Frank Rizzo | Democrat
ALBEE BOCKMAN OF Hurleyville lent his vocal talents to the 9-11 ceremony at the Monticello Firehouse last Tuesday, singing both the National Anthem and “God Bless America.” Behind him is MFD President Steve Kozarchuk, left, and Director of Fire Safety Carl Houman.
Monticello FD Remembers 9-11
By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO September 18, 2007 On the second evening after that searing morning of 9-11-2001, Dan McDonough of the Rescue 3 company of the NYC Fire Department looked around on the rubble of the WTC towers and saw members of the Monticello Fire Department helping in the rescue and recovery efforts.
“I had trained with members here. I knew them and was struck when I saw them,” McDonough, of Scotchtown in Orange County, recalled Tuesday evening after Monticello FD held its annual remembrance ceremonies at the firehouse.
“He’s a social member here,” MFD Chief Marc Friedland said of McDonough, now retired.
The county’s fire departments were well represented that evening and other dignitaries were on hand as well.
McDonough began his emotional speech by denouncing those who claimed that the towers were deliberately pulled down and that President Bush was involved in this conspiracy.
As for seeing MFD members at the rescue effort, “It’s one of those things that remains in the memory banks, that I’ll always remember,” he told the assembly.
He recalled a prayer for firefighters intoned by the NYCFD Chaplain, Father Mychal Brown, on September 10 a day before he too became a victim in one of the towers: “Remember to hold and love each other and pray for each other.”
In his own words, McDonough said, “I’d like to keep all our first responders and all those who dedicate their lives in the service of others in our prayers.”
He also made note of the “dedicated troops,” wishing them “Godspeed and success in their mission.”
He added, “Let politicians put aside petty politics and pursue what’s best for our country. To look out for the interests of the people, not their interests or their party’s interests.”
McDonough ended with, “Please pray for peace throughout the world.”
Carl Houman, MFD Director of Fire Services, gave the keynote speech.
“We are people who save lives because we’ve seen too much death,” he told the gathering. “We give of ourselves… to protect the lives and property of people we don’t even know. That what [firefighters]did on that day [9-11].”
Noting that, as with soldiers, firefighters are always facing the spectre of death, he said, “Every firefighter understands that the next alarm may be his last.”
Reflecting on the deaths of 343 NYC firefighters on that fateful day, Houman offered that, “Their deaths made a difference in this world. They died doing something that matters… Let us do something in the service of our brothers and sisters that matters.”
In summing up his feelings, Houman said, “We don’t preach the brotherhood of man, we live it.”
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther thanked the MFD “for having this day of remembrance. I think it’s important for all of us.”
Stephanie Johnson of Monticello and Operation Support Our Groups made note of how 9-11 affected her family, with two of her two children in the army and her family’s part in the “War on Terror.”
She informed the assembly that over one million tons of care packages have been to the troops by her organization nationwide.
“From this firehouse (and others) we’ve sent 10 tons of packages ourselves,” she said to applause. “We’re taking care of business here!”
Her husband, Craig, served as emcee and Albee Bochman sang both the National Anthem and “God Bless America.”
The Monticello Rotary Club provided the refreshments.