Friday, September 11, 2009
The tragedy of nine years ago, the day we all lost our innocence, is firmly etched in my memory.
On September 11, 2001, hundreds of the bravest of New York City's Fire Department answered the call. Three hundred and forty three of them never returned.
But the numbers tell only a fraction of the story. The faces and names say far more. A father and son. A chaplain. A commander. A rookie. Strangers to most of those they passed on Sept. 11, but heroes to them all.
For thousands of horrified office workers who fled the terrorist attacks that fateful morning, the most remarkable sight during their descent was the wave of determined firefighters advancing toward the burning sky. They were going to a place where everyone was damn well trying to get out of. And, if you would have asked anyone of them, 'What are you doing this for?' The reply would have been the same, 'This is my job.'"
Yeah, it was their job and one that they didn't take lightly. They all have pride in what they do. They're firemen! And yes, when people are running from a burning building, they are the ones running into it. However, if anyone ever paid them any mind, or congratulated them for their heroism, each and every one would just say, "This is my job. I was just doing something that anyone of my brother's would have done."
One particular "hero" who epitomizes the essence of a fireman is Christopher Blackwell. Chris was a member of Rescue 3, an elite company in the Bronx that specializes in technical rescues. They are the fireman's fireman. Chris was always one to shy away from publicity or fame. He'd do "his job" and then pack it all in before the company would 10-2 (return to quarters).
One particular recollection of Chris was told by one of his "brothers" at his funeral. It was a story of when Rescue 3 had responded after a jet, after take-off from Laguardia Airport, crashed into the East River. Chris and his brothers from Rescue 3 were busy, tending to the all the passengers. They placed themselves in a perilous situation as they worked in an airplane that was partially submerged and could sink further at any moment. They worked for hours until all survivors were freed from the wreckage. The last passenger to be removed was an elderly woman who couldn't thank Chris and the others enough. All Chris said to her, "Don't thank me. Just remember... it was the firemen who got you out!".
Up on the land, the press had convened. Lights and cameras were everywhere. There were some "emergency" workers there being interviewed. The members of Rescue 3 by-passed all the commotion, and headed back to their rig to head back to quarters. The glory was not for them.
Back at the firehouse, they were watching the news and all came around when they noticed that the last woman they removed was being interviewed. The camera showed her on a gurney surrounded by NYC's finest. The reporter asked her what she had thought of all the brave rescuer's, pointing to the policemen who were basking in the spotlight. She asked him, "What do you mean? It was the firemen...the firemen that got me out!"
To this day, that story still brings a smile to my face. Most people don't realize that being a fireman not only what they do; its who they are. And.. they wouldn't change their lot in life for anything. They will forever walk proud.
Chris Blackwell, 42 years old, was a 20-year veteran of the FDNY with 12 of those years proudly served in "Big Blue". Chris was a fire department medal winner of several occasions and a paramedic on the side. Chris leaves behind his wife Jane and daughters Alex and Sam and son Ryan.
Remember Chris and the other members of Rescue 3 - Firefighters Thomas Foley, Thomas Gambino Jr., Raymond Meisenheimer, Donald Regan, Gerard Schrang, Joseph Spor and covering Captain Brian Hickey.
Remember the 343!
God Bless them all.
Friday, August 28, 2009
My son has once again been deployed, this time to Afghanistan. We, as a family, spent a few days together before he left. This time is the hardest, as in addition to leaving saying good-bye to his wife, he is also leaving his infant son.
He will be missing quite a few firsts this year as the lil one gets his first tooth, takes his first step, and says Da-Da when he wakes up at night.
He had whispered a few words to his son before he left, "Be sure to be good for your Mommy. Remember that I love you. And Please... don't grow too big while I'm away".
Please, keep my son, as well as all members of the military who are sacrificing so much to defend our freedom, in your prayers. Pray for their safe return. Pray for a time when their duty will no longer be needed.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Dee arrived with Emma. We had two weeks to get ready for the Christening, so we went hats and horns in sewing projects. Sew Camp 2009 opens!
