This essay, published on Friday, September 11, 2020, is exclusive to Notablog.

 [REMEMBERING THE WORLD TRADE CENTER:  2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; 2006; 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016; 2017; 2018; 2019; 2020]

 

FIREFIGHTER GERARD GORMAN:
ULTIMATE SURVIVOR

By Chris Matthew Sciabarra

From the Staten Island Ferry

The Twin Towers, from the Staten Island Ferry, May 12, 2001
Photograph by Chris Matthew Sciabarra

 

In his 2002 book So Others Might Live: A History of New York's Bravest - The FDNY from 1700 to the Present, Terry Golway writes:

Nothing could have prepared the Fire Department of New York for September 11, 2001. There was nothing in FDNY's operations manual about airplanes flying into a pair of skyscrapers that held the population of a small city. There was nothing in the Sunday-morning drills with tower ladders and water appliances that anticipated two fireballs hundreds of feet above Manhattan's financial district. There were no questions on the lieutenant's test about the effects of thousands of gallons of burning jet fuel on the supporting beams of two of the world's largest buildings. There was no rehearsal in probie school for climbing forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy stories with hoses and equipment. When the alarm came in from Manhattan Box 8087 at 8:47 that morning, the firefighters of New York might as well have been holed up along the Maginot Line in May 1940, studying the tactics of trench warfare while a madman and his tanks outflanked them. (p. 301)

"And yet," Golway adds, "except for its flawed radios, the Fire Department of New York was well prepared for September 11, 2001." He continues:

Years of service in the nation's busiest Fire Department had taught New York's firefighters to suppress their fear of flames and smoke. Drilling and training meant that they knew their duties, their equipment, and their capabilities. Company cohesion provided some semblance of order and chaos. And the bonds of the firehouse kitchen assured them that even if the job were in hell itself, they would not work alone. (pp. 301-302)


Gerard Gorman was one of those firefighters who survived September 11, 2001. This is his story.

***

Early Life

Gerard was born to an Irish father and a Cuban mother at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan on January 31, 1960. His mother, who emigrated from Cuba in 1957, saw the Cuban revolution coming; members of his family were part of that revolution against the corrupt Batista regime---until Castro's colors became all-too-clear; teachers, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals fled the island in droves as they were "being marginalized" because they weren't buying into the communist project of its leader. His parents met and were married in the United States. They eventually moved into the Fulton Projects in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, where he and his younger brother Eugene were raised. Gerard attended the now-defunct Saint Bernard's Elementary School on West 13th Street in Manhattan. He went on to Power Memorial Academy, an all-boys Catholic High School---home to such graduates as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar---from which he graduated in 1978. He attended Pace University and Baruch College, before enrolling at St. John's University, where he earned a degree in Athletic Administration. He first worked as an intern for the National Invitation Tournament, a men's college basketball tournament operated by the NCAA. He was eventually hired by the NIT, but before too long, he was off to a computer company, which was a precursor to Google---a sports information mega-database. He also worked in the insurance industry and then as a computer operator in a human resources department for about three years.

Joining the FDNY

"I didn't like any of it; it wasn't fulfilling," Gerard recalled, despite the fact that he got plenty of promotions along the way. "I wanted something more." Becoming a firefighter would be that "something more." Gerard had first taken the written test for the FDNY around 1983, but his mother didn't want him to go into such a dangerous profession, and hid from her son the letter that had scheduled him for the difficult physical endurance test he'd need to pass in order to qualify. She shared it with him the day before the test, and without having prepared for it, he was unable to qualify for the job. It angered him, but he was undaunted. He even thought about joining the NYPD at one time, and was #23 in his class, but he turned down the job in 1986. Being an NYPD officer just didn't seem to be a natural fit for him; "I didn't want to change my personality." So he took the written FDNY test again in 1987---scoring 99 out of 100. This time, he trained for the physical---and "passed with flying colors." He began his work with the FDNY in August 1990.

In 1993, he got married. Today, he has a 21-year old daughter, and a 24-year old son---who works as a Port Authority Police Officer. He also has a step-daughter from his wife's previous marriage. The family settled in the Grant City section of Staten Island, on its east shore.

