as a first responder. I'm not a smoker. So, I guess, I've become one of the victims, as well.

 
At Sunday, September 10, 2006 8:01:00 PM, Blogger Amie said...

Thanks, Ingrid. I had similar difficulties finding things on Benny - I had very little to go on. But, like you, I realized that what was important was not the little details that we couldn't find, but that these men were there at all.

 
At Sunday, September 10, 2006 9:34:00 PM, Blogger Christine said...

I think the main thing is that these people are remembered. Your post was very moving. http://christinenzl.blogspot.com/2006/09/remembering-sept-11-2001-and-capt.html

 
At Sunday, September 10, 2006 9:41:00 PM, Blogger Guinevere said...

Thanks for emailing me, Ingrid! I love your tribute. The lack of biographical information didn't stop you from writing a really poignant tribute to Mr. Duffy! I applaud your efforts.

As you pointed out, I wrote a tribute to one of the other firefighters on Ladder 21, Joseph Henry. Here's the link to his tribute: http://home.mchsi.com/~jennworl/911.html

Isn't it incredible how doing this project has impacted our lives? Wow! I stand in awe.

Have a good one!

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 12:06:00 AM, Blogger destinationbeautiful said...

I'm so thankful you left me your link. Your tribute gave me goosebumps. It was so beautiful. Thanks so much for your tribute to Gerard. It was so neat to see a picture of him too.
I'm so thankful for the 2,996 Project. I didn't think it would impact me the way it did.
Thanks again.
Brittny

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 6:17:00 AM, Blogger DEBRA said...

Ingrid

Thank you for stopping by my blog and posting.

Firstly, you did a wonderful memorial for Gerard. You are right we are all the same and we know these faces and these people. I know his family would be very touched by what you wrote for this brave firefighter. I can't help but hold a special spot in my heart for all the police officiers, firefighters and first responders who were first on the scene to help those hurt and save those that they could. They did so at total risk to themselves. As I came to know Durrell, the firefighter I honor, I found myself so sad, because he was such a wonderful man. I know that there is a special spot in heaven where he is, as I am sure there is for Gerard too.

You asked how I found out about him. I researched him on the internet. There are many sites that have information about each of the indivduals who lost their lives that day. Even 2,996 had resources that they suggested we use to help us in our memorials.

But believe me you didn't need to add anything. You wrote a moving and thoughtful tribute. Good job.

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 9:01:00 AM, Blogger Sean said...

Ingrid,

Thank you for your tribute to Gerry. I knew him a little bit, my father knew him better since he worked with him.

I am moved that you went so far as to visit E34/TL21's quarters.

There is, in fact, news footage of 21 pulling up to the WTC site. You can see their faces. I will never forget looking at that tape.

Thank you again for remembering Gerry. You did a fine job.

My tribute to Lisa Frost is up at http://theholdingpattern.wordpress.com.

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 9:01:00 AM, Blogger Sean said...

Ingrid,

Thank you for your tribute to Gerry. I knew him a little bit, my father knew him better since he worked with him.

I am moved that you went so far as to visit E34/TL21's quarters.

There is, in fact, news footage of 21 pulling up to the WTC site. You can see their faces. I will never forget looking at that tape.

Thank you again for remembering Gerry. You did a fine job.

My tribute to Lisa Frost is up at http://theholdingpattern.wordpress.com.

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 9:27:00 AM, Blogger LDS Patriot said...

Ingrid, ThankYouVeryMuch for your moving and beautiful tribute to Gerald Duffy. My tribute is for one of Gerald’s brothers at Ladder 21, Gerald T. Atwood.

http://ldspatriot.wordpress.com/2006/09/11/2996-project-911-tribute-to-gerald-t-atwood/

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 9:42:00 AM, Blogger TNChick said...

Many have little info to gather but it's really not importnant. He was a hero. You've done well in honoring Mr. Duffy.

May his family be at peace today while the anniversary of 9/11 passes.

I'm honoring FDNY's Peter Beilfeld.

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 9:43:00 AM, Blogger Jana said...

A beautiful tribute to a real hero. Here is the link to my tribute to Bill Krukowski, another member of Ladder 21.

http://janaandtheboys.blogspot.com/2006/09/honoring-william-krukowski.html

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 10:29:00 AM, Blogger Pentha said...

Wonderful tribute. You will carry Gerard Duffy in your heart forever, forever be bound to him in love and humility.

What a blessing.

Tribute to Christopher Paul Slattery

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 11:09:00 AM, Blogger KINTHEATL said...

This is beautiful...I think it's great that you went looking to speak with people to get information...I live too far from my victim to do that. You did a great job.

Karen

http://journal.aol.com/karensull12/something-to-talk-about

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 12:11:00 PM, Blogger "Heather" said...

Very nice tribute you did for Gerald Duffy!!! His family and friends would admire you for your nice words!!

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 3:27:00 PM, Blogger Freddy said...

Gerald's memory is lucky to have you. Please remember Lt Mike Fodor by visiting my tribute, and thanks for visiting me earlier.

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 4:09:00 PM, Blogger Beastarzmom said...

Beautifully done.
Another Ladder 21 tribute (Keith Alexander Glascoe) is here:
http://beastarzmom.blogspot.com/2006/09/we-remember-we-care-keith-glascoe-1962.html
Thank you for rounding up all the LT21 guys. It's wonderful to read the stories, although my heart breaks a little more each time.

 
At Tuesday, September 12, 2006 9:52:00 PM, Blogger retired ff said...

"Duff" was one of the nicest people I have ever met. Yes he did like NASCAR, he attended several events. He also liked to ski. He liked to rollerblade in Central Park between night tours. He had a good sense of humor. He was a good cook, often called "the Gravy Master". I want to thank you, from all the members past and present of E34 L21, for taking the time to honor Gerry. I worked with him for almost 12 years, I miss him. Mike Harris retired L21.

 
At Tuesday, September 08, 2009 5:27:00 PM, Blogger Donna said...

You did a great tribute with practically no information at all; I salute you.

My tributes will be up the rest of the week.

 
At Thursday, September 10, 2009 9:16:00 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

A touching tribute. Thank you for remembering Gerard Duffy.

 
At Friday, September 11, 2009 9:00:00 PM, Blogger Alicia said...

So very powerful. Thank you.

I honor Christopher Paul Slattery.

 
At Tuesday, September 15, 2009 11:36:00 PM, Blogger RFP said...

Thank you for remembering Mr. Duffy. Every victim of 9/11 should be remembered.

 

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