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NYC Facts: FDNY Engine 54

I wanted to talk about a firehouse for a NYC Facts about heroes on 9/11. I assumed that the firehouse that lost the most people would be in lower Manhattan. I was wrong. Despite being located over five miles away on 48th Street, Engine 54 were the first firefighters to respond and arrive to the Twin Towers on 9/11. 15 men from Engine 54 responded to the scene that day. 15 men from Engine 54 died that day.

It's easy to forget that true heroes walk among us everyday. What first responders do on a daily basis is so brave, it's impossible to even fathom. A couple days earlier, those 15 men were watching football or spending time with family and living ordinary lives. Maybe they were just starting their shift. Then they suddenly are making that ride on a fire truck downtown looking at a building on fire. By the time they got there, there were two buildings on fire. Imagine how scary that ride there must have been? Knowing when you did get there, you'd have to go into those buildings?

I spoke about Christopher Santora in my video. He was only 23 and had just started at the firehouse. The only reason he was at the firehouse that day was because he was covering a shift for another firefighter who wanted to take his kids to school that morning.

SOURCE - "He was in his perfect job, his dream job for nine months, and it was here," said Maureen Santora, Christopher's mother. 

SOURCE - The man he was replacing that fateful day would recall years later: “I think about Chris all the time. I think about what his life would have been, what he should have accomplished by now. It’s a huge weight to carry around.’’ 

There are two books I've read about 9/11 that I would highly recommend. "The Only Plane In The Sky" is an oral history that goes over the events of September 11th from many different perspectives. From what President Bush and his staff were dealing with to high schoolers who were in school right nearby the Twin Towers to people in the buildings themselves. 

The other book is "The Man I Never Met" by Adam Schefter. He's not the most elegant writer but it is so honest and relatable. I don't know if I've read any book that contained so much emotion in its pages. It tells the story of him dating (and marrying) a 9/11 widow and becoming a stepfather to her son. It's easy to look at 9/11 at such a huge world changing event because it clearly was. But it also affected so many people in deep, personal ways.

The NYPD are known as the Finest. NYC sanitation workers are nicknamed the Strongest. But it is New York City Firefighters who are known as the Bravest. 343 members of the New York City Fire Department died at the World Trade Center that day. They truly are our bravest.