Those first few years on the job provided Gerard with the kinds of experiences that both toughened his resolve and demonstrated his ability to survive. He remembers a 1991 Queens warehouse fire where he nearly lost his own life. Back then, firefighters didn't have the luxury of radios. Within the warehouse, the smoke was so thick, Gerard's vision so blackened, that he simply could not see. He was the "can man" that day, holding a six-foot hook and a fire extinguisher. He walked back and forth blindly, using the six-foot hook like a cane to find his way, though he nearly fell through a burned-out hole in the floor of the warehouse. He had to follow his heightened sense of hearing, listening for the sound of the hoses to navigate toward the warehouse exit.

And then there were the events that took place in the wake of a February 26, 1993 truck bomb, which was detonated at 12:17 p.m. below the North Tower of the World Trade Center. He came on duty at around 6 p.m. and was sent down to the site. When he arrived, he saw a "huge crater ... a black hole" in what was once the parking garage of the tower. He had heard about one firefighter, Kevin Shea from Rescue 1, who had fallen 45-feet down the hole; another---Lieutenant John Fox of Squad 1, who had done two tours of duty in Vietnam---declared "I'll do it! I got nothing to live for!", thereby volunteering for the job of pulling his brother out of the crater. These acts of courage in the face of danger were but a prelude to the events that would unfold on a sunny late summer's day in September 2001.

September 11, 2001

It's all about timing.

Just ten days before September 11, 2001, Gerard was in Florida attending his aunt's funeral. He returned to New York, and on the morning of 9/11, he arrived at Engine 5 on East 14th Street and 1st Avenue in Manhattan, at 8 am. Gerard relieved John Burnside from Ladder 20. Burnside died in the line of duty later that day. Lieutenant Bob Bohack was filling in for Lieutenant Paul Mitchell, who had been assigned to Engine 5 earlier that day. Mitchell had ended a 24-hour shift on the morning of 9/11, and was headed home to Staten Island when the first plane struck; he turned around and sprang back into action, eventually paying the ultimate price for his valor. He was last seen near the South Tower before it collapsed.

Gerard was the "control man" that day---the guy who gets the water out of the standpipe, while the guy in charge of the nozzle points the hose at the fire. Within 20 minutes of his arrival, he was already responding to a reported kitchen fire on 19th Street and Irving Place. When they were taken up, the firefighters had to back the rig out of the block. Gerard's friend, Eddie Mecner (whom I interviewed for the 2008 installment of this series), guided the rig. Suddenly, firefighter Derek Brogan yelled out: "Man, that plane is flying low!"

Within moments, Lieutenant Bohack told the firefighters of Engine 5: "A plane just hit the Trade Center! 1060. We're going!" The rig went down 19th street. Gerard was looking through the windows of a PC Richard and Son store at 14th and Irving, and he could see Matt Lauer interviewing someone on NBC's "Today" show [YouTube link]. There were no images at all of what was happening in downtown Manhattan. The rig made a right on 14th street, and headed toward the Hudson River. Around 6th Avenue, Gerard could see the smoke billowing out of the North Tower (One World Trade Center). His classic sense of gallows humor---designed to break the tension among his brothers---was intact: "Well, the good news is ... it's vented!"---alluding to the fact that when a fire isn't vented, it's much hotter. But as they neared the site, it was becoming clearer that the situation was grave. Gerard kept repeating: "Whatever happens, stay together! Whatever happens, stay together!" On reflection, he paused: "That didn't work out too well."

Eddie had parked the rig about a block away. Gerard realized he didn't have his flash light with him---and was literally kicking himself due to the oversight. Behind them, their friend Manny DelValle was gathering medical gear. As they walked toward the North Tower, few focused on the upper floors. As Gerard put it: "You just had to put your blinders on." They knew that they had a job to do: Get up to those floors in an effort to put out the fire. Rescue as many people as possible.

They entered the North Tower through the West Street entrance and set up a command post in the lobby. Everybody thought this had to be some tragic accident---perhaps an executive jet. Given that "the skin [of the building] was cut like in an angle ... I knew it was bigger than a Cessna ... but I didn't think it was that big." Certainly nobody dreamed that this was some kind of deliberate attack. But as the clock clicked toward 9:03 am, a second plane---United Airlines Flight 175---crashed into the South Tower. Still in the lobby, Gerard had no clue that another plane had struck Tower 2. All he saw was a blinding, orange blast reflected against the glass of the World Financial Center across the street.

As they assessed the stability of the elevators, given that the shafts were burned, the only way up---seventy floors at least---was by climbing the stairs... each man carrying sixty pounds of equipment. Engine 5 teamed up with Engine 10 (stationed on Liberty Street, closest to the WTC), and the two companies were among the first to make the trek up the North Tower. The climb alone was projected to take an hour.

