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Scarsdale FDNY Captain Shares 9/11 Lessons

SCARSDALE, N.Y. –  Scarsdale Middle School eighth grader Josh Cromwell realized last week that the heroes of 9/11 were “just real people doing their jobs”. His classmate Rachel Cohen became more grateful for police officers and firefighters and Ally Dweck learned that the events of that day created the “greatest rescue operation ever in New York City. “

A visit by FDNY Capt. Tim Callahan as part of their on-going study of the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks brought these perspectives to life Friday for the eighth grade students of Popham House.

In 2001, Callahan was with Ladder 5, Battalion 2 in Greenwich Village. His firehouse lost 11 firefighters at the World Trade Center. A total of 2,997 people from 93 nations died that day in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C

“I was excited hearing about it first-hand," Cromwell said. "The media makes it dramatic."

Callahan shared his experiences of that day and the months following and admitted that the thoughtful and direct questions by the students who were only three years old when the events happened allowed him to be more candid about his life experience during their talk. He lives in Scarsdale and has two children attending Heathcote Elementary School and one child in Fountain House at the middle school.

“I’m always proud to be a fireman. It’s what I was born to do,” Callahan told a student who asked whether he was especially proud of his job after 9/11. “No one in their wildest dreams thought a plane would fly into them and cause them to collapse. There’s no substitute for experience and at that time we did not know that would happen.”

To share an experience the students could relate to, Callahan unfolded an oversized flag that was sent 10 years ago by elementary school students in Eau Claire, Wis., to commemorate the event.  He has offered it as a loan to the school for display.

“The FDNY used to be the city’s fire department, but now we are also its terrorism department as we have to be prepared for it since that day,” Callahan said.

Rachel Cohen said she appreciates what firefighters did on Sept. 11

“There are so many people who risked their lives that day. I realize that it is important that we have these people in our lives as they saved so many people, and died saving so many more,” she said.

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