New York City firefighters outside McSorley

New York City firefighters outside McSorley’s Old Ale House today. (Photo: Natalie Rinn)

Members from fire rescue units across New York City congregated at McSorley’s Old Ale House today in commemoration of September 11.

Paul Sainsbury of FDNY Rescue 4 in Queens said, “We gather here every year at 3:43 p.m.” – a number that mirrors the total loss of firefighters on this day twelve years ago. Sainsbury said he arrived on the scene that Tuesday “as the second tower was going down.”

Standing in a group with Sainsbury outside the century-old pub were Tom Neary and Al Cerro from Mill Creek Fire Department in Delaware – a station that aided overwhelmed New York City units on 9/11. The men said the turnout of a couple dozen firefighters – who chatted together collegially and smoked cigars – had been about average over the past decade.

While there was reminiscing, pats on the back and laughter among the group, others preferred not to comment – this, after all, was no celebration.

“We prefer to roll under the radar,” said one fighter simply, standing next to other blue-shirted members from his department.