Beginning their ascent, Gerard was engaged in an inner dialogue. "On the way up the stairs, you know, your mind's going crazy. On the way up, you say to yourself, 'Hmmm ... being a fireman maybe wasn't the greatest idea I ever came up with.'" Then his mind wandered to another series of thoughts: "You know what? I did about three or four job interviews in this place and never got the job. I could've been dead already if I'd gotten the job." He was giving himself a mental pep talk. He remembered the age-old Shakesperean adage: "A coward dies a thousand times ... but the valiant taste of death but once." He reflected: "I may not have gotten those jobs but I just didn't want to do something I was going to be ashamed of the rest of my life. I mean, there are mistakes I've made but they weren't shameful."

And becoming a firefighter was not shameful. Not on this day. Not on any day.

On the way up, they were seeing a steady stream of people coming down the stairwell. By the time they got to the 9th floor, they encountered a woman whose skin was very badly burned. "Her skin was peeling off. Somebody yelled, 'Get oxygen for that lady.'" Gerard thinks it was Manny who gave her oxygen. They were all trying to stay together. The electricity was still functioning on the lower floors; the offices looked as if people had simply left for the day. The firefighters were taking coffee pots from the offices and filling them with water, pouring the water over each other's heads just to stay cool. Carrying that kind of weight up those stairs in a very hot environment proved increasingly difficult. By the time they reached the 19th floor, Derek began to experience chest pains. They struggled to find oxygen for him. Maydays were going out that one of their own was in need of medical attention. Even though the radios weren't optimal, "Mayday" was the mantra being repeated over and over again from all corners as more and more injured people were descending the stairs---thankful that the firefighters were there, even as more and more firefighters were experiencing extreme fatigue, exhaustion, and chest pains. "The Port Authority cops finally arrived and gave Derek oxygen," Gerard recalls. And so the march continued.

They got to the 23rd floor, and suddenly, it felt as if the earth was opening up. "It was a huge rumbling. It was like an earthquake. It was worse and worse. All the windows blew in. It got real dark. Very smoky. You could see maybe 50%." The center of the building was its strongest part, Gerard knew. "I remember diving into the core of the building by the elevators. But I fucking forgot my mask. I dove in, just diving." It was Eddie who handed him a mask. The rumbling was no earthquake. They didn't know it, but the South Tower had just collapsed [YouTube link]. "The idea of a collapse just never entered our minds." Lieutenant Bohack screamed out "Let's get the fuck out of here." He ordered every firefighter to make their way down to the lobby. But the descent was chaotic and disorienting.

On the evacuation, Derek later observed that they had gotten down to the fourth floor, but the stairwell was filled with rubble, and they had to go out through a hallway to another stairwell, losing track of "another member of Engine 5. We had lost Gerard Gorman. We had lost Gorman, so we waited down at the lobby. We came down the center stair and were waiting in the lobby, yelling up the stairs for him to come down. He wasn't coming down the stairs, and there wasn't anybody else coming down the stairs."

Golway (2002, pp. 313-16) reports that Bohack knew that the evacuation was necessary because the building was profoundly unstable. Marble and debris were falling down all around them. Finding the A staircase in the core of the building, Bohack "called to the firefighters to follow him.Three of them did, but ... Gorman was unaccounted for. He had been with them minutes before in the stairwell, but now he was gone. ... 'This isn't a good thing,' Bohack said. 'We've got to get out of here.' The others said they had to go back to find Gerry Gorman. Bohack was an outsider in this group---some of them had met him for the first time only hours earlier. The other men knew Gerry Gorman. He didn't. Of course they wanted to save their friend. But Bohack ordered them out. ... [Firefighter] Jimmy Andruzzi [one of three firefighter brothers of football player Joe Andruzzi] wouldn't go. 'We have to get Gorman,' he said. 'We ain't getting Gorman,' Bohack said. 'We've got to cut our losses or we're going to get killed.' Bohack said he'd wait a minute to see if Gorman would show up."

