Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12th 2011 - NEW YORK - Day 2 - PART 2 - Our Trip to United States

Monday 12th September 2011
This was the day that a visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero had been planned. 
The only other planned even for this day was to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. But as fate would have it - it turned out to be a very emotional and long day.

Taking a walk looking for our local Firehouse - Chinatown we saw wonderful old buildings, including this Court House.
Unfortunately we'd taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way and ended up at this Firehouse. Engine 7 / Ladder 1. No men were lost on 9/11.

We then continued walking on towards Ground Zero.....
Freedom Tower - aka One World Trade Center, has finally joined the Manhattan skyline, standing defiantly over the site of the worst terrorist atrocity to befall American soil.
While waiting to get into the Memorial we were fortunate enough to have construction workers, Bomb Squad, Port Authority Officers and visiting firefighters sign our American flag keepsake.

My emotional journey inside the 9/11 Memorial......
Once inside the sacred grounds of the Memorial - you are greeted by a great openess... it was humbling & very quiet - yet very emotional none the less

My journey to the memorial site - was to remember the Chaplain of the FDNY Father Mychal Judge. At his name on the wall, patches from the Queensland Fire & Rescue Service (QFRS) & Melbourne Fire Brigade (MFB) were placed beside his name.
Visitors to the site were given special paper and crayon to take etchings of those names that they wished to remember, so they could take them home.
For me personally, this was perhaps the most emotional experience I had while in New York
Whilst there we shared an experience with a firefighter from California
I had heard this Australian man's name mentioned before we left, and decided while we were there that I would take an etching of his name as well. Stephen Kevin Tompsett was our "aussie" connection to this site.
Although I did not know this man - on my arrival home to Australia I got in touch with Stephen's American wife & asked her permission to pass on the etching of his name I had taken to his elderly parents back here in Sydney Australia.... for this etching was not mine to keep.
This is the Survivor Tree from 9/11. 
It was found amongst the wreckage of the World Trade Center. It is a Callery pear tree that had been planted at the WTC in the early 1970's. It was not discovered from the wreckage until October 2001 - thus making it a true survivor.
It was only 8 feet tall after the fall of the Twin Towers crushed it. The tree was then nursed back to health by the Van Cortland Nursery in the NYC Park Department.
When the tree was replanted in December 2010, it stood 32 feet tall. The tree was joined by hundreds of other Callery pears in the new landscape.
Another firefighter willing to sign our American Flag keepsake
This photo of us was taken by a lovely English lady who had been sitting alone looking around. She asked if we could take her photo to show that she had been at the memorial & in return would take our photo.
Complete strangers helping each other in the quiteness of the 9/11 Memorial
As we left the site - we headed to the 9/11 Memorial Gift shop..... the images below are artifacts from 9/11

We then proceeded to O'Hara's Pub which had been destroyed at 9/11 to have a late lunch with Laura, before heading off to the FDNY Fire Museum and then on to walk the Brooklyn Bridge.

The wonderful yummy oversized onion rings at O'Hara's

This was our visit with 10 house. Their station is directly opposite Ground Zero, and they have a Memorial Wall outside their station.
10 house lost 6 men on 9/11
John placing yet another QFRS & MFB patch in remembrance.

Both side of the famous 10 truck

Showing we took the subway - given the heightened security & threats that had been made - you can't visit New York without taking the subway!

The unique way New Yorkers park their cars....

Some wonderful displays inside the FDNY Fire Museum

Also inside the FDNY Fire Museum is Chaplain Father Mychal Judge's helmet & bunker jacket

Walking back to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge

Our walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
Met an Aussie volunteer firefighter from Adelaide

After meeting up with Eddie O - we were directed to this firehouse that Joe Mc had told us to visit. Unknown to me at the time - and not till much later after visiting with the boys, this Firehouse was one I had always wanted to visit because of the mural on their front doors. It was a firehouse that I had known about for 10yrs.

Firehouse - Engine 205 / Ladder 118
8 men were lost on 9/11. This firehouse is well known from the below photo of their truck going over the Brooklyn Bridge towards the burning Twin Towers

Joe taking the gifts we gave them, including an Aussie kangaroo, keyrings, patches, a special 9/11 sticker & an apron from MFB
Joe explained that everyone of the 8 men lost had a star named after them. The 8 certificates line the stairwell up to their sleeping quarters.

The firefighter sense of humour! This is in the skylight of the station's kitchen
While the photo below shows some of the crews shirts added to the ceiling. Story goes if you leave any of your gear laying around, this is where it ends up!

Below are photos of the firehouse front doors. These photos were taken by me - however images I had seen over the 10yrs since 9/11/01 were what lived inside my mind....

Of course then they got a firecall / turn out and had to roll......

but luckily for me - it was only "automatic alarms" and at the end of the street

Big Tillerman "Mikey" & Joe

We then continued on our way visiting briefly with Firehouse - Rescue 4 / Engine 292 in Queens.
9 men were lost on 9/11. 
As it turns out this firehouse contained another name that had lived with me over the 10yrs.
"Bronko" aka FF D. Pearsall

We then left this firehouse and ended up driving thru Time Square - before we then had a 
NEW YORK style Pizza Pie!

Here is our yummy NEW YORK style 18 inch Pizza Pie. 
Many thanks to our #1 tour guide Eddie O