Since Dee had managed to complete her Civil War Love Letters quilt, We booked some time on a long arm quilter and came up with a wonderful pattern for it. There is a "medallion" of sort in the middle of each of the 160+ squares, surrounded by a flowing border on all four sides. She took it home, all ready to bind. :D for her! :( for me as I am still only about 1/3 the way through my squares.
Dee managed to get me started/organized with my Dear Jane. I had been hemming and hawing and doing anything BUT.. in avoidance of the applique work that needed to be done. I have never done any and was in fear. She gave me a few options on different methods and within a day, I had already managed to get a few of the squares done. All the fabric is all cut out and my binder is full of squared just ready to be worked on.
I did manage to finish a "Big Shirt", complete with french seams. I did this in the loudest colors imaginable in a beach umbrella print. It will be so suitable as a beach cover-up, which I desperately needed.
Another project is the "Snippets" pillow that I am making for my bed. It has three applique flowers on it, so.. it's been regaled to the wip pile until I decide to set some time for hand sewing. hmmm...
Carol managed to make a "Magic Pocketbook" with three covers!
My contribution to the Sew Camp was a lesson on free motion quilting, and of course, Dee took to like a a fish to water. Was I to expect anything less?
With only 3 days until the Christening, Sew Camp closed shop. We had so much cooking, cleaning, organizing to do for the ensuing masses that were scheduled to arrive. We did mange to get it all done and done well...
And.. here is a picture of the family at my first grandson's christening.
The gown was designed and hand-made by Dee, in loving memory of Robert T Delaney, Sr for all his great-grandchildren. Nicholas is the first to wear it and I hope that there will be so many more of his cousins to wear it in the future...
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Since having been bitten by the quilting bug (yeah... thanks Dee :D), I became quite intrigued by this quilting phenomenon called "Dear Jane". Asking Dee, "Well, whattya think?". She laughed. However, a few months went past and I think the lure of Jane had captured her too! She started to amassing a collection of almost 90 different reproduction fabrics in a slew of colors, and she's still looking for more. Yep.. she was hooked!
Dee thought that it might be a good idea to "warm up" to Jane by doing the Civil War Love Letters Quilt by Rosemary Youngs.
It has a compilation of 121 blocks that are 6". Much tamer than Jane with its 225 blocks 4", made up of 5,403 pieces! Dee is graciously sharing her stash and providing me with some long distance instructions. The journey has begun. I have completed 20 of the blocks so far, and I thought that I'd share.
3: Healthful Region
5: Sorrows of War
7: Severe Fighting
9: No Serious Fighting
10: Pleasant Campaign
11: March to Winters Quarters
12: The Fall of Richmond
15: Tents of the Enemy
53: Last Letter Home
58: Florida Has Seceded
61: Will Virginia Secede?
74: Another Death
80: Changing Conditions
95: History of Travels
98: Lonesome Place
104: Privilege of Communication
112: Numerous Excuses
119: Angel Visits
Only 101 to go! ;D
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I am participating in the International Scarf Exchange 7. Out of all the swaps that I do, this one has got to be my most favorite and one that I hold near and dear to my heart.
My first one was the ISE2. I had only been knitting a few months, and I was terrified. Terrified of what to give another knitter. This wasn't going to be a loving family member who would oh and ah over just about anything that I made. This was going to another knitter who would be able to see each and every mistake that I made. I looked in awe at all the masterpieces that were being exchanged and just hoped that my endeavor would meet the expectations of its intended recipient.
I love this exchange because it made me spread my wings and try new and different techniques in the quest of the most perfect scarf. It made me venture down that path that I would not have normally go. It also afforded me the opportunity to meet some truly, truly remarkable people, like Debi, who will forever occupy a special place in my heart.
Well, this exchange is winding down and my current project is now winging its way across the US to its new owner. I am hoping that she accepts my gift and recognizes all the hope and good intention that accompany it. It was made with love, and dedicated to the memory of friendship.
Here is Gail (aka Nightsongs)