But there were rumors of other planes coming, of a city under siege. "Gerry Gorman did not show up in the minute Bob Bohack had allotted. 'Okay, let's get out of here,' Bohack said. They heard a terrible groaning sound from the building and that ended the argument. When they got outside, Bohack looked up to watch for falling debris or bodies. He heard somebody say, 'Look at that.' Bohack saw what looked like a crack in the tower about thirty floors up. 'We got to get out of here,' he said, again. He and his company of three walked north on West Street about two blocks, where they found their rig and two off-duty firefighters from Engine Co. 5. The two told Bohack that the south tower had collapsed. He had no idea. ... Five minutes had passed since they had given up on Gerry Gorman and evacuated the lobby" (316).

On his descent, Gerard hadn't realized that most of his brothers had gone down a separate staircase. Somehow, he made his way to the northside of the lobby, even as the southside had filled up with enormous debris from the collapse of the South Tower. In the Mezzanine, there was an off-duty cop at the door, who was wearing an NYPD polo shirt and a construction helmut. The guy told him he was at headquarters putting in his retirement papers. But when reports of the catastrophe came in, he went back on the job. The guy's name was John Perry. It's a small world, indeed. I knew John Perry. He was a regular attendee of the monthly NYC Junto meetings, a forum for the discussion of philosophy, economics, and politics---sponsored by Brooklyn-born investor, Victor Niederhoffer---which I had the privilege of attending back in the mid-to-late 1990s. I often shook his hand at those meetings, and very much enjoyed hearing anything he contributed to the many dialogues that took place.

Gerard joined John as they opened and closed the doors to the lobby. A guy from one of the smaller buildings, 4 or 5 World Trade Center, acted as a spotter. "He was looking up because people were jumping and he was giving us the 'Go,' letting us know when to let people out. Imagine how horrifying it was that jumping was the better alternative to staying there and burning or suffocating to death. So we let civilians out when we could and they ran from the building."

The images remain seared in Gerard's memory. As people hit the ground from the top floors, the thuds of their bodies overwhelmed the senses. Standing next to a window, while helping John to open and close the doors, the window was splattered with blood and human remains, as body after body slammed into the ground. When the two of them finally exited the lobby, Gerard saw the bodies. He saw one person and the clothes they were wearing. When he viewed later footage of people jumping from the tower, he recognized the image of the person who had been wearing the same clothes he recalled having seen when he escaped from the building.

John and Gerard ran out of the North Tower at the same time. John ran left and Gerard ran right. John was caught in the collapse of the North Tower. Two months later, John Perry's body was recovered from Ground Zero, along with NYPD Sgt. Michael Curtin (among the 23 NYPD officers killed on that day).

As Gerard ran right, he went down the outside escalator to Vesey Street. "I heard a roar in-between the two little buildings going out toward the escalator. And it was like the sound of a train coming at you. ... So I only had a chance to run a couple of feet and dove between two I-beams and took cover." He had no idea that the North Tower was collapsing [YouTube link]. "Then it was like ... the dirt was just like going into your throat. Nose, ears, and eyes. I had a mask on me and I couldn't get the mask up to my face because of the compression"---he was only 200 or so feet from the building. "I thought I was dying when the building was collapsing because I was blacking out."

And then, the roar, the compression... just ... stopped.

Gerard felt as if he'd been buried alive. "It was like I was being waterboarded with dirt. I was drowning in the dirt. But it stopped. So. I, uh... just lucky."

As Golway puts it: "Later on in the afternoon, Engine Co. 5 learned that Gerry Gorman was alive. He didn't realize that Bohack and the others had retreated from the C stairwell and gone down the A stairs. Somehow, Gorman had gotten through the debris that was blocking the C stairs, and he made his way to an exit on the north tower's mezzanine level. When the tower began to fall, he found shelter behind 5 World Trade Center. But Manny DelValle, who had gone ahead of Bohack as they were struggling up the stairs, still was missing" (320). Manny was among those firefighters killed on 9/11. When Manny's body was finally recovered, Gerard was a pallbearer at the funeral for his fallen friend, along with the five guys who went in with Manny that day. It was part of a tradition in which the guys who went in with you became the same guys who would take you home.

So many of the hospitals in Manhattan were set up as triage centers to treat what they thought would be thousands of wounded people. Though many showed up, the expected thousands didn't. Many thousands had been evacuated without serious injury due to the valiant efforts of first responders. And nearly 3,000 others had perished in the collapse of the Twin Towers.

Born in St. Vincent's Hospital, Gerard ended up back at St. Vincent's that day---a hospital that is no longer a part of the New York City landscape. But on 9/11, St. Vincent's was among the closest medical facilities to the World Trade Center site. Gerard was in the first or second ambulance to arrive there, ten people in each ambulance. He was the first to open the door because he was the last one in.

