As I began my workday this morning, I heard the mellifluous sound of massed bagpipes and knew that today must be a special day in the city for firefighters. My Manhattan neighborhood is home to the city’s Fireman’s Memorial, at 100TH Street and Riverside Drive. It’s one of the city’s sublime spots. When tragic events occur, or when anniversaries of them come round, like those for 9/11, hundreds of firefighters in full dress uniforms flood the area for remembrances that include fire engines and chief’s cars parked all akimbo on nearby streets, and dozens of bagpipers and drummers all marching in unison. With the sound of bagpipes drifting in my window, I went out for a walk to observe the ceremony.
October 9th–far as I knew, today was no anniversary of a specific incident. I asked one firefighter about the occasion and he confirmed what I suspected: this day is marked on the civic calendar as a general remembrance for all firefighters who’ve ever died in the line of duty, stretching all the way back through more than 250 years of New York history. Here are some pictures I took this morning, and one that I took of a child at the Fireman’s Memorial last month on 9/11, the last time that hundreds of firefighters made a pilgrimage to my neighborhood.