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memories in print

memories in print

Out of the Blue: The Story of September 11, 2001, from Jihad to Ground Zero. By Richard Bernstein and the staff of the New York Times.

From pages 150-154, quotes by my father and his co-worker and friend Pete McCarthy, about their former colleague and close friend, Peter J. Ganci:

"Firefighters, the good ones anyway, live to do a good job at the right places - that's all you want to do," said Angelo Catalano, a firefighter who served in the same company as Ganci when both of them were young. "And Pete hated the guys who were skaters."

"Some officers who rise in the ranks have never paid their dues," Catalano said. "You see guys running the show who really don't understand. But Pete paid his dues."

Ganci was the kind of guy that all the other guys wanted to be photographed with. His old collegues at Ladder 124, where he first made his reputation, had bragging rights because they had served with "The Chief" when he was a mere lieutenant. When Gancie went to the national fire chiefs' conclaves in other cities, he was treated like a movie star. "It was as if God himself walked in the door," Catalano said......Firemen see their ladder and engine companies and their rescue squads as their families. "You're close when you fight a fire," McCarthy said. "You'd rather see yoruself hurt than the guy next to you, honestly." And Pete, in this sense, was the perfect familly man.

Looking forward to his retirement, Ganci and [his wife] Kathleen bought a condominium in Florida and they expected to begin using it soon. Ganci planned to play a lot of golf at the nearby East Lake Woodlands Country Club. But up to September 11, Ganci, busy as always, had nevef once visited it. On [one] Sunday when he went clamming with [colleague] Dan Nickola, he was debating with himself about the future, knowing that he wanted to keep going as a firefighter a bit longer, while his family wanted him to retire. But two days later, on September 11, he was up early, as always, and off to work.

I'm in the middle of reading this book. Just thought I would share.


When I first read it I felt so sad and so happy at the same time. I have so much to say, but will leave it at this: Take a lesson from Pete Ganci. Live every day, never look back, and always give your all.

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