He saw the expressions on the faces of the hospital staff---their mouths agape at what he looked like, covered in debris from head to toe. He was hosed down to clear that debris off his body. While there, he saw actors Daniel Day-Lewis and Kathleen Turner, each of whom had brought supplies to St. Vincent's. He hopped into a cop van to return to his battalion. He was the first guy back to the firehouse, though he stopped at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary later to get his eyes and ears cleaned out. He was then given the job of visiting other hospitals, such as Beth Israel, Cabrini, and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, to look for survivors. He found some. Thereafter, he returned to what was now being referred to as The Pile, where his company assisted in the search and rescue mission, keeping a hose line running to put out fires, protecting rescuers who were looking for possible signs of life. Two Port Authority officers were found alive.

Gerard didn't make it home to Staten Island until 8 am on September 12, 2001.

In the days after 9/11, many of the hospitals Gerard had visited were now inundated with people, all looking to give blood. In those six months after 9/11, Gerard said, he had never seen such a sense of community---and unity---among all New Yorkers.

The Recovery Effort

Gerard swiftly became a part of the recovery efforts at Ground Zero. "I couldn't stomach it. It was surreal. It's really hard to believe. It was like you got off of a movie set from 'Escape from New York'. Wires survived, it seemed. But everything was pulverized," Gerard said. "Not a door knob. Not a toilet bowl. Not a door. Nothing. Pulverized. Gone."

In those early weeks, he worked 24 hours on (12 hours on The Pile, 12 hours in the firehouse), and 24 hours off. It was mentally and physically exhausting. He felt as if he had been on "cruise control." Digging and digging, mostly by hand. At one point, he thought he might have found a bottle---until he discovered it was actually a yellow parking stanchion. When he'd return to the firehouse, he sometimes found himself irritable with the press, which was standing by to report just about any rumor with regard to the discovery of any possible survivor.

Gerard himself didn't recover a single body or body part. But through it all, his gallows humor kept him---and his brothers---going. There was one firefighter pal of his who earned the nickname, "The Iceman"---because, he said, the man resembled "the guy they found, like, from 10,000 years ago, in the Alps." And he told his pal: "The chief said you can't sit down anymore. Every time you sit down, they think they found a body." It was the kind of remark that provided an ever-so-slight sense of levity in the midst of unfathomable horror.

Not even on his days off could Gerard find a moment to rest. He was too busy going to funerals. On one day in particular, he attended at least five funerals. 343 FDNY members were killed on that day. He knew at least one hundred of those men. He also knew several people who had perished when the Towers collapsed. He has known firefighters who have died of complications from 9/11-related illnesses, among them, Raymond Ragucci, who was one of Gerard's buddies. Ragucci died in 2011, only one of the 227 FDNY members who have died from such illnesses since 2001, many of whom had worked day after day on The Pile.

His only moment of respite came on November 10, 2001, when Royal Caribbean offered first responders a two-night "Cruise to Nowhere." When the boat was docking upon its return on November 12th, American Airlines Flight 587 had crashed into the Belle Harbor neighborhood in the Rockaway section of Queens. He and his family scrambled off the cruise. He drove them back to Staten Island in a van so that he could respond, along with his other shipmates, members of the FDNY and NYPD, to yet another plane-related disaster in New York City, barely two months after 9/11.

Aftermath

As the weeks turned into months, and the months turned into years, Gerard found himself running on auto-pilot. The job "was the easy part"; he coped by simply focusing on the daily routines of working as a firefighter. It was the rest of his life that was in free-fall. He was busy taking care of his parents, who were in and out of nursing homes, and yet, he became more and more disconnected from his family. For ten years, he was exhibiting increasingly severe symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Irritable, short-tempered, aloof, plagued by nightmares, he lost twenty pounds from stress alone. By 2011, his marriage was falling apart---resulting in a divorce by 2013.

He finally got the help he required and was put on medication. He eventually retired from the FDNY in September 2012. The nightmares eventually withered away. His ex-wife had a stroke. And his children continue to live with him, now, in Manalapan, New Jersey. He retains that characteristic charm and sense of humor. And he doesn't back down from an argument. He's participated in rallies for the 9/11 compensation fund, and has been an outspoken critic of New York's current mayor. He's fed up with the political system, emphasizing: "I'm an Independent. I think both sides are full of shit." He gets angry every time he reads another nonsensical 9/11 conspiracy theory on the web. When he sees someone claiming that the Towers came down from controlled explosions set off by firefighters---he just shakes his head. "You're talking to a fireman who was in the North Tower. What fucking explosions? ... The Internet is a weapon for cowards."

A year after the events of September 11, 2001, Gerard was featured in an article published in The Tablet, a Catholic tabloid put out by the Brooklyn diocese. In it, he was referred to as a hero. It's not a label Gerard likes. "I'm not the hero. The people who died were the heroes. I'm here in the moment representing the heroes. ... I'm one face representing the people who gave their lives."

Till this day, he experiences survivor's guilt---something that is not atypical of anyone who has lived to bear witness to a tragedy of such enormous magnitude. He often asks himself: "Why am I here?" But he is indeed a survivor. And he exhibits remarkable resilience.

A week before the pandemic shut down public accommodations throughout the country, he was in Sun Valley. One morning, he rented a snowmobile and took an expert course---something he wasn't prepared for, but wanted to do! About an hour-and-a-half in, the snowmobile sunk in the snow. For forty-five minutes, he tried desperately to dig it out. As the clock ticked toward 4:30 p.m., he knew he was losing sunlight and had to start walking back. The four-and-a-half hour trek into darkness took him 8 1/2 miles down the trail, in four feet of snow. He finally made it to the highway and hitchhiked back to the rental facility. In the interim, while missing, the facility had informed his pals that Gerard had not yet returned and that they were going to dispatch a rescue team to retrieve him. His pals thought it was a joke and hung up the phone. But Gerard eventually walked through the doors to the rescue command center, and stated: "You lookin' for me?" They put him in contact with his pals staying at the ski house and he told them bluntly: "I'm okay," chuckling: "You can bust my balls now for getting lost!" Gerard later boasted that he couldn't be destroyed. "How many times I gotta tell you? I'm like a cockroach. You can't kill them! You can't kill me!"

Reflections

More than fourteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attack, Gerard had the opportunity to attend the Pearl Harbor Basketball Invitational at Bloch Arena. As a friend of Jay Wright, head basketball coach at Villanova, he made the trip to Honolulu with his daughter, where he saw Villanova lose to Oklahoma, 78-55. The game took place on December 7, 2015---the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On the day of the invitational, he walked by the terminal, where boats were departing for the USS Arizona Memorial, not too far from the Aloha Tower in Honolulu Harbor, which, ironically, had opened up on September 11, 1926. He told me that he felt a certain kinship both with those who had lost their lives on December 7, 1941, and those who had survived the attack, adding only: "I didn't get to shoot back. They did."

As he peered out over the harbor in 2015, he saw a woman standing there, reading the names of those who had perished on that other date in U.S. history, which would live in infamy. As she was working through each of the names of the 2,403 individuals who were killed in 1941, she would ring a bell. Gerard had already attended other memorial services of this nature; he had been touched by the reading of the names of the over 2,700 individuals who were killed on 9/11 at the World Trade Center alone. Deeply aware of the solemnity of the December 7th commemoration, he asked the woman if he could help read the names with her. And so, he picked up the list, and began reading those names along with her, ringing a bell each time in honor of every precious individual life lost.

The poignancy of that act of remembrance is part of who Gerard is. As a man who continues to bear witness---whatever his protestations to the contrary---he remains a hero in my view.

 

Gerard Gorman and Eddie Mecner

Gerard Gorman (l) and Eddie Mecner (r), a couple of days after September 11, 2001

Gerard Gorman - Rocky Balboa

Gerard Gorman in front of the statue of Rocky Balboa in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2018

*****

References

Golway, Terry. 2002. So Others Might Live: A History of New York's Bravest - The FDNY from 1700 to the Present. New York: Basic Books.

Gorman, Gerard. 2020. Interview with Chris Matthew Sciabarra. (13 July).

Roberts, Mark. 2007. The Fog of War: An Open Letter to John Schroder. (27 August). Includes interviews of those mentioned in this essay, especially with regard to "Evacuation: Stairwell and Lobby Damage," which includes commentary from Derek Brogan, Gerard Gorman, Eddie Mecner, and others.

World Trade Center Task Force Interview: Firefighter Gerard Gorman. 2 January 2002. Interview conducted by Lieutenant Chiafari. Transcribed by Nancy Francis. File No. 9110420.


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